If you’ve ever paid close attention to the names and credentials of the specialists who work at Towson Center for Dental Implants and Periodontics, you may have noticed they’re not the same. Or are they?
Many people have asked us, “what is the difference between a dentist who is a DDS vs. one who is a DMD?” Both Drs. Kathryn Mutzig and Keyla Torres have “DMD” after their name, while Dr. James Kassolis holds a DDS. So, what do the abbreviations signify, and is there a difference between them?
DDS = Doctor of Dental Surgeryâ€¨
DMD = Doctor of Medical Dentistry
So what do these titles mean? DDS or DMD Indicates the degree awarded upon graduation from dental school to become a general dentist. There is no difference between the two degrees; dentists who have a DMD or DDS have the same education. Universities have the prerogative to determine what degree is awarded. Some schools have offered both for different periods of time. The degrees use the same curriculum requirements set by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation. Generally, three or more years of undergraduate education plus four years of dental school is required to graduate and become a general dentist. State licensing boards accept either degree as equivalent, and both degrees allow licensed individuals to practice the same scope of general dentistry. All doctors who work in the mouth began their careers as either a DDS or DMD. Specialists, such as orthodontists, oral surgeons, endodontists or periodontists like us received extra training in their field of choice. Many times this includes residencies in hospitals, and several years’ additional education.
The following fields are not recognized specialties:
- Cosmetic dentistry
- Implant dentistry or implantology
You may find dentists who advertise as cosmetic or implant dentists. This does not imply specialization or even expertise. It may be used more as a marketing title, rather than true expertise. Some dentists, although not formally trained, may have received in-depth studies on cosmetic techniques or implant dentistry which provides them more knowledge and skills in these fields. Patients should ask questions about such trainings and dentist’s expertise to help them make better and more engaged decisions.