Dental can begin the minimum of 90 acceptable hours of college work required for entrance into dental school or medical school at Northwest.
Students should apply for admission to the dental school they plan to attend during the third year in college. The American Dental Association Dental Admission Test is normally taken during the sophomore year. The student must maintain a high quality of academic work. A graduate of the two-year curriculum is entitled to the Associate of Arts degree.
Dental schools require a minimum of 2 years of college-level dental education prior to admittance. Most dental students have at least a bachelor’s degree before entering dental school, although a few applicants are accepted to dental school after 2 or 3 years of college and complete their bachelor’s degree while attending dental school. According to the ADA, 85 percent of dental students had a bachelor’s degree prior to beginning their dental program in the 2006-07 academic year.
All dental schools require applicants to take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). When selecting students, schools consider scores earned on the DAT, applicants’ grade point averages, and information gathered through recommendations and interviews. Competition for admission to dental school is high.
Dental school usually lasts 4 academic years. Studies begin with classroom instruction and laboratory work in science, including anatomy, microbiology, biochemistry, and physiology. Beginning courses in clinical sciences, including laboratory techniques, are also completed. During the last 2 years, students treat patients, usually in dental clinics, under the supervision of licensed dentists. Most dental schools award the degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS). Others award an equivalent degree, Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD).
What can I expect from a career in Dentistry?
Dentists diagnose and treat problems with teeth and tissues in the mouth, along with giving advice and administering care to help prevent future problems. They provide instruction on diet, brushing, flossing, the use of fluorides, and other aspects of dental care. They remove tooth decay, fill cavities, examine x rays, place protective plastic sealants on children’s teeth, straighten teeth, and repair fractured teeth. They also perform corrective surgery on gums and supporting bones to treat gum diseases. Dentists extract teeth and make models and measurements for dentures to replace missing teeth. They also administer anesthetics and write prescriptions for antibiotics and other medications.
Dentists use a variety of equipment, including x-ray machines, drills, mouth mirrors, probes, forceps, brushes, and scalpels. Lasers, digital scanners, and other computer technologies also may be used. Dentists wear masks, gloves, and safety glasses to protect themselves and their patients from infectious diseases.