how to get into dental school

Last Updated on December 28, 2022

People pursuing careers in the professional world have benefited from the advancement of education leading to the pursuit of master’s, doctorate, and bachelor’s degrees. Worried about how to get into dental school? This is a detailed research on this type of bags. It contains dental school requirements. If your preference is how to get into dental school with a low gpa, then this article is perfect for you. To be successful in academic careers, Doctorates, Masters, and Ph.D. degrees are generally essential. how to get into dental school? how to get into dental school uk, dental school application, how to become a dentist? These questions are answered extensively on Collegelearners.

If you’re looking for tips to help get into dental school, or the steps it takes to become a dentist, then you’re in the right place. I have a step by step process on how to get into dental school. I will also discuss the costs of being a dentist and answer some frequently asked questions regarding dentistry career.

You’ve probably heard that there are currently a large number of dental school applications. In many cases, there are more students applying than there are available spaces. But these statistics don’t have to be an obstacle to get into dental school. You may not have considered this, but if you want to go to dental school you need only two things: the desire to go and a strong curriculum vitae.

dental school requirements

how to get into dental school

Applying to dental school is not a mystery, nor is it a marathon. The key is to prepare. ADEA’s Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (ADEA AADSAS®) simplifies the process by allowing students to submit one single application to all of the dental schools to which they apply.

ADEA AADSAS is available to individuals applying to first-year entering classes at all U.S. dental schools and select Canadian dental schools. The program collects and disseminates verified application information, DAT (Dental Admission Test) scores and letters of evaluation to the schools chosen by the applicant.

The dental school application process can leave students feeling overwhelmed if they don’t prepare. The following tips will ease students’ worries and help them become viable dental school applicants.


Apply early. ADEA AADSAS opens in June for applicants who are planning to begin dental school the following year. Individuals are strongly encouraged to submit their applications by the end of August.

Budget. Be sure to advise students to set aside money for application fees, supplemental fees for individual dental schools, interviews and a deposit to hold a spot at a dental school.

Thoroughly prepare for the Dental Admission Test (DAT). A critical and sometimes daunting component of the dental school application process is preparing for and taking the DAT. Study preparation can take as long as three to four months.

Double Check the Application is Complete. Applying early is important, but being thorough is better. Most application processes employ rolling consideration—so the earliest applications are the first considered, but only when all materials related to the application are also received. Make sure to remind students to research each school’s requirements for coursework, letters of evaluation and receipt of official DAT scores to avoid being in a position where missing documentation prevents an admissions committee from reviewing a student’s file.


Connect the dots on manual dexterity. Precision is key to the work of a dentist. Procedures must be performed by hand on an extremely small scale. Understanding the significance of manual dexterity to a dental career will help students confirm if dentistry is the right fit. Students can find more information on manual dexterity  here

Prepare for dental school interviews. A successful interview can be the deciding factor in a student’s acceptance to dental school. Be active in helping students practice and prepare for their dental school interviews by hosting mock interviews.

Develop a compelling and comprehensive personal statement. Dental schools look for students to communicate their passion for dentistry and their commitment to becoming a dentist in their personal statement.

how to get into dental school with a low gpa

Personal Qualities You Need to Excel as a Dentist

Dentists say their profession requires strong spatial awareness and excellent hand-eye coordination, since it involves performing delicate procedures in confined spaces.

Dr. Inna Chern, a dentist based in New York City, says one sign that a person has what it takes to be a dentist is if he or she enjoys building or crafting. Those hobbies involve the type of artistry and dexterity that are necessary for dentistry, Chern explains.[ 

Another indication that dentistry is a suitable profession for someone is if he or she is intrigued by scientific advancements that are improving preventative dental care, says Dr. Edward Coryell, vice president of clinical affairs at DentaQuest, a multistate network of dental health care centers.

One example of groundbreaking dental technology, Coryell says, is an innovative method of identifying and addressing cavities early, before the structure of a tooth has been compromised. “We can hopefully treat disease at the earliest stage without waiting until it is having a devastating effect on the patient,” he says.

Chern adds that dentists, like all health care professionals, need to be empathetic, compassionate and calm.

Dr. Marc Lazare, a general and cosmetic dentist in New York City, emphasizes that dentists need to be versatile. “With patients,” he wrote in an email, “you are not only their oral health care provider, but at times you are their therapist, health educator, and the quarterback who coordinates between other dental specialists and other medical providers.”

A dentist who runs his or her own practice is not only an owner and manager but also a “staff coordinator and peacemaker,” Lazare says. Such a dentist may also be responsible for marketing and promoting a dental practice, he says.

Dentistry requires strong people skills, Lazare adds. “The challenging part of working with teeth is that they come attached to people … and each person is different,” he says. “Each patient comes with his or her own past dental history, phobias, concerns, desires, physical limitations, health issues and neuroses.”

Types of Dental Degrees and Dentists

A dentist may have a DDS, or Doctor of Dental Surgery, degree or a DMD, which is a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry or Doctor of Dental Medicine degree. These degrees are basically the same.[ 

READ: Discover the Best Health Care Jobs. ]

Dental school typically lasts four years, although an accelerated degree may take only three years to finish. A dental graduate program usually involves science coursework and a clinical curriculum.

Dr. Ronnie Myers, dean of the Touro College of Dental Medicine at New York Medical College, says the dental school curriculum typically involves an abundance of hands-on practice, in part because all dental school grads are expected to be “practice-ready” on graduation day.

“We have to teach students all the hand skills of procedures that they will be able to perform once they are licensed,” says Myers, who is also a professor of dental medicine.

According to the ADA, anyone who hopes to become a U.S. dentist must obtain a license to practice within the state where they intend to work, and every U.S. state requires that its licensed dentists pass the National Board Dental Examination.

Aspiring dentists can opt for a career in general dentistry or focus on a dental specialty, in which case they must complete a residency within that specialty. The length of a dental specialty residency depends on the specialty and the school it is affiliated with, so a specialty residency can range from two years to six.

Dr. Shahira Saad, a general dentist in Los Angeles, says prospective dental students who intend to specialize should investigate dental schools’ residency placement rates. “Some dental schools are known to have a higher match rate than others and therefore a higher percentage of students that historically get accepted into residency,” she wrote in an email.

The ADA recognizes 10 dental specialties:

  • Dental anesthesiology, which focuses on pain mitigation and overall patient well-being during dental procedures.
  • Dental public health, which is about optimizing the dental health of a community.
  • Endodontics, which focuses on the pulp within teeth and often involves root canals.
  • Oral and maxillofacial pathology, which centers on the diagnosis of mouth diseases using various techniques such as microscopic examinations.
  • Oral and maxillofacial radiology, which involves the use of data and imaging technologies like X-rays to identify injuries and illnesses.
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgery, which entails performing operations in and around the mouth.
  • Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, which focuses on the prevention and correction of misaligned teeth and jaws.
  • Pediatric dentistry, which centers on the dental needs of infants and children.
  • Periodontics, which involves addressing gum problems.
  • Prosthedontics, which involves the creation of dentures and providing other treatments to address missing or deficient teeth.

Dental school grads embarking on a career in general dentistry sometimes pursue a general dentistry residency, which in some cases is mandatory. In the state of New York, for example, new dental school grads must spend at least one year as residents in order to qualify for a license to practice dentistry independently.

Dr. Samuel Low, chief dental officer and vice president of dental and clinical affairs for BIOLASE, a medical device company, says general practice dentistry residencies are becoming increasingly popular.

Dental school grads sometimes want to supplement their school lessons with “in-depth training” on how to perform certain types of procedures, treat a particular health condition or use a specific type of technology, Low says. For example, he says, many dental school grads are intrigued by the idea of learning and mastering laser dentistry.

“Unfortunately, not all dental schools can afford new dental technology to train their students,” Low wrote in an email. “In response, many dental graduates are turning to postgraduate education, such as residencies, specialty training or continuing education courses to grow their knowledge in cutting edge dental technology.”

Aspiring dentists should conduct a cost-benefit analysis when deciding whether to specialize, Low says.

“When considering pursuing a specialty in dentistry, there are two factors aspiring dentists must consider: how much will student debt increase and the additional three years spent in a program without the opportunity to earn money,” he wrote. “However, there is a significant increase in earnings as a dental specialist compared to a general dental practitioner, which is why many aspiring dentists decide to pursue specialty training.”

How to Decide If Dental School Makes Sense

Dr. Krysta Manning, owner of Solstice Dental & Aesthetics practice in Louisville, Kentucky, says dental training is a “marathon, not a sprint,” so dental school hopefuls need to understand the time commitment.

“Dental school is a four-year commitment, during which you’re going to be expected to spend nearly 40 hours a week in classes and clinics in addition to the time needed to study for exams,” Manning wrote in an email. “Due to the time commitment, it is difficult to hold down additional jobs to supplement living expenses. Therefore, most students require loans not only for tuition, but also for living expenses.”

The median amount of dental school debt among dental school grads in the class of 2018 who had taken out student loans to finance their education was $280,410, according to the ADEA.

Although the cost and time involved in dental training can be intimidating, the profession can be personally fulfilling and financially rewarding, Low says.

“Though it is a serious investment financially and timewise, the rewards of being a dental health professional are extensive,” Low wrote in an email. “Caring for patients is extremely rewarding, and there is financial security that comes with being a practicing dental health professional.”

U.S. News Global Universities Ranking: Clinical Medicine 2022

Explore the full list of medical schools on the U.S. News website.

World University Rankings 2022 by subject: clinical, pre-clinical and health

  • University of Oxford, UK
  • Harvard University, US
  • Imperial College London, UK
  • University of Cambridge, UK
  • University of Toronto, Canada
  • Stanford University, US
  • Tsinghua University, China
  • UCL, UK
  • Johns Hopkins University, US
  • Yale University, US

You can find the full ranking on Times Higher Education.

QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021: Medicine

  • Harvard University, US
  • University of Oxford, UK
  • Stanford University, US
  • University of Cambridge, UK
  • Johns Hopkins University, US
  • Karolinska Institute, Sweden
  • University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), US
  • Yale University, US
  • UCL, UK
  • Imperial College London, UK

For the complete list of top medical universities, visit

Female doctor working in a laboratory

ShanghaiRanking’s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2021: Clinical Medicine

View the other ranked medical schools on

Academic Influence Public Health Rankings – Real-time objective rankings

Created by a team of academics and data scientists, The Academic Influence Rankings collected text documents and structured data to determine how often disciplines and universities were referenced on the web. Here is the top 10 list with universities offering Public Health degrees:

The complete list of medical schools is available on

If you want to study from the comfort of your home, check out online Bachelors and Masters in Medicine & Health.

Here are other medical schools we recommend:

Find Bachelors in Medicine abroad

Student reviews of the best medical schools in the world

Here are a few impressions from students who attended some of the best medical schools mentioned above:

Cambridge University graduate

“I’m loving my study experience at Cambridge because it’s a highly intellectually stimulating environment with so many opportunities to take advantage of during your studies.

I’ve met some wonderful people (that I know will be my friends for life) and have had the chance to do so many things that I wouldn’t have otherwise, all while receiving top quality teaching and mentoring.”

University of Vienna graduate

“University of Vienna is one of the oldest universities in Europe with a beautiful as well as historic main building and many campuses all around the city of Vienna. Studying in the University of Vienna was an enriching experience, as the city of Vienna is home to many students and offers diverse opportunities for them.

As a student at the University of Vienna, you are expected to be self-sufficient and self-disciplined as there are a lot of students who are admitted into programs, but only a few actually manage to finish the programs.”

University of Toronto graduate

“This is an amazing school and it has an amazing environment with great people. The city is especially nice because the school is located in the heart of downtown. Although it could be really cold during the wintertime, the campus is really nice and there are lots of supports for the students from the university.”

Karolinska Institute graduate

“It has been a great experience; I had the opportunity to work with new techniques on genetics and it has been amusing and a future great point on the CV. The lab environment was nice, although I had my problems with communication, as it was my very first exchange and immersion in English.

Even though I needed to do the internship in order to get my degree, I got paid through a scholarship from the lab. I also got a semester of free Swedish lectures. If you are interested in Sweden and in the field of Biomedics/Biochemistry, I definitely recommend going there!! (Not to the University of Gothenburg) Good luck! :)”

University of Edinburgh graduate

“Friendly environment, excellent teachers, the courses really help master students think critically and independently. My programme requires a lot of reading, review and analysing of literatures and data. As well as doing research, the ability related to this increased greatly.”

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