Dentistry is the branch of the healing arts and sciences devoted to maintaining the health of the teeth, the gums, and other hard and soft tissues of the oral cavity. The diagnosis, treatment and prevention of tooth decay, periodontal diseases, malocclusion, oral-facial anomalies, and other disorders contribute to proper mastication and to normal speech and facial appearances. Early detection of cancer and systemic conditions that manifest themselves through the mouth are necessary for the maintenance of general good health.
The dental profession offers a variety of career options. The dentist may elect general dentistry or one of the eight recognized dental specialties. He or she may establish their own private practice or work as an employed dentist for another dentist, or a public or private agency or institution. The dentist may choose solo or group practice; group practice may involve working with other dentists or physicians and other health professionals in the provision of total health care. Career opportunities are also available in the armed forces. Some dentists serve as administrators or public health practitioners. Dental research and education offer further career opportunities to dentists.
There are 56 dental schools in the United States and Puerto Rice and ten in Canada. The traditional dental school curriculum requires four academic years of study for completion. The basic sciences are taught primarily in the first two years and formal clinical practice the final two years.
Although most schools specify two years of preprofessional education as a minimum requirement for admission, dental schools generally prefer students who have completed an undergraduate degree. Of all U.S. students entering dental school in 2001, 90 percent had completed four years of college. Only about 1.1 percent had completed only the minimally required two years of preprofessional education.
A very useful publication is Admission Requirements of U.S. and Canadian Dental Schools. Not only does it contain valuable information, it will help in applying to schools where your application will have the greatest chance of success. You may obtain a copy by writing:
American Association of Dental School
Address: 1625 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
American Association of Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS)
The American Association of Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS) allows applicants to apply simultaneously to a number of dental schools by submitting one application to a single agency. The LSU School of Dentistry does not participate in AADSAS. Applicants must request an application from the Office at Admissions at the LSU Dental School after September 1 for admission in July of the following year. If any other dental school to which students are applying does not participate, applicants must write directly to the school for an application and to obtain deadline dates for application. Applications for AADSAS are available online at the address below: