What is the difference between a DDS and DMD?

Oakland Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center

At some point you may have noticed some dentists have the title of DDS, while others have DMD after their name.  The important thing to know is that both titles mean the doctor has graduated from an accredited dental school.

DDS stands for Doctor of Dental Surgery
DMD stands for Doctor of Dental Medicine

They are the same degrees.  However, different schools award different degrees.

History shows that in 1840 the world’s first dental school was established in Baltimore, Maryland.  It was called Baltimore College of Dental Surgery.  Since then, it has merged and become the University of Maryland School of Dentistry.  Their graduates were awarded a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree.  This is where “DDS” originated.

Twenty-seven years later in 1867, Harvard University opened its dental school.  It was the first dental school to be affiliated with a major university.  Harvard granted their degrees in Latin.  The translation of Doctor of Dental Surgery into Latin was “Chirurgae Dentium Doctoris.”  Harvard officials did not like the translation.  They consulted with a Latin scholar and decided on “Dentariae Medicinae Doctorae” which means Doctor of Dental Medicine or abbreviated as DMD.

As time went on, more universities followed Harvard’s approach, while others continued awarding the DDS degree.  Despite the difference in names, the level of education and clinical training are the same.

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