When it comes time to choose a dentist, there are a lot of factors to think about. You're probably already considering the: Location, Office environment, Patient experience, Technology offered, Pricing, and Reputation. Should the letters behind the name add yet another element to consider in the process of picking the right dentist? Fortunately for you, the answer is "No."
You have probably noticed that dentists' names are usually followed by the letters DDS or DMD. DDS, which stands for Doctor of Dental Surgery and DMD, Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry or Doctor of Dental Medicine, are actually the exact same degrees. They both mean that your dentist graduated from an accredited University. It's at the discretion of these schools what exactly they call the degree when awarded, however, the ADA (American Dental Association) recognizes each of them equally. They have very similar coursework, standards and requirements and neither is favored over the other.
In order to receive either of these titles, a dentist must complete three or more years of undergraduate work and four years of dental school. During these years, the types of care and some of the procedures they will be trained to provide include:
- Preventative Dentistry - Cleanings, xrays, oral cancer examinations and checkups and exams
- Restorative Dentistry - Cavities, root canals, crowns, bridges, dentures, treatment for gum disease and oral surgeries like tooth extraction
- Cosmetic Dentistry - Veneers, bonding, tooth and smile shaping, and whitening
Once receiving a degree, a rigorous written exam as well as state or regional clinical licensing is required in order to be able to practice dentistry.
At this point, many dentists choose to go into private practice. Others complete a residency in a hospital, and still others choose to pursue post-doctoral education to become a specialist. In this blog, we've already spotlighted several dental specialties, like pedodontist, periodontist, and orthodontist. Check back with us soon for detailed information on even more of the nine recognized dental specialties.
There are many factors that are important when finding the right dentist to meet your oral health care needs. But, whether or not your dentist is a DDS or DMD should have no impact on your decision or their ability to provide you with the best dental care possible.