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How to Become a Dentist

The academic requirements for dental school are similar to those for medical school, and the chances for getting in are also comparable.  There are fewer applicants per year for dental school, but there are also fewer dental schools.

Practical experience as a technician or assistant with a dentist is very important, and a letter of recommendation from at least one dentist is desirable.   If dentistry is your first choice, you should not take the MCAT, since that will make a dental school admission committee question the singlemindedness of your motivation.

All United States dental schools require the Dental Admissions Test (DAT).  The test has four parts:  science knowledge, biology, organic and inorganic chemistry; reading comprehension; verbal and quantitative ability; and perceptualmotor ability (two and three dimensional problem solving).  You can prepare for this test using many of the same methods described for the MCAT.  The test is offered in April and August every year; you should plan to take it in April of your junior year.

Three quarters of U.S. dental schools use the American Association of Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS) to handle preliminary applications.  You may obtain an application from your Pre-Health Professions advisor or by writing:

P.O. Box 4000
Iowa City, IA 52240

Dental school admission procedures are similar to those of medical schools, and it is a four year program with extra time required for specialization.   For more information about dentistry as a career write:

American Dental Association
Council of Dental Education
211 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, ILL 60611


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