Dentists are doctors, scientists, and clinicians who provide a wide range of oral health care services and contribute to the general health and well-being of their patients. They often identify health conditions, illnesses, and other problems that are sometimes evident in the oral cavity before they are identified in other parts of the body.

The professional degrees associated with Dentistry are the D.D.S. (Doctor of Dental Surgery) and the D.M.D. (Doctor of Dental Medicine). These degrees are the same, with students receiving the same education under a curriculum approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) of the American Dental Association (ADA). The dental school that issues the degree decides which degree type to award to its graduates.

Some dental schools may have other graduate degrees available for students to earn in combination with their degree in dentistry, including (but not limited to): Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Master of Science (M.S.), Master of Public Health (M.P.H.),  or Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.).

Although approximately 80% of all dentists practice general dentistry, some will go on to complete further training in a dental specialty.

Related Allied Health professions include Dental Hygienist. For more information about this and other Allied Health professions, contact our campus partners in the Office for Academic and Pre-Professional Advising.

You can learn more about this health profession at ADEA GoDental and

Additional Resources

Professional associations, professional education associations, and affinity groups provide news, professional development, and community. This list is not exhaustive but instead provides some examples of organizations that may be of interest to pre-professional students. UMBC does not guarantee, approve, or endorse the information or products available on these sites.

American Dental Education Association:

American Dental Association:

American Student Dental Association:

Pre-Health Dreamers  (organization for DACA-status students):

National Dental Association

American Dental Association

Hispanic Dental Association:

Student National Dental Association (minority dental students):

American Association of Women Dentists: