Dentists are experts that identify and treat issues with teeth, gums and related parts of the mouth. If you are interested in becoming a dentist, here is what you must do.

What Does a Dentist Do?

The typical duties of dentists include:

  • Examining teeth and filling cavities.
  • Removing decayed teeth.
  • Performing operations as needed.
  • Prescribing treatments and medicines.
  • Taking measurements to make models for dental appliances, such as dentures.
  • Teaching patients about diets, flossing and other aspects of dental care.

How to Become a Dentist in Los Angeles?

To practice, dentists must complete a DDS or a DMD degree that has been accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). To enroll in one of these programs, candidates are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree with certain science courses, such as biology or chemistry. There are numerous schools in Los Angeles, California that offer these degrees such as, UCLA. The curriculum of dental schools typically teaches courses like, local anesthesia, anatomy, periodontics and radiology etc. All students are required to acquire clinical experience under the supervision of a licensed dentist during their DDS or DMD degree.

What Are the Steps of Obtaining a License for Dentists in Los Angeles?

A dentist who wishes to work in California may apply directly for licensure only if degree has been approved by the Dental Board of California. If your dental school is not accredited by the state board, then you must follow these steps to receive licensure in California.

  1. Step-1: NBDE Part I

You must get your degree evaluated by the concerned state board and then sit for the NBDE Part I exam. International students must apply for a 2-year Advanced Standing program after passing the exam. However, locals can directly proceed to Step-3.

  1. Step-2: The 2-Year Advanced Standing Program

The international students who obtained their DDS/DMD degrees outside the U.S. must take an additional 2-year course in a U.S. accredited dental program. This is usually referred to as an Advanced Standing Program.

  1. Step-3: NBDE Part II

If you have successfully completed the NBDE Part I program (and other conditions if applicable), then you are eligible to take the NBDE Part II exam. It can be taken as early as 45 days before completing your U.S. DDS degree.

  1. Step-4: Application for Licensure

After clearing all other requirements, you must apply for a license/certification. The application form must be accompanied with all relevant educational certificates and results of both NBDE exams.

How Much Can I Make as a Dentist in Los Angeles?


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the annual mean salary of Dentists from 2016 to 2018 as follows:

2016 2017 2018
Annual-Mean-Salary-(CA) $164,330 $157,890 $151,490
Annual-Mean-Salary-(US) $173,860 $174,110 $175,840

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

This income chart shows that the annual mean salary of dentists in the state of California has been consistently decreasing from 2016 to 2018. However, the national annual mean salary of this profession has been rising every year. The data on BLS website depicts that California has been placed as the number 1 state with the highest employment level for this profession since 2016.

Career Outlook of Dentists

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected a 7% employment growth for dentists in the U.S. from 2018 to 2028. This employment growth rate is considered to be much faster than the average for other occupations. Looking at this growth rate, it can be deduced that the career of dentists is very promising.