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Difference Between DDS and DMD

stethoscopeDDS vs DMD

The difference between Doctor of Dental surgery (DDS) and Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) can be thought of as a matter of semantics. Although most dental schools award the DDS degree, some do award the DMD degree. The program content for both degrees is quite similar and the training students receive on either program similar.


In times long past, medicine had two divisions namely the surgery group and the medicine group. The surgery division specifically dealt with treating ailments using instruments while the medicine group dealt with healing diseases with medicine. In the US there was, originally, only the DDS degree which was being awarded by autonomous dentistry schools that were more like schools of apprenticeship without any university affiliation. But the case wasn’t the same when Harvard added a dental school in 1867. Degrees were awarded only in Latin and the DDS degree wasn’t adopted because Harvard people thought its Latin translation was quite burdensome. A Latin scholar who was consulted suggested that the ancient Medicinae Doctor be prefixed with Dentariae and that marked the beginning of ‘Dentariae Medicinae Doctor‘ or DMD.


Within different circles, including political and academic, those pushing for the DDS argue that it represents the ‘surgery’ aspect of treatment given majority of dental treatment procedures involve putting out a part of the mouth like a tooth. At the other end, DMD advocates stress the so-called ‘Medical’ model where importance is on getting information and diagnosis before planning the treatment. Adequate health information is gathered as well as soft issues pertaining to the head and neck so that any abnormalities may be identified as they may be early signs of a more serious disease. An assessment of the gums and teeth is done to ascertain their condition. Whilst the examination the dentist and patient work closely together and a treatment plan is drawn which includes the treatment sequences and priorities.

An analysis of the two approaches shows that it isn’t useful to select one in preference to the other but rather the dentistry profession should demand for proper standards that aim at fulfilling patients’ needs

1.  DDS was the original dentistry degree being awarded by dental schools in the US before DMD was crafted.
2. DDS emphasizes surgery in dental care while DMD stresses the use of medicines for dental treatment.
3. The DDS approach tends to fix the particular oral problem only while DMD looks at the whole big picture including general health of patient.

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  1. me and old grand ma Hillary are going to win this election no matter what we have to do lie cheat people come up missing you know we like the mud god help this country if this bitch is elected !

  2. This article on the difference between DDS and DMD is false. I’m a DDS and my partners are DMD’s and when I showed them this article they laughed at how inaccurate the difference was presented. There is no difference. The only difference is the slight difference between schools, not degrees. We all have the same curriculum and have to take the same national board exams and same licensing exams. There isn’t one for DDS and a separate one for DMD. A quick google search of the American Dental Assoc website would have been able to save yourself a lot of inaccurate research.

    “DDS and DMD are the acronyms of the degrees dentists earn after finishing dental school. DDS means Doctor of Dental Surgery, and DMD can mean either Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry or Doctor of Dental Medicine. While the names are different, the American Dental Association (ADA) explains that they represent the same education. Some universities may grant dental graduates with a DDS, and others grant a DMD, but both degrees have the same requirements.”

    Makes us question what other inaccurately researched comparisons are done on this site.

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