Preparing for Dental School
Are you interested in applying to a Dental School?
If you are considering a career in dentistry, schedule an appointment with the MPI Pre-Health Advisor. By doing so you can develop a plan specific to you and clarify any doubts pertaining to dental school. Do your homework before you have your advising appointment, and gather as much reliable information as possible.
If you do not know where to start, browse through some of these resources:
As an undergraduate, you are required to take all the pre-requisite courses before applying to the desired program (usually during your junior year). The application process takes from 12-15 month although you should ideally have all the requirements fulfilled when the process starts (E.g. taken most pre-requisite courses, letter of recommendations, clinical exposure, DAT scores, etc.).
Once accepted into a Predoctoral Dental Education Program you are eligible to receive a Doctor or Dental Medicine (DMD) degree or a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree. Both degrees are essentially the same it just depends on which of these the dental school awards.
We recommend for you to explore the ADEA website to obtain more detailed information, also visit the ADEA: Timeline to Apply to see how an undergraduate timeline looks like.
Pursuing a Career in Dentistry:
According to the American Dental Society, choosing a dental career can become a rewarding health care profession with a competitive salary and a sustainable work-life balance.
A dentist is a health professional that:
- Diagnoses and treats injuries, diseases and malformations of the teeth and mouth
- Improve patient’s oral appearance
- Perform surgical procedures
- Educate patients in oral hygiene and proper teeth care
Dentists not only work in the private sector but also work at public health agencies, hospitals, the military, and other different settings. If you want additional information, look at the ADA: What can a career in Dentistry offer you?
Currently, in Texas there are four dental schools:
- Texas A&M College of Dentistry
- Texas Tech University Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine
- The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston
- UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry
Out of these schools, UTEP collaborates with UTSD-Houston to offer the Dental Early Acceptance Programs. To obtain more information and to see if you qualify, schedule an appointment with Dr. Arnold.
Up to this date, ten dentistry specialties required additional training after obtaining a DDS or DMD. Remember you MUST be a general dentist BEFORE you can become a specialist and you must be top of the class to get accepted for residency training in a specialty.
The specialties are:
- Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
- Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
- Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
- Oral Maxillofacial Surgery
- Pediatric Dentistry
- Dental Anesthesiology
- Dental Public Health
To view a more detailed description of each specialty visit the NCRDSCB website.
✓ Establish successful study practices; remember you want to maintain your GPA as high as possible.
✓ Start looking for community involvement in dental education programs see PDS, volunteer opportunities and student organizations that will provide you enriching activities that can help you develop leadership, teamwork, and communication skills.
✓ Make sure you start establishing relationships with your science and non-science professors as soon as possible, let them know that you are an aspiring dental school applicant. (Remember you will need several letters of recommendations.)
✓ Professional shadowing is a STRICT requirement for dental school application, it is critical for students to complete as many shadowing hours possible. As an aspiring dental school applicant, one of your letter of recommendations MUST come from a dentist.
✓ Get familiarized with the Dental Admission Test (DAT) – what it is, subject areas, test dates, and relevant courses for more information visit the ADA web page. Below you will find the general pre-requisite courses needed, the courses mentioned are relevant to the DAT - we highly recommend that they be taken PRIOR to taking the exam.
All pre-requisite courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or better.
Keep in mind that pre-calculus MATH 1508 is requisite to take any science course at UTEP.
14 semester hours of Biology, to satisfy these hours here at UTEP you can take the following courses: General Biology w/ lab BIOL 1305/1107, Organismal Biology w/ lab BIOL 1306/1108, Genetics BIOL 3320, Molecular Cell Biology w/ lab BIOL 3314/3115, and General Microbiology MICR 2340/2141, Vertebrate Physiology ZOOL 4380, Mammalian Physiology BIOL 4388, and Vertebrate Physiology Methods ZOOL 4181
19 semester hours of Chemistry, to satisfy these hours here at UTEP you can take the following courses: General Chemistry I w/ lab CHEM 1305/1105, General Chemistry II w/ lab CHEM 1306/1106, Organic Chemistry I w/ lab CHEM 2324/2124 or CHEM 2321/[2124 or 2221], Organic Chemistry II w/ lab CHEM 2325/2222, Biochemistry CHEM 3330
8 semester hours of Physics, to satisfy these hours here at UTEP you can take the following courses: General Physics I PHYS 1403 and General Physics II PHYS 1404
6 semester hours of English, to satisfy these hours here at UTEP you can take the following courses: Rhetoric and Composition 1 RWS 1301 and Rhetoric and Composition 2 RWS 1302
3 semester hours of Statistics, to satisfy these hours here at UTEP you can take the following courses: Elementary Statistical Methods STAT 2480
*** It is important to identify what dental schools you are interested to apply – if outside of Texas, the pre-requisite courses may vary.