How to Become a Dentist: A Simple Step-by-Step Guide

Everyone has a dream job or an ideal way to earn a living. If yours helps people with oral hygiene, dentistry is the right field for you.

When you become a dentist, you choose an independent career. After graduating from dental school, you can start your own practice working for yourself.

Dentistry also covers a wide range of career options . Graduates can choose clinical work, research or academic research. All of these transform people's lives by restoring their oral health.

Do you want to live your dream of becoming a dentist? Learn how to become a dentist with this simple step-by-step guide.

A bachelor's degree is the first step - dentist

1. A bachelor's degree is the first step

Dentistry is dental medicine. Anything to do with the medical field requires education. If you're wondering how to get into dental school, here's how.

Your first step to becoming a dentist is to earn a bachelor's degree.

The requirements to become a dentist involve taking courses in biology and physics. Chemistry is also a prerequisite. These courses prepare you for dental school as they provide information relevant to the field of dentistry.

During your undergraduate studies, participate in a dental mentorship program. Mentorship programs prepare you for the dental field and provide career development benefits.

2. Apply to dental school

After obtaining your baccalaureate, take the DAT – Dental Admission Test. You must pass the DAT before you can apply to dental school.

Most dental schools have a minimum score requirement for the DAT. Find out before you take the exam and apply accordingly. You will also need a satisfactory undergraduate GPA and letters of recommendation.

Be prepared to discuss these things during your entrance interviews.

3. Earn a dental degree

Earning a degree in dentistry requires another four years of schooling. In dental school, you work toward a DDS or DMD degree. It is a doctor of dental surgery or a doctor of dental medicine.

Both degrees receive accreditation from the American Dental Association. The course load covers periodontics, oral pathology, orthodontics, anesthesia and radiology.

Check with your state for programs approved for state licensing.

4. Obtain a license

You cannot practice dentistry in your state without a license. After meeting the education requirements, you must pass the National Dental Board exam.

The exam is a two-part exam that covers clinical procedures, ethics, and dental science. Be prepared for an interview and a background check. You may need to get CPR certification.

Your state's licensing board may require additional testing.

5. Choose a specialization

After obtaining a license, most new dentists work as general practitioners. They open offices and serve the public with dental products. Get them here if that's the route you're planning.

However, you can choose to specialize in one area. The ADA offers specializations in dentistry if you choose to go in that direction. Here are a few:

  • Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics
  • Pediatric dentistry
  • Endodontics
  • Periodontics

Expect to take two or more years of study to become a specialist. These are minimum tips for becoming a dentist.

Follow these tips to become a dentist

Don't let your dream job become an afterthought. Use this simple step by step to becoming a dentist to start your new career.

Learn more about becoming an entrepreneur. Check out our lifestyle guides to discover ways to improve your business and your career.