Dentistry by jizhen1947



What is Dentistry?
Dentistry is the branch of the healing arts and sciences devoted to maintaining the health of the
teeth, gums, and other hard and soft tissues of the oral cavity and adjacent structures. A dentist is
a scientist and clinician dedicated to the highest standards of health through prevention,
diagnosis, and treatment of oral diseases and conditions. The notion of dentists as those who
merely “fill teeth” is completely out-of-date. Today, dentists are highly sophisticated health
professionals who provide a wide range of care that contributes enormously to the quality of
their patients’ day-to-day lives by preventing tooth decay, periodontal disease, malocclusion, and
oral-facial anomalies. These and other oral disorders can cause significant pain, improper chewing
or digestion, dry mouth, abnormal speech, and altered facial appearance. Dentists are also
instrumental in early detection of oral cancer and systemic conditions of the body that manifest
themselves in the mouth, and they are at the forefront of a range of new developments in
cosmetic and aesthetic practices.

Furthermore, the dental profession includes not only those who provide direct patient care, but
those who teach, conduct research, and work in public and international health. All of these
individuals are vital links in the health care delivery system, necessary to promote social and
economic change as well as individual well-being. Dentists understand the importance of and
have made contributions to serving both disadvantaged populations and populations with limited
access to dental care. It is not surprising, then, that the dental profession is very involved in
influencing current health care reform efforts to ensure that the importance of oral health is
understood and that oral health care is available to everyone.

Faculty members in schools of dental medicine play an especially critical role because they
influence an entire field of study and contribute to shaping the profession in the United States
and around the world. Dental school faculty are responsible for bringing new discoveries into the
classroom; they stimulate students’ intellect and help determine the future of oral health care
through dental medicine. *Source: ADEA 2009 official guide to dental schools

Most dentists are general practitioners, handling a variety of dental needs. Other dentists practice
in any of nine specialty areas. Orthodontists, the largest group of specialists, straighten teeth by
applying pressure to the teeth with braces or retainers. The next largest group, oral and
maxillofacial surgeons, operates on the mouth and jaws. The remainder may specialize as
pediatric dentists (focusing on dentistry for children); periodontists (treating gums and bone
supporting the teeth); prosthodontists (replacing missing teeth with permanent fixtures, such as
crowns and bridges, or with removable fixtures such as dentures); endodontists (performing root
canal therapy);public health dentists (promoting good dental health and preventing dental
diseases within the community); oral pathologists (studying oral diseases); or oral and
maxillofacial radiologists (diagnosing diseases in the head and neck through the use of imaging

Getting Started
There is no particular major required for dental school, just the prerequisite of certain science
classes. You should check the specific admissions requirements for your schools of interest;
however, typical prerequisite courses include:
    8-12 credits of biology with lab
    8-12 credits of inorganic chemistry with lab
    8-12 credits of organic chemistry with lab
    8-12 credits of physics with lab
    6-9 credits of mathematics
    6-9 credits of English

      Sample 4-year Plan:
1 Fall       1st Spring   2nd Fall   2nd Spring   3rd Fall   3rd Spring    4th Fall     4th Spring

Chem 141     Chem 142     Bio 141    Bio 142      Phys 141   Phys 142      Bio 301      Psyc 110/111

Math 111     Math 112     Chem 221 Chem 222       Elective   Elective      Elective     Elective

English      English      Elective   Elective     Elective   Elective      Elective     Elective

Elective     Elective     Elective   Elective     Elective   Elective      Elective     Elective

    Preparation Timeline:
Fall semester
    • Meet with pre-health advisor and plan coursework
Spring semester
    • Think about volunteer or employment opportunities in dentistry for the summer like
        shadowing a dentist or volunteering in a community health clinic.
    • Complete required coursework and register for the fall semester.
    • Research pre-health enrichment programs at Explore Health Careers:
        eatureFilter=All types&SearchFilter=&StateFilter=0.
    • Also look into the Summer Medical and Dental Education program for college freshman
        and sophomores at Pre-health enrichment programs can help you
        decide if a career in dentistry is a good fit and help you prepare for the application
        process. Summer
    • Complete an internship or volunteer program
    • If necessary attend summer school
Fall semester
    • Schedule a time to meet with your pre-health advisor
    • Attend pre-health activities
    • Join your school’s pre-dental society if one is available
   •    Explore community service opportunities through your school (doesn’t necessarily need
        to be health-related). If possible, continue activities throughout undergraduate career.
Spring semester
    • Look into paid or volunteer dental-related research opportunities
    • Complete a summer research or volunteer dental-related program
    • If necessary attend summer school
    • DAT preparation
Fall semester
    • Meet with pre-health advisor to make sure coursework completion is on schedule
    • Discuss dental schools
    • Complete coursework and register for spring semester
    • Visit ADEA’s website at to learn about
        applying to dental school
    • Place order for the ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools
    • Research schools
Spring semester
    • Review each dental school’s required documents early in the semester
    • Identify individuals to write letters of recommendation
    • Take the DAT late spring or early
    • Prepare to submit AADSAS application. Applications become available
    • on or around June 1.
    • Complete coursework and register for the fall
    • Schedule a volunteer or paid dental related activity
    • Take the DAT if you have not done so already
    • Prepare for school interviews in the fall
    • Budget time and finances appropriately to attend interviews
    • Participate in volunteer or paid opportunity
    • If necessary attend summer school
Fall semester
    • Meet with pre-health advisor and complete coursework
    • Attend interviews with schools
    • Notification of acceptances begins December 1
Spring semester
    • Apply for federal financial aid Summer
    • Relax and get ready for the first semester of dental school!
    • Attend school’s open houses or events
    • Prepare to relocate if necessary

*Source: ADEA 2009 official guide to dental schools

     •   Letters of Recommendation (LOR): two from science faculty, one or two from non-
         science faculty and others as sensible, i.e., research, employment, volunteer service,
         coach, etc.) One letter should be from your major. No more than six are
     •   Exam: Dental Admissions Test (DAT)
             o The DAT consists of multiple-choice test items presented in the English
                 language and requires four hours and 15 minutes for administration. The four
                 separate parts of theexam cover:
                      •Natural sciences (biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry)
                      •Perceptual ability (two- and three-dimensional problem-solving)
                      •Reading comprehension (dental and basic sciences)
                      •Quantitative reasoning (mathematical problems in algebra, numerical
                      calculations, conversions, etc.)
     •   Application:
             o ADEA’s Associated American Dental Schools Application Service
                       Found at:

Dental Schools
  University of Alabama School of Dentistry Birmingham, AL
  Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health Kirksville, MO
  University of California, Los Angeles School of Dentistry Los Angeles, CA
  University of California, San Francisco School of Dentistry San Francisco, CA
  Loma Linda University School of Dentistry Loma Linda, CA
  University of the Pacific School of Dentistry San Francisco, CA
  University of Southern California School of Dentistry Los Angeles, CA
  University of Colorado School of Dentistry B Denver, CO
  University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine Farmington, CT
  Howard University College of Dentistry Washington, DC
  University of Florida College of Dentistry Gainesville, FL
  Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine Ft. Lauderdale, FL
  Medical College of Georgia School of Dentistry Augusta, GA
  University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry Chicago, IL
  Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine
  Indiana University School of Dentistry Indianapolis, IN
  The University of Iowa College of Dentistry Iowa City, IA
  University of Kentucky College of Dentistry Lexington, KY
  University of Louisville School of Dentistry Louisville, KY
  Louisiana State University Health Science Center School of Dentistry New Orleans, LA
  University of Maryland Dental School, Baltimore College of Dental Surgery Baltimore, MD
  Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine Boston, MA
  Harvard School of Dental Medicine Boston, MA
  Tufts University School of Dental Medicine Boston, MA
  University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry Detroit, MI
  The University of Michigan School of Dentistry Ann Arbor, MI
  University of Minnesota School of Dentistry Minneapolis, MN
  University of Mississippi School of Dentistry Jackson, MS
 University of Missouri, Kansas City School of Dentistry Kansas City, MO
 Creighton University School of Dentistry Omaha, NE
 University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry Lincoln, NE
 University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Dentistry Las Vegas, NV
 University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Newark, NJ
 Columbia University School of Dental and Oral Surgery New York, NY
 New York University College of Dentistry New York, NY
 State University of New York at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine Buffalo, NY
 State University of New York at Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine Stony Brook, NY
 University of North Carolina School of Dentistry Chapel Hill, NC
 Case Western Reserve University School of Dentistry Cleveland, OH
 The Ohio State University College of Dentistry
 University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry Oklahoma City, OK
 Oregon Health & Science University School of Dentistry
 University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine Philadelphia, PA
 University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine Pittsburgh, PA
 Temple University School of Dentistry B Philadelphia, PA
 Medical University of South Carolina College of Dental Medicine B Charleston, SC
 Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry Nashville, TN
 University of Tennessee College of Dentistry B Memphis, TN
 Baylor College of Dentistry, The Texas A&M Univ. System Health Science Ctr. Dallas, TX
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Dental Branch Houston, TX
The Univ. of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Dental School San Antonio, TX
Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry Richmond, VA
University of Washington School of Dentistry Seattle, WA
West Virginia University School of Dentistry Morgantown, WV
Marquette University School of Dentistry Milwaukee, WI
University of Puerto Rico School of Dentistry San Juan, PR

American Dental Education Association (ADEA)
American Dental Association (ADA)
American Student Dental Association (ASDA)
American Association for Dental Research (AADR)
Dental Admission and Application Preparation materials
Getting into Dental School: American Student Dental Association’s (ASDA) Guide for Predental
Official Guide to Dental Schools* published by the American Dental Education Association

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