Choosing The Best Dentistry School For You

Dentistry school is a serious four year commitment after acquiring a bachelors degree.  That commitment can be even longer if the student wishes to specialize in certain specific area of dentistry.  Therefore, choosing a school deserves some real consideration.  Students need to study a schools requirements for admission and make sure that any prerequisites either have or will be met prior to admission.  It is also helpful to know a schools clinical requirements.  Some schools have their own clinic, while others use a rotation of outside clinics. 

Dental colleges offer Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Dental Medicine degrees.  To apply with a school that is accredited by the American Dental Association, students must first submit their score on the Dental Admission Test (DAT).  The first two years of dentistry school are for classroom instruction and lab work.  During the last two years, students begin to complete an externship in a dental clinic that allows the students to treat patients under the supervision of a licensed dentist. 

Besides general dentistry, there are areas of specialized study.  These postgraduate dentistry programs include an additional 2 to 6 years of study, depending on the type of specialty chosen.  Specializes areas of study also might include residency as well as other specialized dentistry school requirements.  Some areas of specialization include pediatric, orthodontics, and oral and maxillofacial surgery. 

Visiting the schools you are considering is important.  This way, you can get a better feel for the atmosphere of the campus.  You can also talk to the students to get a better picture of what campus life is like.  They will tell you whether the school is collaborative or cutthroat.  Thy can tell you whether the professional dentistry fraternity on campus is worth joining.  You will also want to take a tour of the entire town, as it will be your home for the next four years. 

Dental school rankings tend to include all the same names, but in different orders.  These rankings are generally considered to be unfair and improper as each school has its own unique characteristics that might or might not suit an individual students needs.  Rankings change every year depending on who is being surveyed.  They can be used as a general guide, but should not be used as the ultimate tool in determining which school is right for you. 

Harvard University is generally considered to have the best School of Dentistry Medicine in the country.  The Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry at The University of the Pacific in San Francisco is gaining a great reputation.  It is currently the only school offering an accelerated three year DDS program.  Students here tend to receive more clinical education than at other schools.  The Baltimore College of Dental Surgery at The University of Maryland at Baltimore has one of the most advanced facilities, including a new 12-story building.  This was the first dental school, opening its doors in 1840.

Choosing a dentistry school will have lifelong ramifications.  While many students will be tempted to enroll at one of the top ten schools, these rankings do not guarantee success upon graduation.  It is far better for each aspiring dentistry student to set their own criteria and make their own decisions based on what they want to accomplish in their education.  Some might want to focus more on lab work, while others will feel it important to get more clinical experience.  If you are going to choose a specialty after four years, you might want to consider that as well.  Price is also an issue, as dental colleges are expensive and students dont want to load themselves down with a large student loan debt to start off their career if they can help it.

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