Dentists diagnose, prevent, and treat problems with teeth or mouth tissue. They remove decay, fill cavities, examine x rays, place protective plastic sealants on children’s teeth, straighten teeth, and repair fractured teeth. They also perform corrective surgery on gums and supporting bones to treat gum diseases. Dentists extract teeth and make models and measurements for dentures to replace missing teeth. They provide instruction on diet, brushing, flossing, the use of fluorides, and other aspects of dental care. They also administer anesthetics and write prescriptions for antibiotics and other medications.
Most dentists are general practitioners, handling a variety of dental needs. Other dentists practice in any of nine specialty areas. Orthodontists, the largest group of specialists, straighten teeth by applying pressure to the teeth with braces or retainers. The next largest group, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, operates on the mouth and jaws. The remainder may specialize as pediatric dentists (focusing on dentistry for children); periodontists (treating gums and bone supporting the teeth); prosthodontists (replacing missing teeth with permanent fixtures, such as crowns and bridges, or with removable fixtures such as dentures); endodontists (performing root canal therapy); public health dentists (promoting good dental health and preventing dental diseases within the community); oral pathologists (studying oral diseases); or oral and maxillofacial radiologists (diagnosing diseases in the head and neck through the use of imaging technologies).
Most Dental Schools require completion of a minimum of 90 semester hours from an accredited college or university. Students who have completed a baccalaureate degree are given preference in the admissions process.
- Organic Chemistry - I & II
- Inorganic Chemistry - I & II
- Biological Science - I & II
- Physics - I & II
- English - I & II
Applicants who take additional upper-division science cources in Human Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology, Biochemistry, and Cell Biology as well as show evidence of high academic performance under heavy course loads tend to receive higher consideration.
All applicants are required to take the Dental Admission Test (DAT), sponsored by the American Dental Association. Applicants should complete this test one year prior to the year they wish to enter school.
The Dental Admission Test (DAT)
211 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611-2678