It typically takes eight years to complete the necessary education and training to become a dentist. A dental student must complete both an undergraduate program and a doctoral degree program before becoming a licensed dentist.
The first step in becoming a dentist is completing a four-year bachelor's degree. The second step is completing four years of study at a dental school. Aspiring dentists earn either a Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) degree or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.D.M.) degree. For students wanting to specialize in a particular area of dentistry, an additional two to four years of education is needed to complete postdoctoral education. Examples of specific dentistry fields include pediatric dentistry and orthodontics.