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What is the Difference Between a DMD and a DDS?

What is the Difference Between a DMD and a DDS?

There are two different standard abbreviations for dentists: DMD and DDS. Most people don’t know the difference, which can raise some fair questions. Are they the same, or does one hold an advantage over the other? This article will delve into the distinctions between a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) and a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) and explain their relevance to your dental health.

Which is More Common: DDS or DMD?

Both DMD and DDS degrees are awarded to individuals who have completed dental school and are licensed to practice dentistry. However, the difference in titles often leads to needless confusion among patients. Here are the major differences between the two:

1. DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery): The DDS degree is the more traditional title. Dentists holding a DDS degree are often called “oral surgeons.” This designation has been in use since the inception of dental schools in the United States, with many dental schools still conferring this degree.

2. DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine): The DMD degree is newer and was introduced to reflect a broader approach to dentistry, focusing on oral health in the context of overall health. Dentists with a DMD degree have undergone the same rigorous dental education and training as their DDS counterparts.

In essence, both DMDs and DDSs are equally qualified to provide dental care. The choice of title is mainly a matter of tradition and preference, and it does not impact the quality of care.

What is Better: DDS or DMD?

So, is one better than the other? The answer to this question largely depends on individual preferences and specific dental needs.

1. Dentist’s Expertise: Whether a dentist holds a DMD or DDS, their expertise results from the same rigorous dental education and clinical training. What truly matters is the dentist’s commitment to continuing education and staying updated on the latest advancements in dentistry.

2. Personal Connection: Building a strong, trusting relationship with your dentist is crucial for your overall dental health. Consider factors such as communication skills, empathy, and the dentist’s ability to address your concerns when making your choice.

3. Specialization: Some dentists specialize in specific areas of dentistry, such as orthodonticsperiodontics, or oral surgery. If you require specialized dental care, finding a dentist with the appropriate specialization is more important than focusing solely on their degree title.

4. Location and Convenience: Practical considerations such as the dentist’s location, office hours, and accepted insurance plans can also significantly influence your decision-making process. Make sure to ask questions and double-check to make sure they’re a good fit.


In summary, choosing between a DMD and a DDS should not be the primary factor in selecting your dentist. Both represent the same level of education and training, ensuring that the dentist is well-qualified to provide dental care. Instead, focus on finding a dentist who meets your needs, makes you feel comfortable, and prioritizes your oral health. Ultimately, your dental experience will be defined by the quality of care and the relationship you build with your chosen dentist rather than their degree title.

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