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The cost of dental school in 2024 varies depending on the specific program and the institution. Here are some examples of the costs for the 2023-2024 academic year:

  • University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine: The total educational expense budget for the standalone DScD program is $105,142, and for the Orthodontic Program, it is $155,110 per year.
  • Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine: The tuition for the DMD program ranges from $91,500 to $94,160 per year, depending on the specific year or track.
  • University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston: The non-resident tuition for the DDS program is $54,534 per year for the 2023-2024 academic year.
  • University of New England: The tuition for the traditional 4-year track of the Doctor of Dental Medicine program is $73,070 per year, and for the AST 3-year track, it is $94,160 per year.

It’s important to note that these are just a few examples, and the cost of dental school can vary significantly between different institutions and programs. Additionally, the costs are often subject to change, so it’s advisable to consult the specific school or program for the most up-to-date information, but at this time, the average cost of a 4-year dental education in the United States is about a half a million dollars.


Becoming a family dentist typically takes around 8 years of education after high school. Here’s a detailed breakdown:

  1. Undergraduate Education (4 years): A bachelor’s degree is usually required for admission to dental school. During undergraduate studies, aspiring dentists complete pre-dental coursework, which typically includes biology, chemistry, and other science-related courses. Some dental schools may also require courses in English composition and additional upper-level biology courses.
  2. Dental School (4 years): Upon completion of a bachelor’s degree, students must attend dental school, which is a 4-year program. The first two years usually cover basic sciences, while the last two years focus on clinical work and diagnosing oral disease.
  3. Licensing and Specialization (Optional): After graduating from dental school, individuals must obtain a license to practice. Some dentists choose to pursue a specialization, such as family dentistry, which requires additional post-graduate training.

In summary, the path to becoming a family dentist involves 4 years of undergraduate education, 4 years of dental school, and optional post-graduate training for specialization. The entire process typically takes around 8-years.The admissions process for dental school involves completing the ADEA AADSAS application, which includes submitting official transcripts and typically takes about four to six weeks to process. Additionally, applicants must take the Dental Admission Test (DAT) and meet the specific academic requirements, such as a minimum GPA and completion of prerequisite courses. It’s important to note that the timeline and specific requirements may vary slightly by institution, so it’s advisable to consult the admissions requirements of the individual dental schools you are interested in.

Becoming a dentist is a rewarding career path that requires extensive education and training. Dentists are medical professionals who oversee all aspects of a person’s oral hygiene. They’re responsible for monitoring and treating any dental issues that may arise throughout a patient’s everyday life, such as cavities, infections, diseases, and cosmetic problems. Dentists can also specialize in a specific area of dentistry, such as orthodontics, endodontics, pediatrics, prosthodontics, anesthesia, or oral and maxillofacial surgery.

To become a dentist, you need to follow these steps:

  • Earn a bachelor’s degree. Dental schools require applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree, usually in a science-related field. Courses in chemistry, physics, biology, and anatomy can be especially helpful, as you may use concepts from these disciplines in your career. Some students join a dental mentorship or dental school preparation program to establish foundational knowledge in the field.
  • Take the Dental Admission Test (DAT). This is a multiple-choice assessment that measures your academic ability, scientific knowledge, spatial reasoning, and reading comprehension. Scores range from 1 to 30, with 19 as the national average. You need to take the DAT before applying to dental school.
  • Earn a dental degree. You need to apply to and enroll in an accredited dental school, where you will earn either a Doctorate of Dental Medicine (DMD) or a Doctorate of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree. The course usually takes four years, and it includes both classroom study and clinical experience. You will learn about the anatomy, physiology, pathology, and pharmacology of the oral cavity, as well as how to perform various dental procedures and use different dental instruments and materials.
  • Become licensed. To practice dentistry in the U.S., you need to obtain a license from the state board of dentistry in the state where you want to work. Although requirements vary from state to state, all dental licensure applicants must meet three basic requirements: educational, written examination, and clinical examination. The written examination is usually the National Board Dental Examination (NBDE), which tests your knowledge of basic and clinical sciences. The clinical examination is usually a regional or state-specific test that evaluates your practical skills and judgment in performing dental tasks on patients or mannequins.
  • Choose a specialization. If you want to focus on a particular area of dentistry, you need to complete additional training after earning your dental degree. Depending on the specialty, this can take two to six years. You may also need to pass a specialty board examination to become certified in your chosen field. Some of the common dental specialties are:
    • Orthodontics: the treatment of irregularities in the teeth and jaws, such as by applying braces and other devices.
    • Endodontics: the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and injuries of the dental pulp and nerves, such as by performing root canal therapy.
    • Pediatrics: the care of children’s oral health, from infancy to adolescence, including preventive and restorative services, as well as behavior management and sedation techniques.
    • Prosthodontics: the restoration and replacement of missing or damaged teeth and oral structures, such as by using crowns, bridges, implants, dentures, and veneers.
    • Anesthesia: A field of dentistry which encompasses advanced anesthesia techniques such as intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Such training occurs within the hospital setting under programs run by or similar to anesthesia training programs that MD anesthesiologists attain.
    • Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery: A highly specialized field of dentistry that bridges the gap between medicine and dentistry which focuses on surgery of the oral cavity, face, head, and neck. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons also become anesthesiologists as part of their training. Some of the procedures they perform are dental implants, extraction of wisdom teeth, complex extractions, bone grafts, sinus lifts, jaw fractures, facial trauma and reconstruction, cosmetic facial surgery, TMJ surgery, and cleft palate surgery among many others. It is considered to be a top specialty within dentistry, and requires an additional 4-6 years of training in a hospital setting AFTER dental school. Only the top 1-3% of dental students are accepted to oral and maxillofacial surgery training programs.
  • Apply for positions. Once you have completed your education and training, you can look for employment opportunities in various settings, such as private practices, hospitals, clinics, schools, or public health agencies. You may also choose to start your own practice or join a group practice with other dentists. You will need to maintain your license and certification by fulfilling the continuing education requirements of your state and specialty.

This article describes how to become a family dentist. Click here to learn about becoming an oral surgeon.