What Does It Take to Become a Dentist?

For Dr. Frye and our team, there is nothing more rewarding than watching as our patients work toward healthy smiles that they feel comfortable showing off. Our entire highly-trained team is passionate about providing quality care to our patients through the Pacific Northwest. Today, we want to take a closer look at what it takes to become a dentist, from years spent in a classroom to exams and licensing.

dental school graduate's hat and diploma

Undergraduate Education

Generally, dentists spend eight years in school – but they never stop learning! While some students complete a three year pre-dental program for an undergraduate degree, most earn a four-year bachelor’s degree. During their junior year, aspiring dentists have to take the Dental Admission Test. The American Dental Association administers this test, which covers four multiple-choice sections on natural science, reading comprehension, quantitative reasoning, and perceptual ability.

Dental Degree

At dental school, dentists earn either a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM). Both are recognized by state licensing boards – the only difference is the name! Occasionally, dentists who want to specialize in a certain kind of dentistry will attend additional years of school. Then, it’s time to take the National Board Dental Examination in order to become a practicing dentist.

At Smiles Dental, it’s no secret that we think a healthy mouth is one of the keys to a healthy person. This starts at home: a good oral hygiene routine should consist of brushing your teeth twice daily for two minutes each time and flossing every day. Our team can help you maintain your oral health through professional cleanings and other preventive measures. For those looking for cosmetic and restorative procedures, we can help you work toward the smile you’ve always dreamed about.

The Smiles Dental team is here to answer any questions you have, whether it’s about training, toothbrush type, an oral health issue, or anything else dental-related. Feel free to contact any one of our Washington or Oregon locations for some assistance.