Studies & Degrees in Restorative Dentistry
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Are you considering earning an advanced dental degree, but are still undecided about the type of dentistry in which to focus your studies? Have you considered earning a degree in Restorative Dentistry—a field that focuses on the diagnosis and management of diseases of the teeth and their supporting structures and restoring them to their original function and appearance? If you have, the following information may allow you to get a better understanding of this specialty and the steps you’ll need to take before earning Board Certification to practice. Here we will provide a brief synopsis of the Restorative Dentistry program, including the typical degree path and eligibility requirements, followed by an outline of some of the coursework you’ll encounter while earning your degree and certification.
Restorative Dentistry: Career Path and Eligibility Requirements
Working in Restorative Dentistry can be incredibly rewarding and very lucrative, but before this can take place there are several steps you will need to navigate first. Keep in mind that most dental schools will only accept candidates who possess an undergraduate degree, and because of that, the first step towards your goal is to enter into and complete a Bachelor of Science degree in a recognized pre-dental discipline. Science-based disciplines that qualify as “pre-dental” include biology, chemistry, biochemistry, physics and health science, among others. These undergraduate-level degrees, which typically span four to five years in duration, are open to all students with a high school diploma or its equivalent, providing their secondary school grades show a strong aptitude in science and mathematics.
Dental school is the next step of your journey, assuming your grade point average and test scores from your undergraduate degree program are well above average. Dental schools tend to be very selective about their candidates, and will usually require you to submit all of your academic information, as well as three to five letters of recommendation from people with a personal knowledge of your skills and ability in the academic arena. Dental schools usually offer a four to five-year program that culminates with a practical exam, leading to one of two titles students can earn: Degree in Dental Surgery (DDS) or Degree in Dental Medicine (DDM). Before practicing your new-found craft, however, you will also need to seek Board Certification through the American Dental Association.
Restorative Dentistry: Coursework Content
As mentioned briefly above, Restorative Dentistry is the study, diagnosis and integrated management of diseases of the teeth and their supporting structures and the rehabilitation of such teeth and structures to the functional and aesthetic requirements of the patient. The field encompasses several dental sub-specialties, including periodontics, prosthodontics and endodontics, and students pursuing this degree will learn how these sub-specialties interact, particularly in cases where multifaceted care is warranted. Some of the coursework involved in Restorative Dentistry includes:
- Oral Biology
- Research Methodology in Dentistry
- Biostatistics and Data in Dentistry
- Advanced Restorative Dentistry I and II
- Seminar in Restorative Dentistry
- Clinical Practice in Restorative Dentistry I and II
Like most advanced courses of education, a DDS or DDM degree in Restorative Dentistry will also require a graduate thesis. The topic for this thesis must be approved by the close of the third year, and presented and defended to the faculty prior to graduation.