How Long Does It Take To Become a Qualified Dentist?

How Long Does It Take To Become a Qualified Dentist?

A dentist is a professional individual with a specialty in oral health. Dentists assist in treating, diagnosing, and preventing dental conditions. To be a qualified dentist, the students need to finish their education and the required training between six and eight years. Below are all the requirements and the time frame you will need to be a qualified dentist:

Factors that affect the time it takes you to become a qualified dentist:

The Program

Some students training to be dentists will finish an undergraduate course in four years and then follow it with a dental program that will take four years. Thus, adding up to a total of eight years.

Whereas some institutions offering dentistry programs infuse dentistry training with the undergraduate program, allowing the dentist trainees to complete the course in six years only.


The decision to specialize in a dentistry section will affect the entire timeline it takes for you to be a qualified dentist. This is because specializations usually require extra training.

A dentist can specialize in any of these nine recognized areas. They include general dentists, orthodontists, oral and maxillofacial pathologists, pediatric dentists, oral and maxillofacial radiologists, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, periodontists, prosthodontists, endodontists,

General dentist

They work in public health offices. They educate and complete checkups for patients.


They commonly work with young adults, teens, and children to restore the alignment of teeth.

Oral and maxillofacial pathologists

They focus on diagnosing and treating oral infections and diseases. These conditions include cleft lips, cavities, dental trauma, and periodontal disease.

Pediatric dentist

They work with young patients in diagnosing and treating many dental conditions.

Oral and maxillofacial radiologist

They only work on evaluating and interpreting diagnostic images. They help the other dentists consider X-ray results.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeon

Their main focus is on dental surgery, correcting damaged tissue and full mouth reconstruction.


They are mainly focused on periodontal problems. That is diagnosing and treating periodontal issues.


The dentists work on the cosmetic side of the teeth, dental implants, and crowns.


They focus on evaluating, diagnosing, and treating dental problems extending to the tooth’s root and interior part of the teeth.

Your Undergraduate Major

The major you choose to pursue while doing your undergraduate degree will affect how long it will take for an individual to be considered a qualified doctor. Students that decide to take a double major will be more prepared for dental school. However, it will take longer for them to finish learning. At the same time, students who choose to pursue undergraduate programs in sectors like chemistry, biology, or pre-med will have fewer courses when they enroll in dental school, and it will thus take a shorter duration.

The Results of the Application

Getting admitted to dental school is a competitive process. You will be required to have a good GPA, a minimum target score on the state examination, and recommendations from your former employers or professors. The full courses you apply to and if they get accepted to the school of their choice impact the time it will take to become a dentist.

The Dentists’ Education Levels

To be a qualified dentist, they have to finish two degrees. The first one is an undergraduate program followed by a dentist program. A state exam follows the two degrees. The education levels a dentist student will go through are:

Bachelor’s degree

You have to complete a bachelor’s degree before joining a dental school. A few dental programs can combine a doctorate of dentistry with a bachelor’s degree. This will assist in reducing a learner’s time to be a qualified dentist by two years.

Dental Program

The individuals aspiring to be dentists are required to finish a dental program.

Specialty program

Those who wish to specialize have to finish extra training done through a residency.

The residency will take an additional one or two years to finish. At the same time, some programs will take a longer time. For example, oral surgery might need four years to complete the residence program.

Completion of the state exam

You have to finish a state exam called the National Board Dental Exam for you to be licensed for practice.

Becoming a qualified dentist is a long road, but it will be worthwhile. Start the journey today to help individuals having oral infections and diseases.

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