Dentists who graduate from a dental school in the United States achieve a professional doctoral dental degree, either a DDS or DMD, that gives him or her the privilege to treat patients’ oral health needs.  If your dentist graduated from a dental school in the United States, then he or she has either one of the dental degrees.  What is the difference between DDS and DMD dental degree?

DDS stands for Doctor of Dental Surgery.  DMD stands for Doctor of Dental Medicine. Aside from the name of the dental degree, both degrees are nearly identical.   A dentist who has a DDS is as qualified to perform a crown or tooth extraction as a dentist who has DMD degree.  Similarly a dentist who has a DMD is qualified to do an evaluation and diagnosis on your TMJ, just as well as one who has DDS.  Both dentists, either DMD or DDS, are professionally well trained and educated in the didactic and clinical setting during dental school.

Most dental schools on the West coast offer a DDS.  Most dental schools on the East coast offer a DMD.  The vast majority of dental schools offer a highly rigorous four year program, with some dental graduates continuing afterwards in a one or two year GPR (general practice residency) in a hospital setting.  The difference between DDS and DMD dental degree programs with respect to length and outcome, however, is not discernible.

One could argue that the DMD program has an emphasis on the systemic whole human body, and may thus have a curriculum with more courses in medicine and pathology, hence the “dental medicine” terms in DMD.  One could also argue that the DDS program has an emphasis on surgical procedures such as extractions and implants, hence the term “dental surgery” in DDS.  In the end however, whether your dentist has a DDS or DMD dental degree, the two degrees are nearly identical with the same outcome in mind: total patient care.   Rest assured you will be given a thorough diagnosis, examination, and treatment as needed consistent with the ADA’s (American Dental Association) highest degree of professionalism and conduct.