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Oral Health and Dental Specialists

What is a general dentist (DDS or DMD)?

Upon graduation from dental school - to become a general dentist - a dentist is awarded either a DDS or a DMD degree:

Picture of several different dental instruments

DDS = doctor of dental surgery

DMD = doctor of dental medicine

There is no difference between the two degrees - both dentists have received the same education and completed the same curriculum requirements set by the American Dental Association's Commission on Dental Accreditation. The difference is merely semantics - some institutions award a DMD degree, while others award a DDS degree. Generally, three or more years of undergraduate college education plus four years of dental school are required to graduate and become a general dentist. State licensing boards accept either degree as equivalent, and both degrees allow licensed individuals to practice the same scope of general dentistry.

Specialized areas of dentistry:

Additional post-graduate training is required to become a dental specialist. Dental/oral health specialists include the following:

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Online Resources of Dental & Oral Health


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