It is beyond doubt that dental education is one of the core ingredients for becoming a professional dentist in the United States.

While there are more than 50 U.S. universities awarding advanced dentistry degrees, there’s no denying that the United States is home to some of the world’s best dental schools.

Based on reliable findings as well as authoritative rankings, here are the 10 best dental schools in the United States:

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University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (School of Dentistry)

This university is an institution highly acclaimed not only for training students in health-related disciplines but also for providing the community with oral and dental healthcare services.

Located in Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan equips its dentistry students with practical knowledge and exposure. These students are generously furnished with relevant hands-on experience, courtesy of the various clinics affiliated with the university.

The University of Michigan is unsurprisingly one of the leading U.S. universities for health-related disciplines inclusive dentistry.

Here is the link to more information about the University of Michigan School of Dentistry.

Harvard University (Harvard School of Dental Medicine)

Harvard University is home to one of the US’ best dental schools. Located in Boston’s Longwood Medical Area, The Harvard School of Dental Medicine exposes dentistry students to a good deal of hands-on clinical experience.

The Harvard Dental Centre, where clinical rotations take place, is considered a highly functional centre rendering clinical care to thousands of patients.

At Harvard University, students of dentistry take classes together with counterparts in Harvard’s medical school. This instance of collaborative learning is considered a part of the dentistry students’ coursework.

The eminence of HSDM (Harvard School of Dental Medicine) is far from a surprise considering that Harvard University itself features among high-ranking universities within and outside the United States.

Click the link here to find out more information about the Harvard School of Dental Medicine.

The University of California, Los Angeles (School of Dentistry)

The School of Dentistry at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) runs a Doctor of Dentistry degree program through which it produces more than 100 graduates yearly.

Notably, dentistry students at UCLA begin engaging in hands-on patient care while in their second year. UCLA’s School of Dentistry is committed to equipping students with the requisite skills for delivering direct care to various patients. This is why its students are exposed to continuous hands-on experience at speciality clinics and community service projects.

While many graduates of UCLA’s dental school are said to have proceeded to the pursuit of advanced degrees in oral biology, many others advanced to post-graduate training.


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Adams School of Dentistry)

The Adams School of Dentistry at the University of North Carolina allows for extensive clinical exposure, thereby equipping dentistry students with lots of hands-on experience.

Particularly, this dentistry school runs a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) program with a highly relevant curriculum. The program’s curriculum is in tandem with the ACT (Advocate Clinician Thinker) premise.

Also, there exist in North Carolina more than 40 rotation sites where this school’s dentistry students are furnished with clinical experience. By virtue of the clinical knowledge instilled in them, dentistry students at the Chapel Hill’s University of North Carolina develop the appropriate attitude for rendering excellent clinical care and serving as patients’ advocates.

Besides serving as sites for student training, the free student-led clinics affiliated with this university substantially serve the community through the provision of oral and dental healthcare.

To learn more about this dental school, click the link here.

The University of California, San Francisco (School of Dentistry)

Through its School of Dentistry, the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF) is believed to have cemented its place among the best universities for dentistry in the United States.

This school of dentistry –at the San Francisco’s University of California –vastly exposes students to research opportunities and clinical education. Riding on the strength of its dental centre, the school further equips the students with lots of hands-on experience. It is noteworthy that each year, this dental centre admits more than 120,000 patients for dental care.

Annually, UCSF’s School of Dentistry churns out over 100 graduates. With that said, the school is considered a well-funded one with high research points. In terms of research, clinical education and overall ranking, there’s no denying that UCSF’s School of Dentistry is one of the best in the United States.

Here is the link to more information about the UCSF School of Dentistry.

New York University (College of Dentistry)

New York University (NYU) is such a notable academic institution as it boasts America’s largest dental school. Annually, NYU’s College of Dentistry churns out more than 300 DDS graduates. Meanwhile, records show that NYU is the alma mater of almost 10% of dentists in the U.S.  Records further show that each year, NYU renders clinical care to almost 300,000 patients.

At NYU’s dental school, students are exposed to a comprehensive curriculum with courses in various biomedical, behavioural and clinical areas. The students are also furnished with substantial practical knowledge while associating with practice directors, their groups and the faculty at large.

You can find out more information about New York University College of Dentistry through this link.

University of Washington (School of Dentistry)

At the University of Washington’s dental school, students can avail themselves of opportunities that they wouldn’t have had access to in certain other dental schools. With this, it is unsurprising that the school came second in Shanghai Ranking Consultancy’s Academic Ranking of World Universities.

The kind of clinical exposure guaranteed by the University of Washington’s School of Dentistry is really vast. Aside from allowing students the chance to undergo clinical training at Harborview Medical Center, Seattle Children’s Hospital and the clinics owned by its dental school, the University of Washington runs a speciality clinic (for those with disabilities), another speciality clinic (for those with significant dental fears or psychological conditions), and a mobile geriatric clinic.

To learn more about this dental school, visit the University of Washington School of Dentistry through the link here.

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Columbia University (College of Dental Medicine)

Through its College of Dental Medicine, Columbia University delivers world-class dental education, which makes it stand out as one of the best U.S. schools for dentistry. Though at a 5.1% acceptance rate, admission into this dental school proves very competitive.

While in their pre-clinical years, students of this College of Dental Medicine can avail themselves of the chance to collaborate with medical students. This is possible simply because Columbia University’s dental school employs an academic-cum-medical setting in transmitting the knowledge of dentistry to its students.

Essentially, Columbia University fosters collaboration between its medical students and their dental counterparts.

Here is the link to more information about Columbia University College of Dental Medicine.

University of Buffalo (School of Dental Medicine)

The School of Dental Medicine at University of Buffalo is a notable provider of avenues for dentistry students to extensively engage in clinical practice and research. As part of its dedication to oral health promotion, this School of Dental Medicine exposes students to exhaustive study programs.

Students at Buffalo University’s School of Dental Medicine begin their clinical training in the first year, thereby allowing the students a quick shot at relevant hands-on experience. Notably, the students of this dental school are said to be enrolled in any of two-degree programs –a DDS degree only program and a dual program combining a Master of Business Administration with the regular DDS degree.

Besides having maintained an immense history of oral health advancement, University of Buffalo (School of Medicine) is undeniably one of the top 10 schools for dentistry in the United States.

Learn more about University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine by clicking here.

University of Pennsylvania (School of Dental Medicine)

The School of Dental Medicine at University of Pennsylvania is such a historically significant one. While its establishment dates back to 1878, this School of Dental Medicine engages in community-targeted outreach programs. Also, it runs a highly functional primary (dental) care unit that caters to more than 20,000 patients yearly.

Students at University of Pennsylvania can access a variety of clinical opportunities. Particularly, the differing degree options available to the school’s DMD (Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry) students are as follows: Law, Education, Public Health, Business Administration, and Bioethics.

Click the link here to learn more about University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine.

Some Commonly Asked Questions

What Do the Stats Say about Dental School Applicants in the U.S.?

According to the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) and the American Dental Association (ADA), the applicant statistics in 2019-2020 for dental school education are as follows:

  1. Between 2019 and 2020, there was a 4% increase in the number of students who graduated from dental schools. For the year 2020 particularly, there was a total of 6,609 (dental school) graduates. In the previous year, 2019, there was a total of 6,350 (dental school) graduates
  2. There were almost 11,000 people applying to U.S. dental schools as first-time first-year students in the year 2020. Precisely, the total number of applicants was 10,965. From these 10,000+ applicants, 6,317 were eventually enrolled as new first-year dental students. In other words, 57.1% of the applicants secured dental school enrollment

There’s no denying that a considerable number of people apply to dental school in the United States. With dentistry being an essential part of the U.S. healthcare system, it is unsurprising that the country boasts more than 130,000 dentists.

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What Are the Common Recognized Dental Specialties?

Although considered a medical specialty, dentistry itself is such a broad field with several specialties. The National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards (NCRDSCB) is responsible for the approval of dental specialties. According to the NCRDSCB and the American Dental Association (ADA), the recognized dental specialties are as follows:

  • Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
  • Dental Anesthesiology
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Orofacial Pain
  • Public Health Dentistry
  • Oral Medicine
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Prosthodontics
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
  • Prosthodontics
  • Periodontics
  • Endodontics

Are There Favorable Job Prospects for Dental Professionals in the Country?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for dentistry has a projected growth rate of 8% over a 10-year period, 2020-2030. BLS further projected that within the stated 10-year period, there would be approximately 5000 dentist jobs annually.

With the BLS projection above, you should be convinced that there are promising job prospects for dental students and/or professionals in the United States. That aside, it’s quite fascinating that $180,830 is the average yearly salary of U.S. dentists.

What Are the Top 5 Dental Schools in the U.S.?

There are a good number of dental schools in the United States. Fortunately, these dental schools fulfill all or most of the conditions you’ll likely consider while choosing a university for your dental education.

While selecting a dental school in the United States, the conditions considered by most shrewd people include:

  • Generous amount of facilities
  • Adoption of a highly recognized curriculum
  • Extensive focus on research and clinical training
  • High overall reputation
  • Provision of relevant (community-focused or clinical) dental experiences

As per the 2021 Academic Ranking of World Universities by Shanghai Ranking, the best five dental schools in the U.S. are as follows:

  • University of Michigan-Ann Arbor School of Dentistry
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Adams School of Dentistry
  • Harvard School of Dental Medicine
  • University of California San Francisco School of Dentistry
  • University of California Los Angeles School of Dentistry

What Do I Need to Become a Full-Fledged Dentist?

In becoming a full-fledged dentist, you need to have acquired requisite academic degrees as well as completed the associated clinical training. Your academic journey toward becoming a full-fledged dentist may span 8 years. At the end of the journey, you’re expected to have attained a BSc degree in a relevant field and a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry).

As for attaining a DDS or DMD, you need to enrol in a well-reputed dental school from which you can acquire the skills and knowledge needed for the professional practice of dentistry. It’s also noteworthy that as a prospective dentist, you’ll have to take some relevant state and/or national examinations.


If you’re looking in the direction of the U.S. for an advanced dental degree, it’s very likely that you’ll want to select one of the best dental schools in the country. In that wise, we’re pretty sure that you’ll find any of the listed American schools befitting for your advanced dental education.

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