A dentist is an independent health care provider who examines, diagnoses, treats, and manages diseases and disorders of the teeth, gums, jaw, and mouth. Dentists are involved in disease prevention as well as treatment and restoration of structures in the mouth. Dentists may be generalists or may become specialized through further training in residencies or fellowships.
The pre-dentistry curriculum includes basic required courses, but students should contact the individual professional dental school about requirements specific to that school. Students should consult with advisors to help plan a course of study that complies with the requirements for admission to the schools of dentistry of the student’s choice.
In general, schools of dentistry will require coursework (usually one year each) in biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, and mathematics; these should be courses for majors rather than survey courses intended for non-majors. In addition, some schools of dentistry may require additional coursework in biochemistry, genetics, physiology, and statistics, along with coursework in English, humanities, and the social sciences. A pre-dentistry student at USD may use the suggested curriculum for the pre-medicine program as a guide in completing dentistry prerequisites.
Generally, schools of dentistry require at least 90 semester hours of pre-dentistry coursework and students are encouraged to obtain the Bachelor’s degree. The student is free to major in any area of interest. Admission to a school of dentistry is based upon such qualities as academic preparation, scores on the Dental Admission Test (DAT), character and general fitness for the field of dentistry. Students may apply to many of the dental schools by filing an ADEA Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (ADEA AADSAS) application.
For more information about dentistry contact: American Dental Education Association (http://www.adea.org); Academic & Career Center, 677-5381; Dept. of Dental Hygiene, 677-5378, Health Professions Advisors, 605-658-6326 or 658-6334, Pre-Med Advisor, 605-658-6328 or by visiting the following web site: http://www.usd.edu/admissions.