Classic Dental Smiles > Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) > General Dentisrtry > What’s the difference between a D.D.S. and a D.M.D.?

What’s the difference between a D.D.S. and a D.M.D.?

In short, just the name. D.D.S. stands for “Doctor of Dental Surgery” while D.M.D. stands for “Doctor of Dental Medicine.” D.D.S. degrees were initially given when dentistry became organized back in the late 1800’s. However, the designation of D.M.D. came about when schools such as Harvard decided to give out degrees in Latin. It was a nomenclature change. Simply put, they just wanted to change the name because they did not like the way it sounded in Latin.

Both are the same in scope and practice. Some dental schools give out D.M.D. degrees while others give out D.D.S. degrees. Both degrees are given by accredited American dental institutions, both require meeting the same rigorous academic standards and clinical licensure testing, and both are given at schools that require 3-4 years of postgraduate training. The American Dental Association (the governing board of dentistry) has made it clear that there is no difference in function between “Doctor of Dental Surgery” and “Doctor of Dental Medicine”. The difference is only in the name.

Before settling in Rancho Bernardo, Dr. Brian Chan graduated from the Loma Linda School Of Dentistry where D.D.S. degrees are awarded. Same with his father, uncle, and two cousins, who all graduated from the same school and all have the same degrees!

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