How to Become A Dentist

May 15, 2019

You have chosen your career path and are excited to head in the right direction, but how? If dentistry is your passion, then you need to know a few things about becoming a dentist in Alberta.

Maybe you are just curious about how your own dentist got started working on teeth. Do you want to ensure your dentist is qualified to give you advice and treat your dental concerns? Here are a few insights into becoming a dentist and what it takes before attacking those cavities. Next time you visit the dental office, you’ll have a better understanding of the dedication it takes to be in this profession.


Choosing a flavour of ice cream from the ice cream shop is hard, you love them all but there is usually one that stands out. Deciding on what type of dentist you want to be also has many choices. Do you want to be a general dentist or specialize in something like oral surgery, pediatrics, orthodontics, or public health? Depending on your passion, the decision you make requires years of training and supplemental courses.

How do you know if being a dentist is the right decision for you? Be sure you have an artist’s aesthetic sense, see detail in everything and have great manual dexterity. You will need all these things and more to perform precise procedures in a tiny area. It is also extremely important that you have good communication skills to help patients understand their dental situation.


Whichever graduate school you attend, there will be pre-requisites for admission into dentistry. What are the pre-requisites? Various courses are required depending on the post-secondary school you choose. You will absolutely need to have successfully completed courses in math and science.

An additional requirement for the entry into dental school is the submission of your Dental Aptitude Test (DAT) results. What is involved in the DAT? An evaluation of your general academic ability, comprehension of scientific information, manual dexterity, and two-and three-dimensional visual perception administered by the Canadian Dental Association (CDA).


You will be completing courses in pathology, anatomy, physiology, oral microbiology, molecular biology, pharmacology, radiology, neuroscience, and dental anesthesiology. During your time in the program, you will be immersed in hands-on practice. You will work with patients of the certified dentist you are observing.

Dental school takes 4-5 years to complete so adding this to your 4-year Bachelor’s degree, you will be in school for 8-9 years. Becoming a dentist is well worth the time and effort. After all, your passion is helping people with their teeth and oral health concerns.

Next time you are at the dentist’s office look for their Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) certificate hanging on the wall. Ask your dentist about their dental school experience to get first-hand advice. All Canadian dentists are required, by either the Canadian Dental Association Commission or the American Dental Association Commission, to pass written and clinical exams to achieve their certification.

Dental school is hard work. You can trust your dentist at Cambrian Dental to be well versed in all oral health details.

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