DDS Definition

What’s The Difference Between DDS and DMD?

You may have noticed when you’re inside a dentist’s office that their degree is hanging on the wall. If you look closely, you may see that they’ve received their degree in either “Doctor of Dental Surgery” or “Doctor of Dental Medicine.” Are those two degrees different, and if so, which type of dentist should you see for your mouth? We answer those questions in today’s blog.

Difference Between DDS and DMD

As we noted above, DDS stands for Doctor of Dental Surgery. DMD actually stands for a Latin phrase “Dentariae Medicinae Doctoris,” which translates tor Doctor of Dental Medicine. So while they are two different degrees, is one degree more coveted than the other?

According to the American Dental Association, the answer to that question is no. There is no difference between a degree in DDS or DMD. Dentists with either degree have graduated from an accredited dental school and have passed all necessary tests. Both a DDS degree and DMD degree offer the same type of dental training and both fulfill the curriculum requirements set forth by the American Dental Association. Whether they offer a DDS or DMD program is determined by the dental school.

Why The Confusion?

To understand why we have two essentially identical degrees in the US, we have to take a short history lesson. Back in the day, the only dental degree offered in the US was a DDS. That all changed back in 1867 when Harvard decided to add a dental school. In keeping with tradition, Harvard wanted to offer a degree named after a latin phrase. The phrase Doctor of Dental Surgery translates to “Chirurgae Dentium Doctoris,” which means the degree they would have offered would have been a CDD.

However, Harvard didn’t really feel that Chirurgae Dentium Doctoris rolled off the tongue or that it gave off an impressive tone, so after some deliberation, they settled on the abbreviation DMD, which stands for “Dentariae Medicinae Doctoris” in latin. Nowadays, it’s the school’s preference whether they offer the DMD or the DDS program.

So no, it doesn’t matter whether your doctor received his DDS degree or his DMD. They are both the same, and you can trust that if they have either hanging on the wall in the office that you are in good hands. To set up an appointment with Dr. Brooks, contact his office today.