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Dentistry as a Career

A dentist and dental hygienist working on a patient.Dentistry is the branch of the healing arts and sciences devoted to maintaining oral health. It is a dynamic health profession, offering opportunities to become a successful, highly respected member of the community.

Dental specialties:

  • Endodontists diagnose and treat injuries that are specific to the dental nerves and pulp (matter inside the tooth)
  • Oral and maxillofacial pathologists study and research the causes, processes and effects of diseases with oral manifestations
  • Oral and maxillofacial radiologists take and interpret conventional, digital, CT, MRI and allied imaging modalities of oral-facial structures and disease
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgeons provide diagnostic services and treatment for injuries, diseases and defects of the neck, head, jaw and associated structures
  • Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedists diagnose and treat problems related to irregular dental development, missing teeth and other abnormalities. 
  • Pediatric dentists treat children from birth to adolescence
  • Periodontists provide corrective surgery on gums and supporting bones to treat gum disease
  • Prosthodontists restore and replace teeth damaged by decay or lost from trauma or disease, with fixed or removable appliances constructed with newly developed dental material
  • Dental public health specialists develop policies and programs, such as health care reform, that affect the community at large

(source: Explore Health Careers - Dentist)

  • Meet with the Pre-Health Professions Advisor each semester and request to be added to the Pre-Dentistry Email List
  • Choose a degree major that you enjoy and that provides a good “back-up plan” and career path in case you change your mind about dentistry. Common majors include biology, microbiology, chemistry, and biochemistry; however, all majors will be considered IF a student completes the prerequisite courses and other admissions standards established by individual dental programs
  • Carefully check admission requirements at dental schools of most interest and take the required coursework. For more detail on requirements and recommended courses, review programs of interest at the American Dental Education Association website. Also consider purchasing the ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools which includes each school's entrance requirements (GPA, Dental Admissions Test scores, and pre-dental education), application and selection processes, dental curriculum, special programs and services, costs, and financial aid
  • Maintain a high GPA. Common admissions criteria: Undergrad GPA of 3.54 with a science GPA of 3.46, a DAT academic average score of 19.9 and total science average score of 19.8

  • Join the Pre-Dental Club at UI
  • Get significant shadowing and clinical experience and maintain a formal log (Professional Development Activities Log). Find out firsthand what the profession is like, decide if it is right for you, explore different areas of the field and in different settings, and be sure to meet clinical experience requirements of your preferred schools.
  • Develop strong relationships with faculty mentors, dental professionals, and others who will be writing letters of reference
  • Get involved in extracurricular, leadership, and volunteer activities

The application process consists of taking the Dental Admission Test (DAT), applying through the ADEA Associated American Dental Schools Application Service, submitting college transcripts and letters of reference, and participating in invited interviews. Your Pre-Health Advisor can assist you with preparing these materials and conducting mock interviews prior to meeting with admissions personnel.

Pre-Health Professions Program

Physical Address:

Vandal Success Center
Idaho Student Union Building, 3rd floor

Mailing Address:

875 Perimeter Drive MS 2436
Moscow, ID 83844-2436

Phone: 208-885-5809