Admission requirements for Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.)
Dentists are doctors who specialize in oral health. Their responsibilities include:
Diagnosing oral diseases
Promoting oral health and disease prevention
Creating treatment plans to maintain or to restore the oral health of their patients
Interpreting X rays and diagnostic tests
Ensuring the safe administration of anesthetics
Monitoring growth and development of the teeth and jaws
Performing surgical procedures on the teeth, bone, and soft tissues of the oral cavity
Dentists' oversight of the clinical team is critical to ensure safe and effective oral care. Even seemingly routine procedures, such as tooth extractions, preparing and placing fillings, or administering anesthetics, carry potential risks of complications, including infection, temporary or even permanent nerve damage, prolonged bleeding, hematomas, and pain.
Dentists' areas of care include not only their patients' teeth and gums but also the muscles of the head, neck and jaw, tongue, salivary glands, nervous system of the head and neck, and other areas. During a comprehensive exam, dentists examine the teeth and gums, but they also look for lumps, swellings, discolorations, and ulcerations—any abnormality. When appropriate, they perform procedures such as biopsies, diagnostic tests for chronic or infectious diseases, salivary gland function, and screening tests for oral cancer.
Salary information: In 2017, the median salary for dentists in the United States and in Indiana was around $158,000.
Projected job growth: Experts expect a 19% increase from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Time to degree: Four years of undergraduate work and four years of dental school. Dentists may choose to specialize in a particular field of dentistry, such as orthodontics or pediatric dentistry. To become a specialist, dentists must complete two to four years of postdoctoral education, and they might be required to complete a two-year residency program in their field of choice.
GPA requirements: IU does not have a minimum requirement, but average GPAs in the recently admitted classes have been around a 3.5, with average science GPAs between 3.4 and 3.5.
Dental Admissions Test (DAT ): Computerized exam measures general academic ability (reading comprehension and quantitative reasoning), comprehension of scientific information (biology, general chemistry and organic chemistry), and perceptual ability (19.64 academic average).
Tuition (approximate based on IU program): Indiana resident tuition is $33,000 per year plus fees and living expenses ($71,000 for non-resident).
Shadowing: The IU Admissions Committee expects applicants to have completed a minimum of 100 hours of exposure to general dentistry practice in at least three private practice settings.
CASPer Assessment: All applicants to the Doctor of Dental Surgery program at Indiana University School of Dentistry are required to complete an online assessment (CASPer) to assist with the selection process. Successful completion of CASPer is mandatory to maintain admission eligibility.
A total of 90 semester credit hours, including the courses listed below, and the DAT MUST be completed—however, MOST students have a completed undergraduate degree before beginning dental school. Note: It is important to review the prerequisite courses for each program to which you are planning to apply, as they may be different from IU's.