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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 in and around the mouth. A dentist is a doctor, scientist and clinician dedicated to the highest standards of health through prevention, diagnosis and treatment of oral diseases and conditions.

Dental schools are graduate-level programs and are 4 years in length. Upon completion, graduates earn a D.D.S. (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or D.M.D. (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree. There is no difference between the D.D.S and D.M.D. degrees and graduates can practice as general dentists. Approximately 80% of all dentists practice General Dentistry. Successful completion of all national licensing and national board examinations are also required to practice.

Becoming a recognized specialist usually requires from 1 to 4 years of additional training beyond the dental degree. The American Dental Association currently recognizes nine dental specialties:

Application Guide

Learn more about the admission criteria for most dental programs.

Michigan Dental School Prerequisites

View course requirements for Michigan dental programs.

Application Cycle Data

View average admission data for the 2021-2022 application cycle, including number of applications received, average GPA and DAT scores, and programs MSU graduates were accepted to. 

Additional Resources

Explore this profession further by accessing links to national associations, career profiles, and student resources.