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Education for Dentistry

October 9th, 2010

The road from high school graduation to the eventual practice of dentistry is a long one, filled with a vast array of educational and clinical experiences.  The majority of today’s dentists have completed four years of college with the attainment of a bachelor’s degree, and then entered a four year course of study in dental school.  After receiving the doctoral degree (D.D.S. or D.M.D., depending on the dental school), many dental graduates continue on with a hospital based general practice residency program.  This residency , lasting one or two years, allows for the accumulation of a vast array of clinical experience and further education.  Once the residency program is completed, the majority of today’s dentists enter into general practice.   However, education does not stop there. Most of us are very active in continuing education programs, in an effort to stay current with the latest advances in dental science and technology, so as to constantly offer our patients the best possible care.

Most general practitioners are able to treat the majority of patients, with a wide variety of dental needs, in their own offices.  However, there are instances when a patient will benefit from treatment by a specialist.  Dental specialists (oral surgeons, orthodontists, endodontists, periodontists, pedodontists, and prosthodontists) undergo further post-doctoral training after dental school and general practice residency.  This specialty education lasts from two to five years, and involves more intense research and clinical experience in the chosen field.  Your general dentist will help you to determine if referral to a specialist is indicated for your particular situation.

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