Dentist smiling at patient

DMD vs. DDS Degree: What's the Difference?

So, you’re at your dentist’s office for your regular checkup, and you start reading their dentistry degree posted on the wall while the dental hygienist is flossing. You notice that next to their name on the degree it says DMD, but you thought it was DDS. You try to ask your dental hygienist, but their hands are in your mouth, and it just comes out as a mumble that they nod in agreement to. But what's the difference?

A “DDS” is a Doctor of Dental Surgery whereas a DMD is a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry. Because that really clears things up, right?

Don’t worry; your dentist isn’t a fraud. There are actually several different titles within the field of dentistry, and DDS just happens to be the most common in most parts of America.

So, what's the difference between a DDS and a DMD? Well really, there is none! They are the same degree! The difference is only based on the school an individual attends in order to get their degree. It’s kind of like how we call dinner and supper two different things when they are the same essential thing.

But What is Required of Your Dentist in Order to Get Their DDS or DMD?

Generally, three or more years of undergraduate education plus four years of dental school is required to graduate and become a general dentist. Upon completion of their training, dentists must pass both a rigorous national written exam and a state or regional clinical licensing exam in order to practice. To keep their licenses, they must meet continuing education requirements for the remainder of their careers so they may stay up to date on the latest scientific and clinical developments.

Additional post-graduate training is required to become a dental specialist, such as an orthodontist, periodontist or oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

Now the Real Difference Comes With the Title of BDS

BDS is a dental degree and stands for Bachelor of Dental Surgery. It’s the exact equivalent of DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) in the US. The BDS degree is generally awarded by dental schools from Britain or other countries such as India, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, etc. The DDS degree is generally granted by dental schools in the US and many countries like Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Peru, Syria, etc. The BDS degree also takes one additional year to maintain, for a total of five years.

Unfortunately, dentistry is not as uniform as medicine where everyone who goes to a med school gets an MD degree. But no matter what degree your dentist has, they all have the same level of schooling.

Last Updated: April 12, 2019