A person seeking to become a dentist will receive a DDS degree or DMD degree. The DDS degree is the Doctor of Dental surgery and DMD is the Doctor of Dental Medicine degree. Even though one is a surgery degree and the other is a medicine degree, the degrees are one in the same. Most dental schools adopted the name DDS, however some schools changed to DMD.
The first change to the name came from Harvard because Harvard gives out degrees in the Latin names and they preferred the Latin name Dentariae Medicinae Doctor over Chirurgae Dentium Doctoris.¹ When it comes to the type of courses needed to obtain either of these degrees, both DDS and DMD are the exact same program.
Both are recognized by the American Dental Association as the same dentist degree and man or woman with either degree are qualified dentists.² There are still 24 of the 58 schools that give out the DMD degree and the rest are the DDS degree. These schools have tried to cooperate and develop just one degree title for dentists, but all attempts have failed.² The confusion of two degrees meaning the same thing still is around and may be around for sometime²
Since both DDS and DMD degrees are the same, the programs will look similar. Each school will have small differences, such as different required courses to enter into the dental graduate program. Before entering the dental program prospects either enter a pre-dental program or obtain a bachelor’s degree in a science, such as biology or chemistry.³ These students then will take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) to enter into the dental program. Graduate school for the dental curriculum takes four years.†
During these years the students will go through clinical components of Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry, periodontics, general dentistry, dental medicine, oral biology and pathology, and oral and maxillofacial surgery.† Students also go through radiology courses for x-rays. After the four years the graduates will receive the DDS or DMD degree depending on the school they went to.