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Dentistry (D.D.S/D.M.D)

Dentistry (D.D.S., D.M.D.)

Dentists are highly skilled health professionals who provide a wide range of oral health care that includes the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of problems associated with the hard and soft tissues of the mouth. They examine the teeth, mouth, and associated tissues, diagnose and treat diseases, restore defective teeth and tissue, and replace missing teeth. Eighty percent of practicing dentists are engaged in general practice. The remainder specializes in one of nine areas, including orthodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, endodontic, periodontics, pediatric dentistry, prosthodontics, oral and maxillofacial pathology, dental public health, and oral and maxillofacial radiology.

What is the difference between a DDS and a DMD?

The DMD and the DDS are the exact same degree! The DMD is a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree, and the DDS is a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree.

In 1867, the Harvard Dental School was founded. As Harvard grants all degrees in Latin, they needed to find a suitable Latin name for their dental degree. The Latin translation of Doctor of Dental Surgery, Chirurgiae Dentium Doctoris, did not share the DDS acronym. Harvard authorities decided to modify the current medical degree, Medicinae Doctoris, resulting in Doctoris Medicinae Dentariae, or DMD. Today, this degree is often called a Doctor of Dental Medicine.

Since that time, all subsequent dental schools have had the option to choose whether to grant a DMD or DDS degree.

Both degrees receive the exact same clinical training.

 For assistance on how to request a committee letter, visit our Committee Letter Request page!

Dentistry Prerequisites

NOTE: Specific prerequisite courses can vary by school--always double-check the website of each dentistry school you are applying to for specific requirements. Please review the CSUSB Catalog as a guide to completing the CSUSB prerequisites.

Required Common Prerequisites

Prerequisites  CSUSB Courses


One year or two semesters of general chemistry with lab

One year or two semesters of organic chemistry with lab


CHEM 2100,  2100L & CHEM 2200,  2200L

CHEM 2400, 2400L & CHEM 2500, 2500L 


One year or two semesters of general biology with lab


BIOL 2010 & BIOL 2020 (the lab is included)


One year or two semesters of physics with lab


PHYS 2500 & 2500L and PHYS 2510 & 2510L

English Composition:

One year or two semesters of English composition

ENG 1050A & ENG 1060A

Recommended Coursework


This course may be required at some institutions. One semester, lab recommended but not required (CHEM 4100 & 4100L).

Anatomy and Physiology: 

It must include a lecture and a lab component. These courses can be separated into one semester of anatomy and one semester of physiology or taken as a year-long series of Anatomy and Physiology I and II (BIOL 2230 and BIOL 2240).


Must include a lecture and lab component (BIOL 2200 or BIOL 3200).


Most dental schools recommend one or more semesters of Calculus (MATH 2210). Be aware that at CSUSB, students must take MATH 1401 before MATH 2210. Some dental schools may count MATH 1401 as a semester of calculus but consult with your desired program for details.


Most dental schools would prefer to see at least a year of Spanish (SPAN 1111 and SPAN 1112).

Explore Dentistry

Although residency (additional training after graduation from dental school) is not required for dentists, there are many specialties within the field of dentistry. Some of these specialties include:

Orthodontics: A dental specialty focused on aligning your bite and straightening your teeth. You might need to see an orthodontist if you have crooked, overlapped, twisted or gapped teeth. Common orthodontic treatments include traditional braces, clear aligners, and removable retainers.

Endodontics: Endodontists diagnose tooth pain and perform procedures relating to the inside of your teeth. This includes root canals, dental implants, and more.

Periodontics: The field of periodontics treats conditions that affect the tissues “around your teeth,” such as bone loss, gum recession, and periodontal (gum) disease.

Pediatric Dentistry: ​Pediatric dentists are dedicated to the oral health of children from infancy through the teen years. They have the experience and qualifications to care for a child's teeth, gums, and mouth throughout the various stages of childhood.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery: Oral and maxillofacial surgery, or OMFS for short, is a subspecialty of dentistry that focuses on the surgical management of the face, jaw, and oral cavity. When most people think of OMFS, the first things that come to mind are wisdom teeth extractions and dental implants.


Gain Pre-Dental Experience!

Loma Linda University Summer Programs

USC Dental Explorers Program


Additional Exploratory Resources: 

American Dental Education Association

US Schools of Dentistry

American Dental Association

American Student Dental Association

American Student Dental Association Resources

ONET Online

Learn About the Application Process

The American Dental Education Association application service (ADEA AADSAS) is the centralized application service for most U.S. and Canadian dental schools. Click here to learn more about the application.

Early May: ADEA AADSAS application and the ADEA AADSAS Fee Assistance Program (FAP) paperless opens.

May 30: First day to submit your 2023-24 ADEA AADSAS application.

Aug. 14 – Sept. 29: Academic Update period (1st academic period)

Dec. 1 – Feb. 2: Academic Update period (2nd academic period)

Dec. 15: The dental school acceptance notification date

Feb. 2: ADEA AADSAS closes

Feb. 9: Last day to submit all official documents to ADEA AADSAS


What is the DAT

The Dental Admissions Test (DAT) is a multiple-choice standardized test taken by potential dental school students in the United States before applying to dental school. The DAT is a computer-based test that can be administered almost any day of the year and is scored on a scale of 1-30. 


The content on the DAT is broken down into four test sections that comprise the exam:

The Survey of Natural Sciences

The Reading Comprehension Section

The Perceptual Ability Test

The Quantitative Reasoning Section


What's a good DAT score?

Class Statistics: GPA, Gender, Race/Ethnicity

The website below can be used to find statistics for American Dental schools, organized by state. This information helps to visualize where you stand and what you can do to become a competitive candidate.