According to the American Dental Association, dentists “diagnose and treat diseases, injuries and malformations of the teeth and mouth, improve a patient’s appearance, perform surgical procedures such as implants, tissue grafts and extractions, educate patients on how to better care for their teeth and prevent oral disease, teach future dentists and dental hygienists, and perform research directed to improving oral health and developing new treatment methods.”
|Required and Recommended Courses||Mason Courses|
|Biology, 2 semesters||BIOL 213/Cell Biology
|Anatomy & Physiology (strongly recommended)||BIOL 430 and BIOL 431|
|Biochemistry, 1 semester||BIOL 483 or CHEM 483|
|General Chemistry, 2 semesters with labs||CHEM 211 and CHEM 213
CHEM 212 and CHEM 214
|Organic Chemistry, 2 semesters with labs||CHEM 313 and CHEM 315
CHEM 314 and CHEM 318
|College Physics 2 semesters with labs||PHYS 243 and PHYS 244
PHYS 245 and PHYS 246
|English 2 semesters||ENGH 101 and ENGH 302
|Statistics (strongly recommended)||BIOL 214 or STAT 250|
|Psychology, 1 semester (strongly recommended)||PSYC 100, Basic Concepts in Psychology|
|Sociology, 1 Semester (strongly recommended)||SOCI 101, Introductory Sociology|
Required and recommended coursework can vary by school. Strongly recommended courses include 300 level and above biology courses such as Anatomy & Physiology, Histology, Immunology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology and Zoology.
Many dental schools continue to require Organic Chemistry II (CHEM 314/318).
Some schools require college math and others require one or two semesters of calculus or one semester of calculus and one semester of statistics.
Additionally, some schools require two semesters of English. Others may require psychology and/or sociology coursework.
Schools vary as to whether they will accept Advanced Placement, community college or online coursework to meet prerequisites.
Applicants are encouraged to research the specific requirements for the schools they are considering. Information regarding each dental school can be found in the ADEA Official Guide to Dental School available through ADEA.
CAREERS IN DENTISTRY
Information about careers in dentistry may be found at ADEA.
EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK AND EARNINGS
The current Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook for Dentists can be found online.
APPLYING TO DENTAL SCHOOL
Admission to dental school has become very competitive over the past few years. Students who feel they have realistic potential for acceptance to medical school should plan carefully to improve their chances. Some helpful guidelines are:
• Apply early (late spring) of the year before the expected year of matriculation.
• Submit application to schools that best match your strengths.
• Obtain practical clinical experience in a general dentistry setting. Some schools require 100 – 150+ hours of pre-application shadowing.
• Volunteer to work with underserved populations.
Most dental schools participate in the American Association of Dental Schools Application Services (AADSAS) which is a centralized application service. AADSAS provides uniform information about applicants in a standardized format. As a rule, students should initiate the application process approximately one year and two months prior to the expected date of entry into dental school.
STANDARDIZED TEST: DENTAL ADMISSIONS TEST (DAT)
Dental school applicants must take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) which helps evaluate an applicant’s aptitude for dentistry. The DAT is designed to assess a student’s knowledge of natural sciences, reading comprehension, quantitative reasoning, and perceptual ability. The DAT is given at Thomson Prometric Test Centers on a computer and is administered almost every day of the year. Students are encouraged to take the test at least one year prior to their anticipated entry into dental school. The DAT is a four hour and fifteen minute test.
The information contained in this information sheet should be discussed with the Health Professions Advisor. The availability of these health professions advising opportunities is announced through the HEALTHPROFESSIONS-L email listserv for Mason students.
Students must still be advised in their department regarding their major.