Dentists treat patients suffering from various diseases/illnesses of the mouth, gums and teeth. Their day-to-day responsibilities include providing oral care advice, carrying out X-rays of the mouth, performing root canals, extractions and tooth replacements, etc.
As of 2019, Massachusetts has over 2,900 general dentists working within its borders. If you want to join their ranks, then this piece is a must-read. It will tell you everything you need to know about becoming a Dentist in The Bay State.

Should I Become a Dentist in Massachusetts?

Education

DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree
Major Requirement Dentistry
License/Certification Required
Experience/Training Required

Key Skills

Arm-Hand Steadiness, Communication, Problem Sensitivity, Complex Problem Solving, Judgment and Decision Making,
Annual Mean Salary (2019) – National $ 178,260 (Dentists, General)
Job Outlook (2018-2028) 7%
Annual Mean Salary (2019) – Massachusetts $192,860 (Dentists, General)

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

Career Outlook

Employment opportunities for dentists are projected to increase by 7% from 2018 to 2028. This is faster than the expected average growth for most other occupations. An ageing population means the demand for dental services will also increase in the coming years.

Steps to Become a Dentist in Massachusetts

The following steps will help you on your journey to becoming a Dentist in Massachusetts.

  1. Get an Undergraduate Degree
  2. You can pick any subject to specialize in during your Bachelor’s studies. However, taking a few courses in sciences (physics, biology, chemistry, etc.) will definitely help later on. Depending on where you want to go to dental school, you may be able to join it after completing 3 of the 4 years (or 2 of the 4 years) of undergraduate education. In this way, you will attain the Bachelor’s degree as part of your dental education.

  1. Pass the Dental Admission Test (DAT)
  2. Following the completion of undergrad studies, you can sit for the DAT (Dental Admission Test). Entry to dental school depends heavily on the score of this exam. So, you must try to do as well as possible.

  1. Enroll in Dental School

  2. You will spend 4 years in dental school in pursuit of either a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree. Make sure the program at your chosen school has been accredited by the ADA’s (American Dental Association) Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).

  1. Get Licensed
  2. After finishing dental school, you have to get your practicing license from the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Dentistry. For eligibility, you must qualify the National Board Dental Examination (NBDE) as well as a board-approved clinical exam.

  1. Specialize (Optional)

  2. While working in general dentistry is the preference for most professionals, some may decide to specialize in a particular area. Following are the options for specialization.

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

You will also need 2 to 4 years of further education to become a specialist. Residency training might also be required to obtain the specialist license from the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Dentistry.

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

You will need about 8 years to become a Dentist in Massachusetts. This includes 4 years of undergraduate studies and 4 years of dental school. However, if you decide to become a specialist, then you will need 2 to 4 more years of education while also spending a couple of years in residency afterwards.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Dentist in Massachusetts?

Aspiring dentists in Massachusetts must fulfill the requirements listed below.

  • Obtain a Bachelor’s degree.
  • Go to dental school for either a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) or a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree.
  • Get a license from the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Dentistry.
  • Make a choice between going the general dentistry route and choosing a specialty.

How Much Can I Make after Becoming a Dentist in Massachusetts?

As indicated by the latest available records of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, general dentists in Massachusetts drew an annual mean wage of $192,860 in 2019.