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DDS vs. DMD: A Dental Degree Breakdown

Posted on December 27th, 2021

Highlands Ranch dentist, Dr. Twiss at Twiss Dental, discusses the difference between a DDS and DMD dental degree. Hint: It’s smaller than you might suspect!If you are looking for a dentist in Highlands Ranch, you may have picked up on the fact that there are two types of dental degrees – DDS and DMD. Perhaps you’ve noticed that there are far more of one than the other, or maybe they are split 50/50. 

Either way, you’re probably wondering what the difference is, and how this will affect your dental care. At Twiss Dental, we love to spread the word about all things dental, so here are the facts, straight from Dr. Twiss.

The Difference Between DDS & DMD

You have the right to know what training your health care professionals have received so that you can choose the best fit for your needs. Most folks know there are specialties in dental medicine, such as orthodontics (braces), periodontics (gums), and cosmetic dentistry, but what separates one dental degree from the other? The short answer: the difference is exactly one letter.

Both DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) and DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) indicate that an individual is a certified doctor of dental medicine. Although there are subtle differences in curricula within and between the two degrees, the American Dental Association considers them identical. Anyone with a DDS or DMD is qualified to practice general dentistry.

Why Are There DMDs and DDSs?

Your next question may be – why the distinction if they’re identical? Another short answer: Harvard. Before 1867, the DDS was the only dental degree available. Harvard tradition dictates their degrees have Latin names, so the Dentariae Medicinae Doctor (Doctor of Dental Medicine) or DMD debuted when they opened a dental school that same year. Now you know – there is no difference between the DDS and the DMD dental degree, except that the dentist that holds a DMD received their dental degree from Harvard. 

Whether you are searching for a new dentist or your curiosity just got the best of you, we hope this article quenched your thirst for dental degree knowledge. If you have any questions or would like to vent about the silliness of DDS versus DMD degrees, please contact us at Twiss Dental today!


The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

About Tyler Twiss, DMD, MBA

Dr. Twiss grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is married with four children and loves being involved with them as they grow up. Dr. Twiss has spent extensive time in advancing his dental education. He received his Fellowship with the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, spending over 150 hours in training with world-renowned implant pioneer Dr. Carl Misch. In addition to dental implants, Dr. Twiss has extensive training in orthodontics, Invisalign®, laser gum surgery, and CEREC® one-visit porcelain crown technology.

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