How to Enter the Dental Field
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Dentist training requires a four-year degree program, which results in a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD).

Most dental schools require at least two years of undergraduate education, although approximately 90 percent of applications to U.S. dental schools have completed a 4-year undergraduate degree. Some applicants have undergraduate degrees in sciences such as biology or chemistry, but a science degree is not required and many successful dentists obtained undergraduate degrees in non-science fields before applying to dental school.

Most dental schools in the United States require the Dental Admission Test (DAT). The DAT measures general academic aptitude, skills to visualize things in multiple dimensions (perceptual), and the ability to understand scientific information. This test is similar to the MCAT and GRE tests that are required for admission to medical school or other graduate programs. The DAT consists of multiple-choice questions. In addition to the DAT, applicants to dental schools submit a standard application form through the American Dental Education Association's American Dental Schools Application Service. This process allows you to apply to several schools. The application includes letters of recommendation, academic transcripts, and an essay about why you want to become a dentist.

You can find more information about dental training and dental education at the American Dental Education Association Web site, adea.org.

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