College of Science and Health > Student Resources > Office of Advising & Student Services > Pre-Health Advising > Health Careers > Dentistry
The American Dental Association describes dentistry as a branch of science devoted to maintaining oral health. General dentists (DDS or DMDs) use the latest techniques and equipment to examine the head, neck, and oral cavity to identify and diagnose oral conditions along with using specialized diagnostics to identify diseases of the teeth, gums, and supporting bones. Dentists also help restore and replace damaged teeth, perform corrective surgery, evaluate overall health of the patient, and provide instructions on oral care and preventive measure.
To become a dentist you must graduate from an accredited dental school. Typically dental school is a four year program after your bachelor’s degree. Currently there are 66 accredited dental schools within the U.S.
Students apply to dental school through a centralized application system called the American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS)Cost: AADSAS Application is $259.00 for one school + $112.00 for each additional
ADEA AADSAS Fee Assistance Program
Students interested in pursuing dental school are required to take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT).Cost: The Dental Admissions Test (DAT) costs $475.00.
DAT Fee Waiver
ADA DAT Prep Resources
Kaplan DAT ResourcesPrinceton Review DAT Resources
It is important for students to check each school's requirements carefully as some schools will require courses not listed below. For more information about a specific program, please contact the school directly.
Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville
University of Illinois at Chicago
University of Iowa
Shadowing - Where to Begin:
1. Start by asking your personal dentist if he or she would be willing to be shadowed. If not, ask if they can recommend another practitioner.
2. Call the local dental schools to see if they have alumni who would be interested in being shadowed.
3. Call around to local dental clinics.
4. Ask your friends, classmates, parent's friends, or professors if their dentist might be willing to shadow.
National Average DAT Scores: