Dentistry (D.D.S., D.M.D.)

Dentists are highly skilled health professionals who provide a wide range of oral health care that includes the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of problems associated with the hard and soft tissues of the mouth. They examine the teeth, mouth, and associated tissues, diagnose and treat diseases, restore defective teeth and tissue, and replace missing teeth. Dentists are instrumental in the early detection of oral cancer and systemic conditions that manifest in the mouth. Today’s dentists are at the forefront of a range of new developments in dental implants, computer generated imaging, and cosmetic and aesthetic procedures.

Eighty percent of practicing dentists are engaged in general practice. The remainder specialize in one of nine areas, including orthodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, endodontics, periodontics, pediatric dentistry, prosthodontics, oral and maxillofacial pathology, dental public health, and oral and maxillofacial radiology.

There are currently 64 accredited dental schools in the United States that grant Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D) degrees. Education includes a bachelor’s degree and four years of dental school and additional training for specialties.

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