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General Blog - Is There a Difference Between DDS and DMD?

Posted on 1/27/2018 by Vladana Babcic Tal DMD
Dentist Cameo Dental Specialists IL 60305You have most likely seen the acronyms DDS and DMD after dentists' names, and you may have wondered if there is a difference. The short answer is "no." However, the reason two degree titles are awarded is due to tradition.

The History of DDS and DMD Degrees

DDS stands for Doctor of Dental Surgery, and DMD stands for Doctor of Dental Medicine. The first DDS degree was granted by the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery after its founding in 1840. The first DMD degree was awarded by Harvard School of Dental Medicine after the school was founded in 1867.

Harvard decided to award a DMD instead of DDS primarily because of their tradition to award degrees in Latin. Doctor of Dental Surgery translates to Chirurgiae Dentium Doctoris (D.D.C.), but this did not match the English acronym DDS. After some debate, it was decided that Dentariae would be added to Medicinae Doctoris, resulting in the Doctor Medicinae Dentariae or Doctor of Dental Medicine degree (DMD).

What Does This Mean Today?
Receiving a DMD or a DDS means that a dentist has graduated from an accredited dental school. Both degrees have the same requirements for students to graduate, and these requirements are set by the American Dental Associations' Commission on Dental Accreditation. There is no difference in terms of knowledge or skill that is learned from these programs.

What is Required to Earn a DMD or DDS Degree?

In order to become a dentist, a student must have received their undergraduate degree, and they must have an additional four years of dental school. During these four years, students learn about human biology, patient management, oral pathology, practice management, and other skills within the scope of general dentistry.

Once a student has graduated from a DMD or DDS program, they will need to apply for a license from a state licensing board. Licensing boards consider both degrees the same, and either will fulfill the education prerequisite to obtain a license to practice dentistry.

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