Difference between DDS and DMD

Mary Jane Rosenberg Mary Jane Rosenberg
Difference between DDS and DMD

If you’ve ever tried a dentist, you probably need to have looked at the degree the doctor indicated. Concerning dentists, two degrees are common across the country, and these are DMD and DDS. 

Some people cannot tell the difference between these grades and thus remain confused about which of the two grades is better or better. This article removes any doubts on both patients’ minds and those pursuing careers in dentistry.

Difference between DDS and DMD
Difference between DDS and DMD

DDS and DMD are Equivalent

  • What is DDS? Doctor of Dental Surgery
  • What is DMD? Doctor of Dental Medicine

For beginners, both DDS and DMD are equivalent degrees with the same curriculum and curriculum. There is no difference in the qualifications of doctors who have a DDS or a DMD. 

Only the DDS degree was awarded to doctors who studied dentistry. Independent schools were not affiliated with a university and treated the course as a kind of apprenticeship. 

It was when a heavyweight like Harvard University decided to have its dental school. DDS stood for Doctor of Dental Surgery, which Harvard didn’t like as it only awarded Latin degrees. 

After lengthy deliberations and consultations with a Latin scholar, Harvard came up with the diploma as DMD, which contained the alphabets MD, standing as a doctor of medicine.

What is DDS? Doctor of Dental Surgery
What is DDS? Doctor of Dental Surgery

The History

The American Dental Association recognizes the confusion that having different names for the same grade creates, but it cannot eliminate either grade. They even considered getting both of them to get a brand new degree but couldn’t do so because they were proud of their college degrees.

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It’s a fun situation in places like New York, where DDS is the more common of the two degrees, and people only consider DDS to be a dentist. This is also where those who have received DMD write DDS against their name to convince people of their qualifications.

Both doctors and patients have different perceptions when one of the grades is better than the other. Some patients prefer to be treated by DDS just because they believe they are doctors who specialize in dentistry’s surgical aspect.

Others feel that DMD is better because it is a degree that includes the MD letters MD for Doctor of Medicine. Perhaps, more important than figuring out differences between these two qualifications is better diagnosis and treatment of dental ailments and problems with gums and teeth.

What is DMD? Doctor of Dental Medicine
What is DMD? Doctor of Dental Medicine

Final Thoughts

For the degree program, the distinction between a DDS and a DMD dentist is the title chosen by your school. The job on the course is the same. 

The teaching is also the same. Both are equally eligible for the same job, and they can both take care of patients’ mouths.

So if they both mean the same thing, why are there two similar names?

The Oregon Health and Science University (OSHU) has reported the explanation for this. The Baltimore College of Medicine began granting the first DDS degrees in 1893. Harvard University began its own dental school shortly afterward.

Harvard then agreed to rename Dentistry Doctor (DMD). Therefore:

  • DDS and DMD are equivalent degrees for dentists nationwide
  • Despite the perception of differences in these two levels, they are the same
  • The difference in terminology has more to do with the tradition of awarding Latin degrees at Harvard University.
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Difference between DDS and DMD
Difference between DDS and DMD

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