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The best dental schools in the United States

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The best dental schools in the United States

Participating in a top-ranked dental school is a relatively safe way to have a stable and high-paying career working in your own company or with a partner in a practice. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for dentists is expected to increase much faster than the labor market norm and the median salary for 2019 was $ 159,200 per year.

To become a dentist, you need a bachelor’s degree in any field, and then either a doctor of dental surgery (DDS) or a doctor of medicine in dentistry (DMD), as well as pass certain national and state examinations. It usually takes four years after graduating to become a dentist.

In the United States, 64 universities offer advanced degrees in dentistry. The dental schools listed below have a strong reputation, excellent facilities, and outstanding faculty members.

1. Harvard University

Harvard University is often ranked as one of the best universities in both the country and the world, and this prestigious Ivy League school is also home to one of the country’s best dental schools. The Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) is not located on the university’s historic main campus in Cambridge, but a few miles away in Boston’s Longwood Medical Area. HSDM students study with Harvard medical students during some of their courses, and they also gain hands-on experience at the Harvard Dental Center, which sees over 25,000 patients annually.

2. New York University

New York University ‘s large College of Dentistry examines nearly 400 DDS students each year. Students take courses in a range of biomedical, behavioral, and clinical areas. Extensive clinical practice is a hallmark of the program, and NYU is proud of the diversity of its patient pool. Students gain real experience during all four years of their education and they work closely with their group internship leaders and teachers.

NYU’s dental school is the largest in the country, and almost 10% of all dentists in the United States were trained there. The school receives approximately 300,000 patient visits annually, so the breadth and depth of the opportunities are difficult to match.

3. The University of Alabama at Birmingham

The University of Alabama is perhaps best known for its impressive NCAA Division I sports program on the Tuscaloosa campus, but the Birmingham campus is home to one of the nation’s best dentists. The UAB School of Dentistry examines approximately 70 DMD students annually. Students can benefit from the school’s connections to the UAB Health System for a range of research and clinical experiences. UAB offers eight areas within dental specialization: clinical and social sciences, endodontics, general practice, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, periodontology, and restoration science.


The UCLA School of Dentistry examines approximately 100 DDS students per year, and the school is also proud of the number of candidates who go on to postgraduate education or to obtain advanced degrees in oral biology. UCLA dental students begin immediate patient care during their second year of the program. Clinical experience includes rotations to several specialists and community clinics. UCLA’s cityscape guarantees that dental students have access to a wide range of practical experiences working with a diverse group of patients.

5. University of California San Francisco

UCSF is the only school in the University of California system that does not have any undergraduate programs. This has enabled the campus to specialize and excel in health areas. The medical school is one of the best in the country, as is the UCSF School of Dentistry. The school examines over 100 DDS students annually, and UCSF is proud of the research opportunities and clinical experience available to its students. The school’s dental center has over 120,000 patient visits each year. The School of Dentistry also receives high marks for research, and it has been ranked as the # 1 dental school in the country based on funding from the National Institutes of Health.

6. University of Florida

The UF College of Dentistry is located on the south edge of the University of Florida’s main campus in Gainesville. Many hospitals, clinics, and other health-focused programs dominate this part of the campus. The school examines nearly 100 DMD students each year, and the curriculum includes clinical rotations during the second year, followed by more advanced clinical experience during the third and fourth years. The UF Health system has several dental facilities in the Gainesville area, including those focused on pediatric dentistry, dentistry, general dentistry, and orthodontics.

7. University of Michigan

The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor is a true powerhouse in health-related areas and dentistry is no exception. The school was recently ranked # 1 in the world by the Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. The school offers dental care and services throughout Michigan, and its network of affiliated clinics provides a wide range of opportunities for DDS students to gain clinical experience. The school has 15 programs, 642 students, and 120 full-time faculty members.

8. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

UNC-Chapel Hill’s Adams School of Dentistry is consistently ranked among the best in the country. The Doctor of Dental Surgery Program (DDS) has a curriculum designed around ACT – Advocate-Clinician-Thinker. Students learn to advocate for their patients, provide the best clinical care and stay mentally flexible to solve problems. The school supports 50 rotation places in North Carolina as well as two free clinics run by students. These clinics receive over 90,000 patient visits annually.

9. University of Pennsylvania

One of two Ivy League schools on this list, the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Dental Medicine, is located on the western edge of the Pennsylvania West Philadelphia campus. The school was founded in 1878 and has a rich history in dentistry. The Philadelphia location provides students with a wide range of opportunities for clinical practice and community outreach. DMD students can also choose from many degree options, including dual degrees in bioethics, public health, business administration, law, and education. The school’s primary care department handles approximately 22,000 patients each year.

10. University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine has been on the main campus since 1896. Like most schools on this list, Pitt acknowledges that medical education is not limited to the classroom. The school encourages community service and research, and dental students gain practical experience at the WISER center with its simulation-based training facility. Pitt Dental students will also serve as patients for each other as they sharpen their clinical skills.

11. University of Washington

One of three West Coast options on this list, the University of Washington School of Dentistry was recently ranked No. 2 in the world by the Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. The school has 390 students, including 248 DDS candidates. Students will find lots of areas for clinical experiences, including Harborview Medical Center, Seattle Children’s Hospital, and of course the School of Dentistry’s clinics. The school offers some opportunities that can be difficult to find elsewhere, including a mobile geriatric dental clinic, a clinic specializing in the care of people with disabilities, and a clinic focusing on patients with significant gum disease and psychological conditions.

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