How long does it take to be a dentist?
Becoming a dentist takes years of schooling, followed by using that internal drive to spend more years building a successful practice. How long does it take to be a dentist depends on if you want to do general dentistry or become a specialist in a certain area. On average it will take eight years of school. This would be college, followed by dental school. This would be for a degree in Doctor of Dental Surgery, a D.D.S., or a Doctor of Dental Medicine, a D.M.D. A good dental school will ask for 30 to 90 credits from your undergraduate college. Those few with exceptional scores may be able to get into dental school with only two years of college, but this is very rare.
The first step is a Bachelor’s Degree, which will take four years. A few dental schools will accept someone with 90 credits. That’s about 30 credits, or one year of school, from a college. The other 30 credits need to come from a university. Most community colleges won’t offer degrees higher than AA. To be accepted in dental school, two to four years of college are a must. For most it will be four. You will need a few required courses, such as math, biology, physics, and chemistry. You will also need high marks in these. Each dental school varies slightly on their exact requirements. Most Universities and colleges have a pre-dental advisor on staff to assist you with the requirements. The few people who get into a dental school with less than four years have to have excellent grades. Dental schools are also going to evaluate the character of an individual.
Most dental schools will be another four years of education. Actual dental school will consist of two years of classroom work, followed by two years of clinical work. Orthodontic school would be an additional two to three years after that. After four years of undergraduate schooling and four years of dental school, one can practice general dentistry, anything more than that will take another two to six years of post-graduate schooling.
17 of the 50 states in America require you to have a license in a specific area before you can specialize in any type of dental work. In the other 33 states you can still perform specialty work; you just can’t advertise that you do it.
How long does it take to be a dentist is one thing, to become a pediatric dentist it will take longer. You will need to go into a pediatric residency after school. This usually takes two years. There are more than 30 states that offer these programs. It is during a pediatric residency that one learns procedures geared towards children, such as diagnostic problems and surgery. Classes at this time include epidemiology, biostatics, pharmaceutical studies, oral pathology, and radiology. Students will also learn special ways of dealing with a child’s anxiety or special needs through a child psychology course. They also learn to use the equipment made just for small mouths, along with common childhood problems like growth complications, oral trauma, emergency dentistry, childhood oral diseases, sedation and anesthesia, and tooth replacement. After the residency, students take an exam to be certified with the ABPD, or American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. Throughout their career they will have to take continuing education classes from the ABPD.
To answer the question how long does it take to be a dentist, it will take approximately eight or more years of school. With hard work and good grades, this can pay off with a wonderful career, as long as you have the determination to get there.