Dentists diagnose and treat problems with a patient’s teeth, gums, and other parts of the mouth. They provide advice and instruction on taking care of teeth and gums and on diet choices that affect oral health.

Careers within dentistry are diverse and provide many opportunities for challenging and rewarding service. Most dentists are general practitioners, handling a variety of dental needs. Other dentists practice in any of nine specialty areas: 

  • Dental Public Health
  • Endodontics
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
  • Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Periodontics
  • Prosthodontics
Pre-Dental Society 
The CMU Pre-Dental Society is a registered student organization that assists students who are interested in the profession of dentistry.  In the past, this group has toured dental schools, brought in admission representatives to speak to students, formed study groups and participated in multiple volunteer opportunities.

The club meets bi-weekly on Wednesdays at 8:00 PM.

Admission Requirements for Dental School
From the time you begin college, you are assembling a complete universal application to apply to these professional schools. Dental schools will review your application holistically, and you can work with your advisors to provide a competitive application.

Experience in Dentistry
It is expected by most Dental schools that candidates will exhibit a confirmed interest and motivation in a dental career by participating in career-related activities such as job shadowing, community service and other volunteer opportunities. You should demonstrate an interest in addressing health gaps or commitment to service and care for underserved communities to make yourself more desirable. Having strong career experiences and life accomplishments will allow you to validate your professionalism and maturity, which are strongly considered in the application process. Additionally, many dental schools require students to job shadow a dentist. Students are encouraged to obtain a minimum of 100 hours.

Other qualifications. Dentistry requires diagnostic ability and manual skills. You should have good visual memory; excellent judgment regarding space, shape and color; a high degree of manual dexterity; and scientific ability.

College Major

You are not required to select a particular major in order to be eligible for admission to a dental program. In selecting a college major, consider how you will satisfactorily complete the prerequisite courses for your designated dental program in addition to the college/university's degree and major requirements.  Work with your academic and/or pre-dental advisor to plan your course schedule.

You have the option to choose from a wide variety of undergraduate majors to prepare you for a dental program.  Suggested undergraduate majors include Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, and Neuroscience.

Most programs look for a minimum undergraduate cumulative 3.0 GPA but the average GPA for matriculates is a 3.5 cumulative and a 3.4 in the sciences. Keep in mind these numbers are averages and various schools can have their own averages that are higher or lower. Also, these averages are climbing higher each year and admission to dental schools is more competitive than ever. Be sure you take your studies seriously and put in the proper time for reading, studying, and review for each course.
Below are the CMU courses we recommend to meet these requirements:
General Chemistry: CHM 131 & 132, 8 credits
Organic Chemistry: CHM 345,346, & 349, 8 credits
Physics: PHY 130, 131, 170, & 171 or PHY 145, 146, 175, & 176, 8 credits
General Biology: BIO 111 & 112, 8 credits
Microbiology: BIO 208 or 320, 4 credits
English: ENG 101 & 201, 6 credits
Biochemistry: CHM 425 or CHM 521 & 522, 4-6 credits
Additional Science: Additional Biology Course, 4 credits

Some dental schools may have additional courses required or recommended. Review the admission requirements of the dental schools to which you plan on applying in advance.

All required courses must be taken for a grade. Each school has its own policy regarding AP credit. Usually, AP credit in these areas should be followed with additional upper level work in the same discipline including labs.

Additional Courses: To further strengthen your application and your ability to succeed in dental school, here are some additional courses you could take:
Anatomy: HSC 214 or BIO 337
Cell Biology: BIO 324
Genetics: BIO 211
Histology: BIO 536
Physiology: HSC 215 or BIO 392
Physchology: PSY 100
Sociology: SOC 100
Statistics/Math: BIO 500 or STA 282 or MTH 106 or higher>
Job Outlook
Dentists held about 151,500 jobs in 2014. According to the American Dental Association, about 3 out of 4 dentists in private practice are solo proprietors, and almost 15 percent belong to a partnership.

Employment of dentists is projected to grow 18 percent through 2024, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Job prospects should be good, reflecting the need to replace the large number of dentists expected to retire.

Median annual wages of salaried general dentists were $159770 in May 2016. Earnings vary according to the number of years in practice, hours worked and specialty. Self-employed dentists in private practice tend to earn more than salaried dentists.
DAT (Dental Admission Test)
A minimum DAT score of 16 is typical with the average for matriculates about 20/30. You should aim to have a score between 19-21 in order to stay competitive.

Most students take this exam the summer before their senior year. In order to register for the DAT you will need to complete the following:

A Quick Look at the DAT
Survey of Natural Sciences: 90 Minutes
  • 100 questions
  • Score range: 1-30
  • Content: biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry
  • CMU courses with relevant content: BIO 111, 112, & 211. CHM 131, 132, 345, & 346
Reading Comprehension: 60 Minutes
  • 50 questions
  • Score range: 1-30
  • Content: ability to read, comprehend and thoroughly analyze basic scientific information
Perceptual Ability Test: 60 Minutes
  • 90 questions
  • Score range: 1-30
  • Content: apertures, view recognition, angle discrimination, cube counting, 3D form development, paper folding
  • CMU courses with relevant content: ART 117
Quantitative Reasoning: 45 Minutes
  • 40 questions
  • Score range: 1-30
  • Content: algebra, geometry, statistics, trigonometry
  • CMU courses with relevant content: MTH 105 or higher, MTH 107, STA 282 or higher
Where is the DAT administered?
  • Multiple locations throughout Michigan and the United States
What is the cost of the DAT?
  • $415
How should you prepare for the DAT?
  •  Begin at least 3 months before your test date
  • Questions emphasize problem-solving abilities, not rote memorization
  • Essential to obtain practice tests
  • Look for perceptual ability practice tests online
Michigan Dental Schools
Applying to Dental Schools
Most Dental Schools use the ADEA AADSAS (Associated American Dental Schools Application Service) site as a centralized application site.