Dental schools in the United States continue to rule in the world of dentistry. In 2019, the United States had seven of the top 10 dental schools in the world, after placing eight among the elite in three consecutive years(2017, 2018, 2019).
These findings were based on a survey of 1,500 deans, chairs, and heads of faculties and departments of the top 100 colleges across a range of subjects. Questions focused on publications in the top-tier journals in dentistry, the most influential and credible awards, and researchers who have contributed the most to the field, emphasizing research and reputation.
Without much further ado, here are the 10 best dental schools in the US.
Even though it is a relatively new dental school, having been founded in 2003, the Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ASDOH) has already graduated from some of the country’s best orthodontists. Graduates of ASDOH have won research grants and even taken executive positions in state dental associations.
Such honors come as a result of the school’s commitment to healthcare, which emphasizes care for the entire patient, and not just their dental health. Nothing shows this tenet better than ASDOH’s programs to reach underserved populations in Arizona.
The college’s intensive programs necessitate it to be selective, as reflected in its 3.4% acceptance rate. But those who get selected will join a program that serves more than 10,000 community members each year in over 55 rural and community healthcare centers nationwide.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Missouri is suffering from a lack of dental healthcare professionals. The Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health (MSDOH) is doing something about that problem by training highly skilled dentists and dispatching them all over the state. The school also takes pride in its benevolent works, such as its initiative to provide supplies to local children’s programs.
MSDOH limits itself to a 3.3% acceptance rate but takes active steps to recruit students from underrepresented populations. When combined with the school’s commitment to student research, MSDOH proves itself to be an outstanding choice for those who study dentistry to serve others.
Having an acceptance rate of only 3.3%, you might think that the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine (UCSDM) is a moderately small program. But a better system of measurement of their influence would be the fact that over 45% of the dentists practicing in the state of Connecticut graduated from UCSDM. These records speak not to the school’s size, but to the quality of its education. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 3:1, UCSDM provides hands-on instruction to its students, meticulously preparing them for their future careers.
To accomplish their goal of being both a training ground for future dentists and a technical pacesetter, UCSDM spends more than $8 million in research funding each year. Students partake in these goals by working in the Dental Center Research Center, where they can serve the community while refining their craft.
With more than 400 applicants, the class of 2020 has over 63 matriculates. In total, there are 264 DDS students across all programs, with 18 international DDS students and three DDS/Ph.D. students, 10 Ph.D. students, 44 residents, and 61 graduate students. The school also boasts 63 full-time faculty members, more than 42 part-time members, and over 550 affiliates.
Students are permitted to carry out research under faculty mentorship via programs such as the Multidisciplinary Predoctoral Clinical Research Training Program and the Summer Research Fellowship Program. Also, the DDS/Ph.D. track lets students pursue advanced research after getting their dental degree.
The school is also home to the Timothy A. DeRouen Center for Global Oral Health, which sponsors transnational collaborations in dental research and education. Meanwhile, its Summer Institute in Dental and Craniofacial Clinical Research Methods entices participants from around the world.
Even the covid became a subject of research itself as the school conducted studies about it as well as oral health clinical procedures over the past year.
The Adams School of Dentistry still retains 2020’s second-place showing this year. It provides $3.6 million in in-kind dental care each year during 90,000 dental visits across four student-led free clinics. The school also boasts of more than 6,400 alumni in all 50 states and in 27 countries.
From their chief researchers tackling today’s biggest problems to their global faculty educating the next generation of integrated health professionals to their clinicians providing full oral healthcare in Chapel Hill and beyond.
Furthermore, to its DDS and dental hygiene programs, the university offers graduate and advanced dental education programs, and oral and craniofacial biomedicine Ph.D., and the Advanced Standing Program for International Dentists, as well as continuous education for dentists already in the field.
Research efforts consist of the DELTA Translational ReCharge Center, which offers ready-to-use services to clinical and biomedical investigators at the university, and the General and Oral Health (GoHealth) Center, which was instituted to explore the relationship between oral and systemic diseases through clinical research.
Plus, the school is a founding member of the DentAlliance, which includes the King’s College London Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences, the National University of Singapore Faculty of Dentistry, and the University of Melbourne Dental School. This five-year partnership aims to transform education and curriculum development, track transformative research, and enhance professional practice.
Not only is the Howard University College of Dentistry (HUCD) part of an esteemed historically Black university, but it’s the fifth oldest dental school in the U.S.
Students attending HUCD praise the college for its inclusivity and helpful staff. This support comes, in part, with its small class sizes, thanks to its low 3.4% acceptance rate. Those planning to apply to HUCD must have a minimum GPA of 2.75 in science classes, however, the school reports its strongest applicants as having a 3.0 GPA in these courses.
Early this year, Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) named the University of Michigan as the second-best in the world and the top school in the United States.
By statistics, the School of Dentistry’s class of 2020 saw over 1,600 applications with only 108 students enrolled, plus one DDS/Ph.D. student. Six of them had master’s degrees before entering. Most of them had an average GPA of 3.73 and a DAT score of 22. 52.8% were male, and 47.2% were female.
Research at the school enlightens and advances the dental education and patient care features. The latest high ranking confirms the incredible range and talent at the faculty, researchers, and students who have explored a wide variety of science with the ultimate goal of improving oral health.
For example, Michigan researchers discovered that when the gene DMBT1 is suppressed in head and neck cancer cells, it encourages aggressive invasion and metastasis in laboratory studies and was mostly associated with metastasis in patients. Other researchers have developed a machine-learning algorithm to measure a patient’s risk of regenerative outcomes after surgical treatments of peri-implantitis.
The School of Dentistry gets substantial support for this research too. It was second amongst dental schools receiving grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2020, with more than $22.5 million in funding. Additionally, Michigan was awarded NIDCR’s largest single award in 2020, at $6.3 million.
This is indeed one of the best dental schools in the US.
As expected, Harvard’s dental school is one of the best in the U.S. The Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) may be the smallest in the Ivy League university, but it makes its parent school proud. HSDM is the country’s first university-based dental school, and it still continues to bring in high-level awards. In just the past year, professor Shigemi Ishikawa- Nagai won the Catalyst Phase Award from the National Academy of Medicine’s Healthy Longevity Global Competition.
As expected, HSDM has an acceptance rate as low as the University itself, limited to only 3.5%. Those who make it in have an average GPA of 3.85 and a DAT of 23. Also, the school has seen its applications increase by 13% over the past year, which means that the competition has only grown more intense. However, the school reminds applicants that it considers more than just grades when making admissions decisions, so ensure to develop strong relationships with recommenders and to start doing community service right away.
Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine (CSDM) has some of the most significant people in the field of dentistry, as its alumni including the University of Michigan School of Dentistry graduate director Hom-Lay Wang and dental surgery trailblazers Holly Broadbent Sr. and Jr.
With such notable graduates, it’s no wonder that CSDM keeps an exclusive 2.9% acceptance rate. The school picks its applicants by assigning quality points for a variety of factors, such as GPA and DAT score, as well as letters of recommendation and years of experience.
Students accepted into the university get to partake in revolutionary research programs, like the $3.7 million grant-supported projects to study the link between HIV and cancer and the construction of a device to instantly detect oral cancer.
With an acceptance rate of only 2.1%, Western University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine is a tough school to enter. Applicants to the dental school must have an average science GPA of 3.09 and an average DAT score of 18-20, as well as a commitment to community service. Students spend an average of 2 hours a week doing community service during their first two years and 32 hours a week performing clinical rotations in their final two years.
The quality of the Western U College of Dental Medicine is further established by its many awards, including a recent $3.2 million grant and another $1.5 million grant, both from the U.S. Department of Health and Resources. These funds advance the research mission of the school’s acclaimed faculty, which consists of American Dental Education fellows and an editor of the Berkley Medical Journal.
FAQ on best dental schools in the US
Q. How can I get accepted into top universities in the US?
A. Keep your grades up. Do some community service to make your profile stand out.
Q. Why are colleges so competitive in the US?
A. There are more students, and many of these students are applying to more schools.
Q. Are US universities easier?
A. It all depends on the school you are applying to.
Q. What is the difference between a D.D.S. and a D.M.D.?
A. The simple answer is nothing. Both D.D.S. and D.M.D. mean the same thing. The D.D.S. (Doctor of Dental Surgery) and D.M.D. (Doctor of Dental Medicine) are the same degrees.
Q. What are the major factors in dental school admissions?
A. Dental schools consider various factors when deciding which applicants to accept into their programs. Many schools use a holistic review, which includes biographical and demographic information along with GPAs, test (DAT) scores, and community service, to name a few.