Dentists help and treat patients who have any problems or illnesses related to the gums, mouth or teeth. Their job includes carrying out and studying mouth X-rays, advising patients on oral care and hygiene, performing root canals, tooth replacements, extractions and filling dental cavities, etc.

As of 2019, Colorado has 2,280 general dentists operating within its borders according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Would you like to join this hardworking community of care providers? Read this guide to learn about how to become a dentist in The Centennial State.

Should I Become a Dentist in Colorado?

Education DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree
Major Requirement Dentistry
License / Certification Required
Experience/Training Required
Key Skills Problem Sensitivity, Critical Thinking, Arm-Hand Steadiness, Inductive and Deductive Reasoning, Judgment and Decision Making and Active Listening
Annual Mean Salary (2019) – National $ 178,260 (Dentists, General)
Job Outlook (2018-2028) 7%
Annual Mean Salary (2019) – Colorado $169,070 (Dentists, General)

Sources: O*NET OnLine and US Bureau of Labor Statistics

As a licensed dentist in the state, you will either pick a specialty to work in or provide general dentistry services. The former requires extra education and training compared to the latter. Like any other type of medical practitioners, dentists are also no strangers to long work hours.

Career Outlook

According to data gathered by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for dentists are likely to increase by about 7% from 2018 to 2028. This increase is more than that predicted for various other occupations. Also, with an increasing number of senior citizens, demand for basic and advanced dental services will increase.

Steps to Become a Dentist in Colorado

Follow these steps to become a dentist in The Centennial State.

    1. Enroll in a Bachelor’s Degree Program


The first thing you must do is get a Bachelor’s degree. There is no compulsion with regards to area of specialization but you are advised to take a few science courses at least. Many dental schools also offer students the opportunity to join a dental program early (after 2 or 3 years of undergrad studies) and earn their Bachelor’s degree as part of the dental studies program.


    1. Sit for the Dental Admission Test


Once you have earned your undergraduate degree, it is time to sit for the DAT (Dental Admission Test). You must score as high as you can to enhance your chances of entry to dental school.


    1. Head to Dental School


Next up will be a 4-year stint in dental school which will culminate with you earning either a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree. Be aware that you need to choose a school whose program has been accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). The commission works under the auspices of the American Dental Association (ADA).


    1. Get Your Practicing License


After getting your DDS or DMD degree, you have to forward your licensing application to the Colorado Dental Board. Passing the National Board Dental Examination (NBDE) and a state-endorsed clinical test is a must for eligibility.


    1. Specialty (Optional)


If you decide to become a specialist rather than a general dentist, then you have the following options.

  • Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
  • Dental Public Health
  • Prosthodontics
  • Periodontics
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Endodontics

You will spend an additional 2 to 4 years studying and training (residency programs) in your chosen specialty.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Dentist in Colorado?

The normal time taken to become a dentist in Colorado is 8 years. Out of these, the first 4 are spent earning a Bachelor’s degree while the next 4 are spent in dental school. If you decide to go for a specialty afterwards, then you will be spending another few years studying and training in your area of specialization.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Dentist in Colorado?

You have to fulfill the criteria listed below to become a dentist in Colorado.

  • Finishing undergrad education.
  • Earning a dental degree (Doctor of Dental Medicine or Doctor of Dental Surgery).
  • Getting licensed by the Colorado Dental Board.
  • Deciding to work either as a general dentist or a specialist.


How Much Can I Make as a Dentist in Colorado?

In 2019, Colorado’s dentists earned an annual mean wage of $169,070. This is according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.