The role of a dentist involves treating problems related to the teeth, gums and mouth. Studying mouth X-rays, giving oral hygiene advice and performing procedures like extraction and root canal are some of the things they do.

According to the 2019 records of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 250 licensed general dentists in South Dakota. Want to join them? Read this guide to understand how to become a dentist in The Mount Rushmore State.

Should I Become a Dentist in South Dakota?

Education DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) or DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree
Major Requirement Dentistry
License/Certification Required
Experience / Training Required
Key Skills Finger Dexterity, Communication, Active Listening, Complex Problem Solving, Judgment and Decision Making.
Annual Mean Salary (2019) – National $ 178,260
Job Outlook (2018-2028) 7%
Annual Mean Salary (2019) – South Dakota $185,350

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

As a dentist, you will have the option of working in general dentistry or choosing a specialty. For the latter, you will need a further 2 to 4 years of education and training. Dentists frequently work long hours, just like most other medical professionals.

Career Outlook

Between 2018 and 2028, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment opportunities for dentists to grow by 7%. This is more than the projected increase for most other professions. Also, the demand for dental services will increase as more people grow old.

Steps to Become a Dentist in South Dakota

The procedure outlined below will help you become a dentist in South Dakota.

  1. Obtain Your Bachelor’s Degree
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  2. Get your Bachelor’s degree in any subject or area of study that you prefer. However, it is advisable to take at least a few courses in sciences like biology, chemistry, psychology and physics, etc. Quite a few dental schools also accept candidates with 2 or 3 years of undergrad education. Under such a stream, students are awarded their Bachelor’s degrees as part of the dental education program.

  1. Qualify the Dental Admission Test
  2. After earning your undergraduate degree, you will be eligible to sit for the Dental Admission Test (DAT). Entry to dental school depends heavily on the outcome of this exam.

  1. Join a Dental School
  2. Dental school takes 4 years to finish. You will study for a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) or a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree. The program at your school of choice must be approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) of the American Dental Association (ADA).

  1. Get Licensed
  2. After finishing dental school, you can apply for your license from the South Dakota State Board of Dentistry. Qualifying the National Board Dental Examination (NBDE) and a state-accepted clinical assessment are binding eligibility requirements. Refer to the South Dakota State Board of Dentistry website for further information in this regard.

  1. Choose a Specialty If You Want
  2. You can choose one of the following areas of specialty if you plan on becoming a specialist instead of working in general dentistry.

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


To complete specialist education and training (residency), you will need an extra 2 to 4 years.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Dentist in South Dakota?

Becoming a dentist in South Dakota takes a minimum of 8 years. The first 4 are spent studying for a Bachelor’s degree while the next 4 are spent in dental school. Additional education and training (2 to 4 years) is needed if you want to work as a specialist.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Dentist in South Dakota?

The requirements for becoming a Dentist in South Dakota are mentioned below.

  • Getting an undergrad degree.
  • Attaining a dental degree (either a Doctor of Dental Medicine or Doctor of Dental Surgery).
  • Obtaining a license from the South Dakota State Board of Dentistry.
  • Working either as a specialist or a general dentistry practitioner.

How Much Can I Make after Becoming a Dentist in South Dakota?

In 2019, dental practitioners in South Dakota earned an annual mean wage of $185,350. This is according to the most updated information provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.