Best Dental Schools In California

Last Updated on May 24, 2022

Dentistry or dental medicine or oral medicine is a branch of medicine that encompasses the study, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases, disorders, and conditions of the oral cavity. A person who has professional knowledge of dentistry and practices is called a dentist.

When you have any teeth issues or health issues affecting your teeth, the dentist is where you go to get it fixed. There are special clinics known as Dental Clinics or hospitals where you can meet a dentist to treat and care for your teeth. To become a dentist, you have to attend a dentist school where you will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to be a qualified dentist.

Right here on infolearners, you are privy to a litany of relevant information on best dental hygiene schools in california, best pre dental schools in california, cheapest dental school in california, best dental hygienist schools in southern california, and so much more. Take out time to visit our catalog for more information on similar topics.

The United States Again Dominates the World's Best Dental Schools in 2020 |  Dentistry Today

Dental Hygienist in California

The Dental Board of California licenses dentists in the state. To work as a dentist, individuals need to earn a Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.), which may take 3-4 years. This graduate program requires prerequisite coursework, scores from the Dental Admission Test and reference letters. The curriculum involves clinical, lecture, laboratory and simulation training. Some schools also have dual degree programs, such as D.D.S and Master of Business Administration, as well as master’s degrees in majors like oral biology or craniofacial biology.

Dental hygienists in California can work as independent practitioners. While the majority of hygienists in the Golden State are affiliated with a dentistry practice, you’ll also find these health professionals working as solo proprietors in their own clinics, working in clinics owned by hospitals and other health systems, or providing services to housebound patients. In order to qualify as an independent practitioner, a dental hygienist must be licensed and have worked as a hygienist for a minimum of 2,000 hours in the preceding 36 months. If dental hygiene is a professional opportunity that excites you, we’ve listed the best dental hygiene programs in California.

In addition to these degree offerings, universities in California may also offer 2-3 year postgraduate certificates in such fields as pediatric dentistry, implant dentistry, oral medicine, and orthodontics. A D.D.S. or D.M.D. and national board examination scores are required to apply to any of these postgraduate programs. The following dental schools prepare students to take the national licensing examination.

Best Dental Schools In California

10. Southwestern College, Chula Vista

Southwestern College, with its policy of inclusion and diversity, prepares dental hygiene aspirants to competently serve a diverse patient population. Students achieve their academic goals under the mentorship of an experienced and dedicated faculty.

The dental hygiene program offered by SWC is an associate degree that can be completed in two years. It is offered in fall of each year with the classroom clinical sessions being held at the Higher Education Center at National City. The curriculum being rigorous requires a commitment of 60 to 65 hours per week. Courses are taken in a sequence as each course builds upon the previous one. The 53 credits in the core dental hygiene coursework include subjects such as clinical concepts, dental radiography, oral anatomy and physiology, periodontics, pain control, dental pharmacology, dental materials, community health and ethics and laws relevant to the dental practice. Your clinical training will take place in the dental hygiene clinic at National City, which is a teaching facility facilitating student learning.

9. Concorde Career College, San Bernardino, Garden Grove & San Diego

Concorde Career College offers the dental hygiene program at three campus locations in the state that are well-equipped with labs, resource centers, and a dental clinic.

To become a dental hygienist in CA you can consider this 111.5 credit hour associate program offered by the college. This 17-month long training divided into nine terms prepares you with workplace-ready skills and knowledge in areas such as extraoral and intraoral exams, periodontal and dental exams, patient assessment and checking vital signs. The curriculum also incorporates practical training, mainly at the college’s dental clinic where students provide supervised patient care to a diverse patient population.

8. Taft College, Taft

Taft College’s commitment towards training dental hygiene students is apparent from the career preparedness graduates have demonstrated at various positions they are holding in the dental field.

Taft offers a two-year associate in dental hygiene. This four-semester long coursework offers sequential courses that build upon each other. You gain expertise in patient assessment, monitoring the patient and keeping records, evaluating and planning patient dental hygiene plan, dental hygiene intervention, and ethics & laws that are relevant to your dental hygiene practice. By the end of the last semester, you will be prepared to take the national and state level licensure exams and start working in private and community dental clinics. Some Graduates also go one to pursue a career in research and education.

7. Santa Rosa Junior College, Santa Rosa

A Santa Rosa Junior College dental hygiene graduate is trained to become an efficient member of a dental team by being a critical thinker, problem solver, and evidence-based decision maker. Since the start of this program in 1999, graduates have excelled in the licensure exam with a 100% pass rate.

This Associate Degree in Dental Hygiene takes five semesters of full-time study to complete. The rigorous coursework grooms you by teaching professional skills and knowledge through classroom lectures, lab session and hands-on practice at the college’s dental clinic and various other community settings. The college advises you to complete the general education and pre-requisite courses before starting with the dental hygiene coursework. This better prepares you for the demanding schedule that you will go through to complete the core coursework.

6. Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill

Nurturing the career aspirations of dental hygiene students, Diablo Valley College is known for its affordable and employment-ready education. Emphasizing on experiential learning, students are provided with externship opportunities at the Native American Health Clinic and La Clinica, two prominent community health centers in the region.

This dental hygiene school in California offers an associate degree that can be completed in two years. The full-time program will require you to attend classes during the day. On completion of the coursework, that includes general as well as core courses you will be able to take the National and Regional Dental Hygiene Board exams and work in dental offices, specialty clinics, hospitals, nursing, and public health clinics. The college is highly selective in its admission policy, so ensure you complete the pre-requisite coursework in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, algebra and nutrition with a minimum GPA of 3.0.

For those interested in pursuing this program, the college recommends including algebra, biology, chemistry, and physiology as preferred subjects in high school.

5. Foothill College, Los Altos Hills

Foothill College has been training dental hygiene students since as long as 1964. It offers two dynamic bachelor’s programs to meet the academic needs of dental hygiene aspirants.

Entry-level Bachelor of Science Degree in Dental Hygiene: This program entails completing general education, science and social science courses in the first two years. After this, you are required to apply to the dental hygiene program, and once accepted you will complete 107 credits in core dental hygiene and upper division general education courses. This will take another two years of study, during which the curriculum includes courses such as dental radiography, oral anatomy, dental materials, periodontics, dental health education, and ethics and law applicable to dental practices.

AS to BS-DH Program: This is a bridge program for those who have already completed an Associate degree in Dental Hygiene and are looking at broadening their knowledge base and career avenues. To graduate you must complete eight courses, and all of them are offered online. This works well for a dental hygienist who is not willing to keep current work commitments on hold while earning his bachelor’s.

4. San Joaquin Valley College, Ontario & Visalia

For aspiring dental hygiene students in California, San Joaquin Valley College offers two fully equipped campuses, to choose from. Each one comes with its own dental clinic, small sized classrooms and a reputation of excellent licensure exam pass rates.

To become a valuable member of a dental team within a short duration, the college offers an associate degree that can be completed in 16 months. You will learn vital technical skills such as the use of charting software, intraoral cameras that help show the interior of a patient’s mouth, x-ray techniques, placing of dental and sealants, fluoride, and performing advanced scaling and root planning methods by using various instruments. The curriculum also includes extensive clinical sessions each term, starting with 8 hours per week during the first two terms and thereon, 12 to 16 hours per week in term three and four. The program is rigorous in nature, and it is highly recommended that you do not work while being enrolled.

3. West Coast University – Orange County, Anaheim

West Coast University provides umpteen learning opportunities to dental hygiene students, thus ensuring professional and personal growth. An advanced simulation lab, an opportunity to serve a diverse population at its free dental clinic and a host of career assistance services prepare students for this challenging yet rewarding allied dental career with much aplomb.

You can opt for this accelerated dental hygiene course in California and finish your bachelor’s in dental Hygiene in just 34 months, sooner than most bachelors programs offered at other colleges. The program incorporates a broad curriculum that includes courses in general education and dental hygiene. While general education courses can be taken online, dental hygiene courses are mostly offered on-campus. By completing the coursework, you will acquire the knowledge and skills to fulfill job duties in a wide array of positions such as a clinician, dental hygiene faculty, researcher, administration and management.

13 Best Dentistry Schools in the World | 2021 - World Scholarship Forum

2. University of the Pacific, San Francisco

University of the Pacific’s San Francisco campus provides an enriching learning environment, with its state-of-the-art facility, an array of dental programs, a dental clinic on-campus and a teaching approach that encourages student-faculty and community interaction. Moreover, its accessible location makes it convenient for students to commute without much hassle.

This three-year bachelor’s program at UOP prepares students with a broad curriculum that incorporates components of liberal arts in the first half of the program, and after that moving to the dental hygiene coursework from the second half onwards. This helps students to develop problem-solving skills, constantly adapt to changes in the dental field and be an efficient member of a dental team. As the college is highly selective in its admission policy, it is recommended that you complete your high school with at least a GPA of 2.7 and ensure you take biology, chemistry, and math.

1. University of Southern California, Los Angeles

For almost 80 years, the University of Southern California’s School of Dentistry has been offering high-quality dental education. It boasts of an acclaimed faculty comprising of experts, authors, and editors who have made a valuable contribution to the field of dental science. Moreover, as a dental hygiene student, being part of a large dental school, you enjoy many opportunities to learn from students and faculty from other dental specialties.

USC is one of the few dental schools in the nation to offer a Bachelor’s and Master’s in dental hygiene.

Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene: With this bachelor’s degree, you will be well-equipped to kickstart your career as an entry-level dental hygienist. You must complete 76 credits in dental hygiene and 12 in general education courses. The well-rounded coursework takes five trimesters to complete and includes extensive clinical training, to help you gain real-world experience.

Master of Science in Dental Hygiene: If you are looking at advancing your dental hygiene education then you can consider this program that can be completed in 16 months of full-time study. If you are working, you can also opt for a part-time schedule. The coursework will help you gain expertise in this dental field through classwork, case studies, and oral presentations. Upon completion of your training, you can also pursue a career in research and education.

Top Dental Schools in the United States - 2021 HelpToStudy.com 2022

Cheapest Dental School in California

1. Loma Linda University

This school, which is located in the city of its name, Loma Linda, enrolls about 4,000 students. It offers a Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) program that requires four years of study. Students in this program learn about general dentistry. A 2-year, D.D.S. program designed for internationally trained dentists is also offered. The D.D.S. program is also offered as a dual degree program with a Master of Public Health, Master of Arts in Bioethics, or with a Doctor of Philosophy of Master of Science program of the student’s choice.

This dental university in southern California also offers Master of Science (M.S.), Master of Science in Dentistry (M.S.D.) and Post-Doctoral Certificates in Prosthodontics, Periodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Endodontics, Implant Dentistry and Dental Anesthesiology. A Master of Science and a Post-Doctoral Certificate in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics are also available. Certificate programs take anywhere from 24 months to four years to complete. M.S. programs are designed to prepare students for careers in research, clinical dentistry or teaching. Graduates of a M.S.D. program are considered to have completed a dental specialty program.

2. University of California – Los Angeles

dental program situated in Los Angeles, this dental school enrolls almost 40,000 students. It offers a 4-year Doctor of Dental Surgery program. Students in this program begin clinical experiences during their first year of study. The university also offers a 2-year D.D.S. program to foreign-trained dentists. Dual D.D.S. and Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Oral Biology or Doctor of Philosophy in Oral Biology programs are also available.

Dentists and oral health researchers may also earn a Master of Science in Oral Biology. The curriculum of this 2-year program includes a thesis requirement.

A Doctor of Philosophy in Oral Biology is also offered. This program, which prepares students for research careers, requires a minimum of four years of study. Students in this program must write a dissertation.

3. University of California – San Francisco

This dental university is located in San Francisco and enrolls about 3,000 students, all of whom are graduate students. The university offers a traditional Doctor of Dental Surgery program, but also offers a D.D.S. and Doctor of Philosophy dual degree program that is a component of the school’s Comprehensive Oral Health Training Program sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. This program prepares students for careers in dental research. A 2-year D.D.S. program is offered to internationally trained dentists.

Students may also complete a Doctor of Dental Surgery and Master of Business Administration dual degree program. Business-related courses in this program are offered by the University of San Francisco.

Individuals possessing a D.D.S. degree may earn a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Oral and Craniofacial Sciences. This program’s curriculum prepares students for careers in research or academia. Students in this Ph.D. program may elect to complete a residency program in prosthodontics or periodontics. A Master of Science in Oral and Craniofacial Sciences can also be completed with a residency in prosthodontics or periodontics.

A Master of Science in Oral and Craniofacial Sciences with a Certificate in Endodontics, Oral Medicine, Orthodontics or Pediatric Dentistry program is also offered. The curriculum of these 36-month programs includes both didactic and clinical instruction.

Students may also attend Doctor of Medicine in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery with certification in oral and maxillofacial surgery program. The curriculum of this 6-year program meets the requirements established by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

Top Dental Schools in the World - 2021 HelpToStudy.com 2022

4. University of Southern California

The University of Southern California also offers a dental school in the Los Angeles area. The university’s Doctor of Dental Surgery program, which takes four years to complete, provides instruction in pharmacology, patient interviews and microbiology. The program’s curriculum includes numerous clinical rotations. An advanced standing, 2-year D.D.S. program is also available for foreign-trained dentists.

A D.D.S program offered alongside a Master of Science in Gerontology or Master of Business Administration are also available. These dual degree programs require five years of study.

Students may also earn either a Master of Science (M.S.) or a Doctor of Philosophy in Craniofacial Sciences. Both of these programs prepare students for careers in research or academia. Students in the M.S. program may simultaneously earn a degree and a certificate in orthodontics, periodontology or operative dentistry. In total, students in the master’s degree program complete 32 credit hours of study, which includes writing a thesis. Earning the Doctor of Philosophy degree requires completing 60 credit hours of study, which includes researching and writing a dissertation.

5. University of the Pacific

The University of the Pacific is located in Stockton and enrolls about 7,000 students. The university is near San Francisco, and its Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry offers a Doctor of Dental Surgery program that students may complete in three years rather than four. Students in this program learn about subjects such as biochemistry, dental materials and microbiology. They also begin working with patients during their second year of study in the school’s simulation lab.

An Accelerated Doctor of Dental Surgery program is also offered. This program, which is available only for internationally trained dentists, requires two years of study.

Students may earn a Master of Science in Dentistry and a Certificate in Orthodontics. This 27-month residency program provides students with instruction in areas like practice management, oral physiology and orthognathic surgery.

6. Western University of Health Sciences

The next dental program in California is the Western University of Health Sciences, located in Pomona. The university’s dental program enrolls about 3,000 students, all of whom are graduate students. It offers a Doctor of Dental Medicine program that includes numerous clinical experiences and requires four years of study. Instruction in this program covers topics such as neck anatomy, the neuroscience system, maxillofacial pathology and the essentials of clinical dentistry.

Best Dental Schools in the U.S.

Best Pre Dental Schools in California

Below are the six CODA-accredited schools in California.

School NameSchool Type & SettingDental Programs OfferedGraduate Tuition & Fees (2019-2020)
Loma Linda University4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburbDoctor of Dental Surgery,
International Doctor of Dental Surgery,
Dual Doctor of Dental Surgery with Master of Public Health, Master of Arts in Bioethics, Doctor of Philosophy or Master of Science,
Master of Science, Master of Science in Dentistry and Post-Doctoral Certificates in Prosthodontics, Periodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Endodontics, Implant Dentistry and Dental Anesthesiology,
Master of Science and Post-Doctoral Certificate in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
$30,380*
University of California – Los Angeles4-year, public; large cityDoctor of Dental Surgery,
Doctor of Dental Surgery and Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Oral Biology or Doctor of Philosophy in Oral Biology,
Master of Science or Doctor of Philosophy in Oral Biology
$12,953 for in-state and $28,055 for out-of-state students*
University of California – San Francisco4-year, public; large cityDoctor of Dental Surgery,
International Doctor of Dental Surgery,
Doctor of Dental Surgery and Doctor of Philosophy,
Doctor of Dental Surgery and Master of Business Administration,
Doctor of Philosophy in Oral and Craniofacial Sciences,
Master of Science in Oral and Craniofacial Sciences with a Certificate in Endodontics, Oral Medicine, Orthodontics or Pediatric Dentistry,
Doctor of Medicine in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery with certification in oral and maxillofacial surgery
$12,919 for in-state and $28,041 for out-of-state students*
University of Southern California4-year, private not-for-profit; large cityDoctor of Dental Surgery,
Advanced Doctor of Dental Surgery,
Doctor of Dental Surgery and Master of Science in Gerontology,
Doctor of Dental Surgery and Master of Business Administration,
Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Craniofacial Sciences
$47,107*
University of the Pacific4-year, private not-for-profit; large cityDoctor of Dental Surgery,
Accelerated Doctor of Dental Surgery,
Master of Science in Dentistry and a Certificate in Orthodontics
$49,374*
Western University of Health Sciences4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburbDoctor of Dental Medicine

About the author

Study on Scholarship Today -- Check your eligibility for up to 100% scholarship.