dental school

What Do I Need to Become a Dentist

What Does It Take To Become A Dental Pro

A dentist is someone who assesses, diagnoses and treats patients’ teeth. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for dentists is projected to grow 16 percent by 2018.

Research a Dental Career

The dentistry field consists of a variety of specializations. So you need to know if you want to specialize in an area such as general dentistry, orthodontics or oral surgery and what duties you’ll perform. Typically, a dentist examines teeth, gum and mouth tissue. He performs duties such as cleans teeth, fills cavities, extracts teeth and caps damaged teeth. The dentist designs and fits prosthodontic appliances such dentures and bridges for patients. He may write prescriptions for medication such as antibiotics and administer anesthetics during dental procedures.

Prepare for Dental School

You must study approximately eight years to become a dentist. Usually, a bachelor’s degree with at least two years of pre-dental education is required to enter dental college. You must take the Dental Admission Test, or DAT, to be considered for admission to dental school. The American Dental Association (ADA) administers the test which measures your scientific knowledge and perceptual ability. Only correct answers are counted and scores range from one to 30. The standard score, according to ADA, of 17 is considered average. Dental schools use your DAT score when considering your application. According to the ADA, as of 2010 the fee to take the test was $285.

Dental School

Dental school takes four years and includes a combination of laboratory work and classroom instruction. During your first couple of years in dental school, you focus on learning laboratory techniques and take courses in biochemistry, anatomy and physiology. You treat patient, under the direction of a licensed dentist, in your last two years of study. A dentist wanting to specialize in certain area dentistry may need additional education or residency before obtaining a licensure. The post-graduate education takes about two years of to complete.


A state dentistry licensure is a must to work. You have to meet certain requirements before taking the examination such as graduating from an accredited dental college. The licensure requires passing a practical and written examination.

Skills and Qualifications

It takes more than operating a water flosser to get to dental school. It also takes more than flossing teeth to come out of dental school. At Dental Dorks most of us have already walked that walk, so we know what needs to be done!

The dentist should meet a variety of skills to be successful in the field. These skills include having manual dexterity and diagnostic ability. Also, a dentist needs great vision and judgment regarding space between teeth and teeth’s size, color and shape. Skills such as excellent communication, good business sense and teaching ability are important.