DMD vs DDS: What is the difference between in both degrees?

DMD vs DDS: What is the difference between in both degrees?

December 13, 2022 0 By admin

Have you ever wondered about the difference between DMD and DSS while looking for family dental care? There are a couple of things you should know about these two dental degrees. It will also help you understand whether your closest dentist is good enough for you and your family. 

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But what is the difference between these degrees? Is one better than the other? What is the meaning behind them?  

What Is DMD?

DMD is short for Doctor of Medicine Dentistry, and it shows that the person or a dentist has a degree. In other words, DMD can also mean Doctor of Dental Medicine, the degree you get after graduating from dental school. 

If you visit your local dentist’s office, you will probably see these words on their degree or business card, which is a sign of a finished school. As simple as that. But one main thing that might seem confusing to some people is that another one gets mixed with DMD. 

Based on the ADA or American Dental Association, the first school to offer degrees in dentistry was the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery. It opened its doors in 1840. A few years later, Harvard University started the dental school program, and in 1867, the first degrees were handed out. 

The reason why that is important is that Harvard degrees were issued in Latin, and they were called Dentariae Medicinae Doctor, which translates to Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry. That is why DMD is often found on the degrees even today. 

What Is DDS?

The second version you might encounter is DDS. So, what is DDS? It is short for Doctor of Dental Surgery. It is also a form of accreditation from the university, but DMD and DDS are not the same. 

Even though both DDS and DMD degrees refer to dental students, there are a few slight differences. 

Degree Options

To better understand how things work and the differences between these terms, we will need to add one more dental degree — BDS. Being a dentist is tough. It requires a lot of dedication. 

Generally speaking, it will take around eight years to earn a dental degree. The first four years of undergraduate will be to get a BDS or bachelor’s degree and additional four years in dental school. The idea behind DMD and DDS is the same as with other types of medical schools.

Doctors can choose between an MD (Doctorate in Medicine) and a DO (Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine). And dentists will be able to choose between DMD and DDS.

The Difference

Now that we covered the basics, we should get to the burning question — what is a DMD vs DDS? If you are wondering which of these two degrees is better, the answer is they are equal. That is, both represent the same level of education. 

Whether you find a dentist with a DMD or DDS degree, they should be equally experienced, educated, and knowledgeable. At least in theory. Another thing that will be important for patients is that both degrees have the same curriculum requirements, and the school will decide which one is awarded. 

Why Are There Two Degrees

Many people are probably wondering why there are two degrees if they are worth the same. And the answer is quite simple — the reason is historical. As we mentioned earlier, the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery started issuing degrees in 1840, and other universities across the country followed closely. 

The thing all of them shared is that the degree was DDS or Doctor of Dental Surgery. For 27 years, all universities awarded DDS degrees to dental students across the country. But in 1867, Harvard was founded (later known as Harvard School of Dental Medicine), and it started giving DMD degrees. 

All degrees were in Latin, and that’s how the first DMD degree was made. As a result, all schools since 1867 had a choice to issue either one of these two degrees. Because of tradition, we still use these two terms interchangeably. So, if you are wondering about DDS vs DMD meaning, the only difference is in the name. 

Education After the Degree

While most dentists start their own practice after getting a degree, continuing education is still possible. If you are not interested in general dentistry, you can opt for orthodontics, prosthodontics, endodontics, pediatric dentistry, oral surgery, and many others. 

It is entirely up to you. You can practice dentistry after getting a second degree, and it will be based on what you specialize in.

How to Choose a Dentist

Dental admissions tests are far from easy. And whether the dentist has DMD or DSS, it will only mean that they are qualified for the job. While some people might think that one is better than the other, it is simply not true. 

Yes, DMD is the degree that was first issued at Harvard, but many other prestigious universities are using DSS or even both. For example, Columbia and UCLA both give DSS, while UPenn Dental School gives DMD degrees. No one can doubt the legitimacy of those institutions.

So, saying that one is better than the other would be untrue. Instead, you should look for other factors such as the reputation of the university the dentist attended, customer reviews, and even location and price. 

All of these factors will give you a clear idea of how to find the best dentist, and thinking, “what degree do dentists have” will only give you partial information.