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How Do I Become an Emergency Dentist?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 17, 2024
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To become an emergency dentist you will need to complete a four-year degree program followed by dental school. Occasionally a school will have a shorter pre-dental program, but this is not common. Once you have your dental license, you may need additional training for emergency dental work. Many times you will be able to choose to specialize in emergency work even without additional training, unless you will be performing specialized work, such as braces repairs or cosmetic dentistry.

The first step to become an emergency dentist is to complete high school and then attend a four-year college. You should major in something involving science, such as biology or chemistry. Do your best to get excellent grades so you will be accepted into a reputable dental school. If you have already obtained a four-year degree in something other than a scientific topic, you may still be admitted to dental school if your grades are good enough.

Once you have your degree, the next step you’ll take to become an emergency dentist is attendance of a dental school. You will probably spend your first two years doing a combination of lab work to learn the practices of dentistry, as well as in class discussions and bookwork. The second two years may involve additional classroom study, but it will primarily focus on working with actual patients under the supervision of a trained dentist.

After four years, you will generally be able to take a test in order to become licensed as a dentist. If you want to specialize in a certain area of dentistry, you will have to attend additional classes to learn more specific skills. Specialties may include orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry. If you want to become an emergency dentist, you may wish to attend classes to learn more about each of these areas, although this isn’t always needed.

The ability to specialize in emergency dentistry often depends on personal choice. You can become an emergency dentist by obtaining employment at a clinic which specializes in emergency cases, or you can start your own practice. You may also work at a dentist’s office or clinic which offers emergency services after hours, and you could apply to be the dentist on call during those times. Some dentists also specialize in certain types of emergency work, such as tooth damage or extreme pain.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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