DDS Degree or DMD Degree—What’s the Difference?

Phoenix Cosmetic DentistryEven if you’ve been going to a dentist regularly, you may not know the difference between a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) and a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine). They receive the same education.  The only difference, actually, between the two, is the name the university chooses to award graduates of dental schools.

“The difference came from ancient medicine, which was divided into two schools,” explains Dr. Carol Ford from her Phoenix Cosmetic Dental office. “The surgeons treated medical problems with instruments and the medical group treated injuries and illnesses with medicines, “ she explains.  Today, the education is identical for both.

Your dentist will probably have had three years of undergraduate education and four years of dental school to be awarded a dental degree. To practice, dentists must pass a rigorous national exam as well as a state or regional exam.

Each dentist is also required to take continuing education courses to stay current on the latest scientific advances and best clinical practices in the field.

There are specialties in the field of dentistry, and your dentist may be a specialist or need to send you to one of the following:

Endodontists treat tooth trauma and cracked teeth as well as perform root canal treatments.

Pedodontists specialize in children’s teeth. Because a child’s mouth grows quickly and changes, a pedodontist ensures the “baby teeth” are well cared for so the permanent teeth will last for a lifetime. Much of a pedodontist’s work is in preventive medicine to head off problems such as decay before they start. Pedodontists also do a good deal of patient education, teaching young children and their parents how to brush and care for their teeth.

Periodontist. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, this specialty focuses in “the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease, and in the placement of dental implants. Periodontists are also experts in the treatment of oral inflammation.”

Prosthodontists maintain the health of the mouth by caring for people with damaged or missing teeth. They plan treatments, restore gum and bone tissue, and create removable or fixed prosthesis.

Orthodontists study and treat malocclusions, or crooked teeth and bites. They design and install braces, retainers, headgear

Oral maxillofacial surgeons treat injuries, damage, and abnormalities of the mouth, jaw, face and skull, including both soft and hard tissue as well as place implants.

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