What Subjects Do You Need to Become a Dentist?

Would-be dentists should focus their coursework on science courses, including chemistry and biology, prior to entering dental school, notes the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Dental school applicants can increase their odds of being accepted to their preferred dental programs by opting for a science major.

Preparation for dental school begins in high school when students interested in dentistry can take coursework that prepares them for their future careers, notes BLS. Some courses to consider include chemistry, anatomy, biology, mathematics and physics.

Admission to dental school requires a bachelor’s degree, and undergraduates who anticipate applying for admission to dental school are generally required to sit for the Dental Acceptance Test, or DAT, during their junior year of study, according to the BLS. Because of the competitive nature of dental school admissions, doing well on the DAT, maintaining an excellent grade-point average and receiving recommendations from professors or others can improve a student’s chance of admission.

Following completion of a bachelor’s degree and dental school, specialty dentists must undergo additional training before they are allowed to practice, advises the BLS. In addition, dentists must typically complete a residency program in their chosen specialties. These programs can last up to two years, although general dentists are not required to take any additional training.