Despite the hands-on training required for Doctor of Dental Surgery, students can take some subjects online. However, you cannot finish the entire program thru distance learning alone. You need to attend on-campus classes for research and training in the complex world of dentistry.

A Doctor of Dental Surgery program features the dentistry coursework coupled with advanced training in dental surgery. A dental surgeon with a doctorate is basically a dentist who is proficient in advanced dental procedures training.

What does a dental surgeon do?

A dental surgeon performs dental procedures. With extensive education and training, Doctor of Dental Surgery degree holders are specialists in this field. They are licensed to perform advanced surgery work, such as apicoectomy or removal of bone structure parts and removal of impacted wisdom teeth. They are also trained to perform the fitting of dental prosthetics such as veneers, bridges, dentures, implants, crowns, and caps.

Dental surgeons are also trained to do regular dental work. As dentists, preventive dental medicine is a significant component of their work. They provide professional dental services, recommend products and practices to maintain proper dental hygiene, and help you keep overall oral health.

What sort of accreditation should I look for in a Doctor of Dental Surgery school?

In the United States, the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) accredits both Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.) and Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) degrees. This accreditation body has been commissioned by the American Dental Association (ADA).

How do I earn my D.D.S. degree?

First of all, you must have a 4-year bachelor degree before you apply for a dental school. Your undergraduate degree should be related to the following scientific courses: Physics, Biology, Inorganic Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry. All of these have laboratory work in the college curriculum. D.D.S. programs in the United States also require students to be proficient in the English language.

Before you formally submit your application to a dental school, you need to pass the Dental Admission Test (DAT) first. DAT is a computer-standardized test necessary in the dental school application process. In case of failure, you have to wait for 90 days for another chance. You will be asked to pay a non-refundable fee each time. A few dental schools require Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores too, but the majority don’t.

You can be a dentist regardless of whether you have a D.D.S or D.M.D. degree. Both doctorate programs have the same curriculum and training requirements set by the American Dental Association. Before the year 1867, D.D.S. is the only course for aspiring dentist. Then, Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts opened their own dental school with the Latin words “Dentariae Medicinae Doctor” or “D.M.D..” Some emerging dental schools since then followed suit and some retained the D.D.S. degree. Today, the awarding of D.D.S. or D.M.D. degrees is ultimately the choice of the institution.

A newcomer to the field of dentistry might have to spend a total of eight years in school to complete a D.M.D. program. However, if you have a bachelor’s degree with the relevant subjects, you can proceed with earning your doctorate within four years. The first half consists of classroom lectures on dental and scientific theories. The second half focuses on specialization training and thesis writing for graduate students. Students are also required to complete a certain number of hours for clinical practice.

Graduate students have plenty of specialization tracks. If you are interested in treating children, specialize in pediatric dentistry. If you want to be knowledgeable with gums, take advanced courses in periodontology. Technical know-how for dental device installation needs training in orthodontology. If you wish to be called an “oral surgeon” instead of a “general dentist,” you will need to study maxillofacial surgery, cosmetic dentistry, restorative dentistry, and endodontics. Having a specialization will allow you to work efficiently with a team of dentists and medical practitioners with diverse backgrounds.

What type of degree do I need to pursue research or educate others in Dentistry?

Most dental schools have faculty members with a D.D.S. or D.M.D. on their business cards. Typically, those who pursue dental research have a Ph.D. in Dentistry. These dentist-researchers write their dissertation and publish their work on academic journals to contribute to the field.

What kind of career and salary can I expect with my D.D.S. degree?

Earning your D.D.S. degree and obtaining a license officially makes you “a dentist” and “a “doctor.” You have the prerogative to work in a hospital or put up your own clinic and be self-employed. Some D.D.S. degree holders share their expertise to those in need and participate in charitable activities like medical missions in far-flung regions with limited access to dental care.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, dentists make an average $158,120 annually. Monetary compensation is determined by location and experience.

Do I need a license to be a dentist?

Yes, you need to pass the National Board Dental Examination (NBDE) to become a dentist. This test sponsored by the American Dental Association. The Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNDE) is divided into two parts. Some universities allow students to take the first part while they are still attending dental school; others advise students to take both parts successively.

Some states also hold their own dental licensure examinations. Ask your regional testing centers regarding your state’s rules on obtaining a license to practice dentistry.

What schools offer Doctor of Dental Surgery degrees?

The following schools offer a face-to-face educational format for D.D.S. students: University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Loma Linda University School of Dentistry in Loma Linda, California;  University of Utah School of Dentistry in Salt Lake City, Utah; University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry in Lincoln , Nebraska; and Louisiana State University School of Dentistry in New Orleans, Louisiana

You can take the online courses offered by the New York University College of Dentistry in New York, New York by enrolling in their joint DDS/Online Advanced Certificate in Public Health (CPH) Program.