DMD vs DDS Degree: Differences, Similarities, Degrees, Salaries

Dentistry students either graduate with a DMD or a DDS. If you’re an intending dentist, read on to know about DMD vs DDS degree: differences, similarities, and salaries. 

Scholarship has detailed everything you need to know about DMD vs DDS degree, the difference, the similarities, salaries of a DDS/DMD holder, the cost of getting a DDS vs DMD, admission requirements For DMD Programs, and the schools that offer the best dentistry programs in the world.

DMD vs DDS degree

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What is DDS?

DDS stands for Doctor of Dental Surgery.

DDS is the terminal degree in the study of dentistry. It gives comprehensive knowledge in every area of dentistry. Also, it includes learning about oral and facial structures.

Every dentist in the US needs to complete this level of study to be licensed to practice.

After this degree, you can choose to go for a residency that lasts for about 1 to 3 years to be able to work with medical doctors and perform major dental surgeries.

This may just be your best option in finding a dentist’s school. 

What Does DMD Mean?

DMD is the short form for Doctor of Dental Medicine.

To get this degree, the student must have completed 3 or 4 years of undergraduate studies, and a 4-year dental school to graduate with a DMD.

Also, the Doctor of Dental Medicine degree program is designed to prepare students to practice dentistry with adequate knowledge and skills that the field requires.

In addition, the students get to learn biological sciences, strong clinical skills, and the role of the dentist as a health professional and leader.

DMD vs DDS: What Are The Similarities?

Presently, dentist students either graduate with a DMD or a DDS attached to their names.

While the titles may sound different, the American Dental Association (ADA) explains that they refer to the same degree.

Some universities award dental graduates with a DDS, while others award a DMD. Both degrees have the same curriculum requirements.

Both degrees are the same in coursework and knowledge acquired.

DMD vs DDS: What Are The Differences?

There’s not much difference between a DMD and DDS. The main difference between them is the name. Otherwise, DDS and DMD functionally mean the same thing.

The difference between a DDS and DMD dentist is the title their school chose for the degree program. The coursework and training are the same. 

So, if they both mean the same thing, why are there two names for the same degree?

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The reason is documented by the Oregon Health and Science University (OSHU). In 1893, the Baltimore College of Medicine started granting the first Doctors of Dental Surgery (DDS) degrees. A short time later, Harvard University started its dental school.

Harvard then decided to rename the degree a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD). This disagreement in naming is why there are two names for the same degree.

Since Harvard’s first use in 1867, many institutions have adopted the DMD degree as well. Currently, OSHU reports that more than one-third of American dental schools issue DMD degrees.

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What Are The Salaries Of A DDS/DMD Holder?

We must note that most dentists who have either a DDS or DMD degree are general dentists. Also, they are self-employed.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 19% job growth for dentists in general practice for the 2018-2026 period. This job growth will be enhanced by the demand for increasingly complex dental services to an aging population.

The BLS reported 2019 median annual wages of $155,600 for general dentists.

Payscale says that the average salary for a DDS holder is $142,000 annually.

How To Get A Dental Degree In 2023?

Badging a DDS vs DMD degree typically requires the same thing.

To get this dental degree in 2023, you need the following;

  • Three or more years of undergraduate education
  • Four years of dental school
  • Pass both a national written exam and a state or regional clinical licensing exam

How Much Does It Cost To Get A DDS vs DMD?

The cost of getting the DDS vs DMD is high. According to Iowa University, the school estimates $98,324 for international students.

Iowa residents and nonresidents pay an estimate of $78,996 and $103,216 respectively.

This annual fee decreases each year, dropping to $5,200 in the second year. The third year pays $3,900 while the fourth year pays $1,325.

So, over four years, a dental student can expect to pay from $151,508 (in-state, public school) to $268,348 (private school) and above. However, they offer scholarships and loans for students.

What Are DDS And DMD Holders Trained To Do?

Doctors of Dental Surgery and Doctors of Dental Medicine are trained in many procedures. They perform different functions in the dental world.

They include the following dental procedures:

  • Diagnosing oral diseases
  • Treating oral diseases
  • Promoting oral health
  • Disease prevention
  • X-ray and diagnostic testing and analysis
  • Administering and monitoring anesthetics
  • Filling cavities
  • Performing oral surgery on the teeth, bone, and soft tissues of the oral cavity
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The DDS and DMD only make you a general dentist. To specialize, you need extra training. Some of the dental specialist courses that require post-graduate training includes an orthodontist, periodontist, or oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

What Are The Admission Requirements For DMD Programs?

A scholarship took a cue from the University of British Columbia, having established that the curriculum is the same as other US universities, 

Although many schools have different requirements, this is the generally accepted one from ADA.

Typically, international students and students whose native language is not English who wish to enroll in a US-based DMD program often need to complete specific examinations to showcase their English language proficiency.

These include the following tests:

  • TOEFL. The minimum TOEFL score required is 580 paper-based or 93 internet-based. The original test score
  • IELTS.  A minimum overall band score of 7.0 is required with a minimum score of 6.5 in each component

Supporting Documents For DMD Programs

Intending students are to submit the following supporting documents with their application forms:

  • Submit a personal statement detailing why you wish to pursue a career as a dentist.
  • Official transcripts
  • 2 Reference letters
  • Grade Point Average of 70% or 2.8 on a 4.0 grading scale
  • Undergraduate certificate
  • Complete the required (prerequisite) courses 
  • DAT exam result

It is however necessary to know that these documents are specific to the stated school. Although most of them may be general to many schools, there may be other requirements for you. So, contact your intended school for their specific needs.

Education After A DDS Or DMD Degree

Most dentists choose to specialize in many areas of dentistry after earning a DDS or DMD degree. It can require as much as six years of additional education to become a specialist.

The ADA explains that there are nine dental specialties:

  • Dental public health
  • Endodontics
  • Oral and maxillofacial pathology
  • Oral and maxillofacial radiology
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgery
  • Prosthodontics
  • Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics
  • Periodontics

These are medical professionals, so their qualifications, whether a DDS or a DMD is not necessary.

Which Schools Offer The Best Dentistry Programs In The World?

According to the QS World ranking, these schools made it to the top 10 best dental schools in the world.

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They include but are not limited to these;

  • King’s College London (KCL)
  • Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA)
  • University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
  • University of Hong Kong (HKU)
  • The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)
  • Harvard University
  • University of Gothenburg
  • Tokyo Medical and Dental University
  • University of Bern
  • Karolinska Institute

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If you’re an intending dentist who wants to attend a dental school but does not understand the type of degree that is better than the other, this post will get you clarified.

You’ll be knowledgeable on everything there is to know about DMD vs DDS degree

FAQs On DMD vs DDS: Differences, Similarities, Degrees, Salaries

What Is DMD vs DDS?

DDS stands for Doctor of Dental Surgery and DMD stands for Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry.

Is DMD better than DDS?

The answer is actually very simple: there is no difference! They are exactly the same degree. Whether a dentist holds a DMD or a DDS degree, they have received the same training. The curriculum for learning is exactly the same.

What is the difference between a DDS and a DMD?

They both mean the same thing. Also, it shows that the dentist graduated from an accredited dental school. The DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) and DMD (Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry or Doctor of Dental Medicine) are the same degrees. Dentists who have a DMD or DDS have the same education

Can a DDS perform oral surgery?

Dentists that have studied dentistry along with practical training can perform some minor oral surgery. But basically, their work typically involves dental care such as oral exams, professional teeth cleanings, fillings, crowns, sealants, root canals, and overall gum care

Who Can Enroll For a DDS Or DMD?

To enroll, you must have completed your undergraduate degree in dentistry to be able to enroll and study. A DDS or DMD degree is obtained after attending dental school.

How long does It take to complete a DDS vs DMD Program?

It takes about 4 years to complete. This is because DMD and DDS programs are postgraduate studies that you get after attending dental school.


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