Dentists are responsible for the health and maintenance of teeth and gums. Dentists repair caries, provide cleanings, add crowns, and replace teeth. Advanced specialties of dentistry include orthodontics, the straightening of teeth, and peridontics, the repair of gum lines. There is an ever increasing demand for dentists as the population ages.
To become a dentist, a student must graduate from an accredited School of Dentistry. The only accredited dental school in Missouri is at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. Admission into dental school requires the applicant to meet several criteria. The student must have a B.A. or a B.S. degree. The student must have taken several specific pre-requisite courses. Applicants must take the Dental Aptitude Test (DAT). And lastly, the student must have observed or gained detail information about the profession from a dentist.
Missouri Southern State College can prepare students to meet the above requirements. The pre-dental student can actually major in any discipline; however, because of the many required classes necessary to apply to dental school, most students elect to become Biology Majors.
The University of Missouri at Kansas City School of Dentistry has admissions requirements that mirror most other dental schools. The required courses for admission into dental school are: four semesters of biology, two semesters of inorganic chemistry, two semesters of organic chemistry, two semesters of physics, two semesters of English, and one semester of studio art. Most schools also strongly suggest that applicants have a minimum of 80 hours of observation of a dental office.
The American Dental Education Association has links to all of the accredited dental schools in the United States. Their site also has information about the Dental Aptitude Test (DAT). Prospective students are encouraged to research these sites to obtain additional information.
For more information about the pre-dental program at Missouri Southern, contact the Biology Department’s pre-dental advisor: Dr. Gerald T. Schlink.