Best Dental Schools in the US – Overview
Dentists have one of the most satisfying and growing career outlooks. Experts expect an 8% growth in demand for dentists in the next 10 years. Tens of thousands of aspiring dentists get admission into reputed dental schools in the US and begin their journey. Around 67 universities in the United States offer degrees in advanced Dentistry.
The path to becoming a full-fledged dentist required around 8 years of education. This includes acquiring a degree in a field of choice before obtaining a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) or a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree. Next up are the national and state certification exams.
In order to achieve this, it is important to establish a strong foundation by gaining admission to a reputable dental school in the United States.
What Does a Dentist Do?
A dentist is a medical practitioner who is qualified and certified to perform diagnosis and treatment of dental problems. The American Dental Education Association defines dentistry (or oral medicine) as the healthcare field focused on maintaining the health of a person’s teeth, gums, and overall mouth.
A dentist usually works to:
- Evaluate patients and advise them about oral hygiene and dental care
- Perform dental procedures, such as oral exams, fillings, corrective surgeries, etc.
- Identify, diagnose, and treat oral conditions
- Perform general dentistry in 1 of 9 dental specialties
The nine dental specialties are as follows:
- Endodontics – Focus on periarticular and dental pulp tissues
- Orthodontics / Dentofacial Orthopedics – Teeth straightening and correcting facial deformities
- Pediatric dentistry – Provide dental care to infants, children and teenagers
- Periodontics – Focus on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of gums
- Prosthodontics – Perform restorative dental procedures
- Oral / Maxillofacial Pathology – Focus on diseases that affect oral and maxillofacial regions
- Oral / Maxillofacial Radiology – Focus on analyzing X-ray images of tissues in the maxillofacial region
- Oral / Maxillofacial Surgery – Perform surgery on teeth, gums, jaw and face
- Dental Public Health – Focus on preventing and treating dental diseases and promoting dental health in communities
Once you have chosen the dental specialty, it is time to select the best dental school in the US.
How to Choose the Best Dental School in the US?
Deciding to be a dentist is a significant step in life. As with any important decision, it is important to make sure you select the best resources. Dental schools are the foundation of your future dental career and hence must be chosen carefully.
There are several factors to consider before selecting the best dental school, such as:
- Location – A school that is easy to access should be your ideal choice. If you can commute, you should consider keeping the distance short to avoid wasting valuable time traveling back and forth to the school. On the other hand, if you plan on living on or near the campus, then make sure to choose the dental school that offers dorms to students.
- Student body – The performance of alumni from the past matters when selecting a dental school. Make sure to choose one whose students have graduated and become renowned in dentistry.
- Curriculum – The type of curriculum taught at a dental school is also crucial to check. For instance, some schools focus on teaching basic science, while others may combine clinical rotations to help students apply their knowledge in real-life settings. On the other hand, certain curriculum requires pre-clinical training for students before starting any clinical work.
- Experience provided – Some dental schools focus on providing hands-on clinical experience to students while they learn the theories in the classrooms. Usually, these are provided to students in clinical settings or community health centers.
5 Best Dental Schools in the US in 2023
To help you make the best choice easily we have listed the top-ranked dental schools in the US in 2023:
1 – University of Michigan School of Dentistry
For several reasons, the University of Michigan’s School of Dentistry tops our list of the best dental schools in the US in 2023. The university not only has a large network of clinics, but it also provides students with several opportunities to gain clinical experience and expertise. The dental school at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor offers 15 different dental programs taught by 120 full-time highly-credentialed faculty members.
Why choose the University of Michigan School of Dentistry:
Here are the highlighting reasons why you should choose the University of Michigan’s School of Dentistry:
- Acceptance score of 26%
- Average ACT score of 33 required
- Average SAT score of 1432 required
- Average DAT score of 22 required
- Average GPA of 3.73 required
- Around 66% of students get aid for education
- Class size of only 108 students
- Four-year dental degree costs around USD 377,143 on average
To learn more details, such as specific admission criteria and process, you can visit the official website of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry here https://dent.umich.edu/.
2 – Harvard School of Dental Medicine
The Harvard School of Dental Medicine in Boston is among the oldest and most prestigious dental schools in the United States. Situated in the Longwood Medical area, the School of Medicine at Harvard focuses on providing practical experience to students with frequent clinical rotations.
Harvard Dental is the perfect training ground for aspiring students to learn from the best. Some coursework for dental students is also taught to Harvard Medical students too.
Why choose Harvard School of Dental Medicine?
Check out the factors that make Harvard School of Dental Medicine one of the top-sought dental schools in the US:
- The average acceptance rate is only 5%
- Average ACT score of 34 required
- The average SAT score is 1520
- Average GPA score of 3.82 required
- Average DAT score of 22 required
- The class has only 35 students
- The four-year dental degree can cost around USD 464,971
To find out more details about getting admission into the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, you can check the official website here https://hsdm.harvard.edu/.
3 – The University of North Carolina Adams School of Dentistry
The Adams School of Dentistry at the University of North Caroline (UNC) ranks third on our list of the best dental schools in the US for several reasons. Situated in Chapel Hill, the Adams School of Dentistry has constantly ranked at the top of the list of dental schools. The school offers a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) program with a curriculum that follows ACT (Advocate-Clinician-Thinker) ideology. Here, aspiring dentists are trained not just to serve patients but also to advocate for their best.
At UNC Adams School of Dentistry, students work in 50 rotations sites across North Carolina and get extensive clinical experience. In addition, two student-managed free dental clinics help students practice their dental skills. These students provide extensive dental services to more than 90,000 patients over a year.
Why choose the University of North Carolina Adams School of Dentistry?
Here are the top reasons to choose the UNC Adams School of Dentistry if you want to become a successful dentist:
- Acceptance rate of 25%
- Average ACT score of 31 required
- The average SAT score for admission is 1385
- Average GAP score of 3.6 required
- Average DAT score of 22 required
- Over 64% of students receive educational aid
- The class has only 82 students
- Four-year dental degree costs around USD 330,805
If you want to learn details about admission criteria and the process into the University of North Carolina Adams School of Dentistry, you can check out their official website here https://dentistry.unc.edu/.
4 – University of California (Los Angeles) School of Dentistry
The School of Dentistry at the University of California, Los Angeles, is yet another top choice among the best dental schools in the US in 2023. The school helps over 100 aspiring dentists to graduate every year with a four-year Doctor of Dentistry degree.
Students get hands-on experience from the second year with extensive clinical rotations at prestigious dental clinics and hospitals. Most students who graduate from this school choose to continue their education with a post-grad or an advanced degree in oral biology.
Why choose the University of California School of Dentistry?
Some of the top reasons why students choose the University of California (Los Angeles) School of Dentistry are:
- The acceptance rate is 14%
- Average GPA score of 3.72 required
- Average DAT score of 22 required
- Around 73% of students receive financial aid
- Around USD 15,460 on average as financial aid per student
- The class contains only 88 students
- Four-year dental degree costs around USD 378,673
To find more details about getting admission into the University of California, Los Angeles School of Dentistry, you can check out their official website here https://dentistry.ucla.edu/.
5 – University of Washington School of Dentistry
The University of Washington School of Dentistry also ranks on our list of the best dental schools in the US in 2023. It is renowned for its extensive clinical exposure to students, which involves improving communication and interpersonal skills, especially with patients with severe disabilities. Students also train to work at the mobile geriatric clinic for added experience in dental care.
Why choose the University of Washington School of Dentistry?
Check out the top reasons why you should choose the University of Washington School of Dentistry to get your dental degree:
- Acceptance rate of 56%
- Average ACT score of 30 required
- Average SAT score for admission in 1327
- Average DAT score of 20.9 required
- The average GPA required is 3.5
- Around 56% of students receive financial aid for education
- The class contains only 63 students
- Four-year dental degree costs around USD 391,361
If you want to know more details about getting admission into the University of Washington School of Dentistry, you can check out their official website here https://dental.washington.edu/.
This is our list of the best dental schools in the US in 2023. These dental schools are ranked based not just on the versatility of curriculum but also on clinical exposure, cost of education, availability of financial aid, and other factors.
Every dental school has different criteria and processes for admission. Make sure to check the individual admission process for the choice of dental school before applying for admission into a dental degree course.
I am a dedicated healthcare researcher and an enthusiast specializing in medical grants, medical education and research. Through my articles, I aim to empower healthcare professionals and researchers with valuable insights and resources to navigate these critical aspects effectively.