Dentists are licensed experts who possess extensive knowledge and training in examining, diagnosing and providing treatment to patients with oral health problems.

Should I Become a Dentist in Tennessee?

Typical duties of dentists include,

  • Asking for patients’ medical histories,
  • Examining teeth, gums and other related organs of mouth,
  • Removing or repairing disease infected parts etc.

General Dentists do not specialize and therefore, they can get licensed after completing dental school. However, others who specialize get additional training to may work as, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, Prosthodontists, Orthodontists and so on.

Education Required At least a doctoral degree
Major Requirement CODA/ADA accredited DDS or DMD degree
License/Certification State issued license must be obtained
Experience/Training A 2 to 6 year residency is mandatory for all (Excluding General Dentists)
Key Skills Patience and Dexterity; Communication, Detail-oriented, Decision-making and Organizational Skills etc.
Annual Mean Salary

(National, 2019)

$178,260 (General Dentists)
Annual Mean Salary,

(Tennessee, 2019)

$173,360 (General Dentists)
Job Outlook


7% (Faster than the average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019)

Career Outlook

Job opportunities for dentists in the US has been predicted to increase by 7% during 2018-2028 by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. This prediction stems from the anticipation of increasing demand for dental services with rise in aging population. Moreover, the employment level for general dentists in the state of Tennessee was reported to be 1,410 in 2019 by the BLS.

Steps to Become a Dentist in Tennessee

Becoming a licensed dentist in the state of Tennessee depends on completion of a 5 step process. This guide explains the entire process step-by-step!

    1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree


The road to dentistry begins with a 4 year bachelor’s degree. It is a mandatory pre-requisite which you should complete. It would prepare you for the DAT as well as for the advanced curriculum of dental school.


    1. Taking the Dental Admissions Test (DAT)


After successful completion of a bachelor’s degree, you must clear the DAT. Dentistry is a highly competitive profession and without an excellent score on this test, enrolling in dental school would be very difficult.


    1. Completing Dental School

It is of utmost importance that you complete a CODA/ADA accredited DDS or DMD degree from a dental school because it is mandatory for licensure. The DDS/DMD degree usually takes 4 years to complete.


    1. Graduating from a Residency Program


If you want to specialize in a particular area after completing dental school, you must complete a residency program which is accredited by CODA/ADA. It can take anywhere between 2 to 6 years for you to complete residency depending upon your specialization.

    1. Getting the Tennessee State License

The Tennessee Board of Dentistry issues license to interested dentists. All prospective candidates need to submit a complete set of application with relevant documents to get a license.

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

Becoming a licensed dentist requires a great deal of patience and determination. It may take anywhere between 8 to 14 years for you to finally begin practice as a licensed dentist depending on the area you choose to work in.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Dentist in Tennessee?

The Tennessee Board of Dentistry issues several types of licenses such as,

  • By Examination
  • By Criteria (Reciprocity)
  • A Limited License
  • A Limited Educational License and
  • A Dual Degree License

The requirements of each type of license vary. Please visit the official website for details on a particular type of license.

How Much Can I Make as a Dentist in Tennessee?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported $173,360 as the annual mean salary for all General Dentists employed in the state of Tennessee in 2019. In addition to that, Rhode Island was reported as the highest paying state for this career with an annual mean salary of $262,900 in 2019.