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Colonial Dental Group Cosmetic Dentistry Blog - Dooley, Lewis, and Quezada

Friday, September 14, 2007

What is the difference between DDS and DMD?

I am often asked what the difference is between the letters DDS and DMD after a dentist's name. The answer is that there really is no difference whatsoever between those degrees. A Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) and a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree require the exact same education. Both are degrees awarded upon graduation from dental school, but it is up to the individual school to choose which degree it is going to bestow on its graduates.

Both DDS and DMD degrees use the same curriculum requirements set by the American Dental Association's Commission on Dental Accreditation. Generally, three or more years of undergraduate education plus four years of dental school are required to graduate and become a general dentist. State licensing boards accept either degree as equivalent, and both DMD and DDS degrees allow licensed individuals to practice the same scope of general dentistry. Additional post-graduate education and training is required to become a dental specialist such as an orthodontist, oral surgeon, cosmetic dentist or periodontist.

For those history buffs out there, here is a more "historically accurate" reason why there are two degrees. Ancient medicine was divided into two groups: the surgery group that treated diseases with instruments and the medicine group that dealt with healing diseases using internal remedies.

In the United States, originally, there was only the DDS degree. But in 1867, Harvard University added a dental school to its campus. Harvard University only grants degrees in Latin and did not want to adopt the DDS degree because the Latin translation of doctor of dental surgery is "Chirugae Dentium Doctoris" or CDD. Harvard people did not like the way this sounded, so a Harvard scholar suggested the ancient "Medicinae Doctor" be prefixed with "Dentariae," and this is how the DMD or "Dentariae Medicinae Doctor" degree got started.

If you would like to learn more about this dental topic or any other, please call or email today to schedule an appointment with our Chicago area cosmetic dentistry office.

posted by Patti at 7:13 AM


Anonymous popsychology said...

While your explanation was much more clear, the following discussion of the same topic was much funnier. You might enjoy it: link

January 14, 2008 at 5:56 PM  

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