A dentist is someone who examines, diagnoses and treats conditions and diseases of the teeth, gums and related areas. They will either have a DDS or a DMD degree.

Is There a Difference Between a DDS and a DMD?

DDS is an acronym meaning “Doctor of Dental Surgery,” while DMD means “Doctor of Dental Medicine.” Both refer to the degree given by a dental school. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), there is no difference between the two, as they are both degrees earned by general dentists. People who earn a DDS follow the same curriculum as people who earn a DMD.

How Do You Earn a Degree in Dentistry?

An aspiring dentist will typically begin their education with at least three years of study at a college. They will then go to a dental school for four years, where they will earn their DDS or DMD degree. After finishing their training, the new dentist has to pass a state or regional written exam and a national written exam in order to get their licenses and be able to practice.

In order to keep their licenses, dentists must meet various continuing education requirements throughout their career and learn about the new developments in technology and techniques.

What About Orthodontists?

An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in straightening teeth. As such, they will need more training and education to practice. The same is true of other specialists, like periodontists or oral surgeons. Not only do specialists have to undergo training, they then have to obtain certification from the relevant Board, which means they have to take yet more tests.

Are There Other Types of Dental Degrees?

Yes. A dental hygienist will earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Dental Hygiene. Students of dental hygiene learn how to examine patients’ teeth and gums and work with various tools and equipment. They often study periodontology, oral radiology and pharmacology, and they often receive laboratory training.

All of the various specialists will have degrees in general dentistry. They have to have those before they can apply to a program teaching one of the specialties. An orthodontist will, therefore, have a DMD or DDS, and they will also have at least a Master of Science in Orthodontics.

General dentists have doctorates, so training to become a specialist requires a post-doctoral education. Specialists need two to four years of additional education. Some states also require dental specialists to complete a residency program lasting up to two years and to take exams.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

At the office of Dr. Brodie Bowman, DMD in Fort Walton Beach and Niceville, both Dr. Bowman, DMD and Dr. Bowman , DDS, MS are highly skilled and qualified experts when it comes to all things dental and orthodontic, with the education and certifications to boot. Contact us today to schedule your orthodontic appointment!