Dentists diagnose and treat diseases, injuries and malformations of the teeth and mouth. They perform surgical procedures such as implants, tissue grafts and extractions, and can improve a patient’s appearance by using a variety of cosmetic dental procedures. Dentists educate patients on how to better care for their teeth and prevent oral disease. Some dentists also teach dental students and dental hygienists or perform research directed to improving oral health and developing new treatment methods.
Studies in dentistry take four years to earn a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) with additional years for a residency to specialize. There are 66 schools of dental medicine in the U.S. and they belong to the American Dental Education Association (ADEA). Most use the centralized American Association of Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS). Information about dental admissions for all US and Canadian schools can be found in the ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools. There are five dental schools now in New York State: SUNY at Buffalo and Stony Brook are public; NYU, Columbia and Touro are private. Please visit the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) for more information.
From the time you begin college, you are assembling a complete dossier with which to apply to dental schools.
To apply usually requires five achievements:
The University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine's Destination Dental School (DDS) is an eight-week, summer pathway program for individuals interested in a career in dentistry. This program prepares students who have been historically underrepresented in the profession to successfully apply and be accepted to dental school. DDS fellows participate in seven weeks of virtual Saturday meetings, and then visit the UB School of Dental Medicine for a one-week, in-person, intensive training program. Through the DDS program, Fellows learn about the dental profession and dental school application and financing strategies, study for the Dental Admissions Test (DAT), participate in hands-on activities, conduct research projects, and network with faculty mentors, dental students and community leaders. DDS fellows receive Dental Admissions Test (DAT) study resources, reimbursement for one DAT, a waived application fee to UB SDM, and a stipend to cover the costs of travel and lodging for the in-person component.
Start planning as a freshman to meet the following course requirements: a minimum of one year each of chemistry, organic chemistry, biology and physics, all with a year of lab; one year of English; and one year of math recommended. Several require biochemistry and/or microbiology. Below are the UB courses we recommended to meet these requirements.
|COURSE NAME||COURSE NUMBER(S)||CREDITS|
|Chemistry (Required and on DAT)||CHE 101-102 w/labs 113-114, or 105-106, or 107-108 w/labs 127-128||10 credits|
|Organic Chemistry (Required and on DAT)||CHE 201-202, or 203-204 w/labs 205-206, or 251-252||10 credits|
|Biology (Required and on DAT)||BIO 200, and BIO 201 w/lab 211||9 credits|
|Physics (Required)||PHY 101-102 w/labs 151-152, or |
PHY 107-108 or 117-118 w/lab 158*
|English/Writing (Required)||Communication Literacy 1 and 2 |
(If any waived take 3 or 6 credits of writing intensive, literature-based courses – check with prehealth advisor if unsure)
|Biochemistry (Highly Recommended – required by UB Dental and many other schools, also on DAT)||BCH 403 or BIO 305 with optional lab of BIO 315||3-5 credits|
|Calculus (Highly Recommended – some schools require)||MTH 121 or 141||4 credits|
|Human Physiology (Highly Recommended and on DAT)||PGY 300 or PGY 451-452||4-6 credits|
|Statistics (Highly Recommended and on DAT)||STA 119 or PSY 207 or STA 427||4 credits|
|Microbiology (Recommended as it is required by some dental schools and frequently recommended by others)||MIC 401||4 credits|
|Genetics (Recommended as genetics topics expanded on DAT starting in January 2022)||BIO 319 or BCH 410||3 credits|
*Consult with a prehealth advisor regarding additional lab requirements if taking a physics sequence which includes only one lab.
Online prerequisite courses, including English, are strongly discouraged as many professional schools will not accept them.
Some dental schools may have additional courses required or recommended. Review the admission requirements of U.S. and Canadian dental schools in the preprofessional health advisor’s office, the undergraduate library, or purchase your own copy from the ADEA.
All required courses must be taken for a grade. Each school has its own policy about AP credit. Usually, AP credit in these areas should be followed with additional upper level work in the discipline including labs. AP credit in math is the only subject in which more advanced work is not necessarily required.
To further strengthen your application, here are some additional UB courses you could take: