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Dental Medicine

What does a Dentist Do?

Dentistry is the branch of the healing arts and sciences devoted to maintaining oral health. It is a dynamic health profession, offering opportunities to become a successful, highly respected member of the community. Dentists enjoy excellent compensation and the high demand for dental care is likely to continue in the future. The realization that oral health can have a serious impact on systemic health drives the expansion of new professional opportunities each year. Approximately 80% of all dentists practice General Dentistry. General dentists treat all patients, adults and children, in many different treatment facilities and settings. General dentists are graduates of dental school and hold a D.D.S. or D.M.D. degree.
The D.M.D. and the D.D.S. are equivalent degrees that are awarded to dental students upon completion of the same types of programs. While many dental school graduates opt to enter general practice immediately upon graduation, in other cases, they may opt for one or two years of additional education in a General Practice Residency or Advanced Education in General Dentistry program.



What should I major in?

Although the majority of Dental Schools do not require a specific undergraduate major, due to the academic preparation required for the DAT and Dental School application, the most common Pre-Dental majors at NMSU are: Biology, Microbiology, Biochemistry, Chemistry


Required Courses:

General Biology (BIOL 2610G/2610L and BIOL 2110G/2110L)
General Microbiology (BIOL 311/311L)
General Chemistry (CHEM 1215G/1225G or CHEM 1216/1226)
Organic Chemistry (CHEM 313, 314 and 315)
Biochemistry (BCHE 395)
Physics (PHYS 1230G/1230L or PHYS 2230G/2230L & PHYS 1240G/1240L or 2240G/2240L)
Mathematics including Trigonometry and Pre-Calculus (MATH 1250G)
Statistics (math 1350g or A ST 311G)
English Composition (ENGL 1110G and ENGL 2210G)


Recommended Courses:

Calculus I Human Anatomy Physiology Genetics Communication

 *Although coursework listed is recommended by most Dental Program admissions requirements may vary from school to school. Please check specific occupational therapy school admission websites for detailed prerequisite requirements.

Career Opportunities

General practitioners handle a variety of dental needs.
Other dentists practice in one of nine specialty areas:

  • Dental public health specialists promote dental health
    and prevention of dental diseases in communities.
  • Endodontists perform root-canal therapy, removing the
    nerves and blood supply from injured or infected teeth.
  • Oral and maxillofacial radiologists diagnose diseases in
    the head and neck through use of imaging technologies.
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgeons operate on the mouth,
    jaws, teeth, gums, neck, and head,
  • Oral pathologists diagnose conditions in the mouth,
    such as bumps or ulcers, and oral diseases, such as cancer.
  • Orthodontists straighten teeth by applying pressure to
    the teeth with braces or other appliances.
  • Pediatric dentists focus on dentistry for children and
    special-needs patients.
  • Periodontists treat the gums and bone supporting the
  • Prosthodontists replace missing teeth with permanent
    fixtures, such as crowns and bridges, or with removable
    fixtures such as dentures


Salary and Job Outlook

Median Salary: $149,310 per year/$71.79 per hour
Projected 16% growth from 2012 to 2022

Local Dental Programs
Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine-Arizona
Glendale, Arizona
Seats: 140
Average GPA (Science): 3.48
Average GPA (Overall): 3.57
Average DAT Score: 19

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A.T. Still University School of School of Dentistry and Oral Health
Mesa, Arizona
Average GPA (Science): 3.23
Average GPA (Overall): 3.34
Average DAT Score: 18.63

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University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine
Denver, Colorado
Seats: n/a
Average GPA (Science):
Average GPA (Overall): 3.60
Average DAT Score: 19.8

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University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Dentistry
Kansas City, Missouri
Seats: 109
Average GPA (Science): 3.70
Average GPA (Overall): 3.70
Average DAT Score: 19.13

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