Finding a Dentist: Difference between a DDS and a DMD

difference dds dmdIn our ongoing “Ask the Dentist” series we are often asked, “What is the difference between a DDS and a DMD?” As you’re looking to find a dentist you may notice that while most are listed with a “DDS”, some may be listed as “DMD”. What does this distinction mean and how is it important in your search for the perfect dentist?

You may be surprised to find that they both mean the same thing. The dentist graduated from an accredited dental school. Both the DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) and DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) are actually the same degrees, so, dentists who have a DMD or DDS both have the very same education.

Why the two distinctions? Harvard University! In 1867 Harvard University added a dental school to their curriculum and they only grant degrees in Latin. They chose not to adopt the D.D.S. degree because the Latin translation was Chirurgae Dentium Doctoris, or C.D.D., and they felt that was cumbersome. A Latin scholar was consulted who suggested the ancient Medicinae Doctor be prefixed with Dentariae. This is how the D.M.D. or “Dentariae Medicinae Doctor” degree was started.

The important point is that it takes three or more years of undergraduate education plus four years of dental school to graduate and become a general dentist. After this dentists must also pass both a rigorous national written exam and a state or regional clinical licensing exam in order to practice. Plus, in order to keep their licenses, a dentist must continue their education requirements for the remainder of their careers to stay up to date on the latest scientific and clinical developments.

We hope this is helpful when choosing your next dentist. If you are looking for a dentist in Escondido, we’d love to hear from you.