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DDS and DMD represent two different dental degrees. All dentists are required to have one of these degrees, but you may wonder which is the better one. Keep reading to learn about the history and differences between the DDS and DMD degrees.

What Do They Mean?

  • DDS stands for Doctor of Dental Surgery.
  • DMD can stand for either Doctor of Dental Medicine or Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry.

What Are Their Origins?

  • The DDS degree was established first in 1840 when dentists Horace Hayden and Chapin Harris established the first dental school, the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery. This degree has the word “surgery” in its name because dentists were traditionally considered as a type of surgeon in ancient medicine.
  • The DMD degree developed when Harvard created the first university-affiliated dental school. They were initially going to use the DDS degree, but ran into a couple of problems. Their degrees were all in Latin, and they didn’t like how Doctor of Dental Surgery translated into Chirurgae Dentium Doctoris or the specification of “surgery” in its name. So they created the Dentariae Medicinae Doctorae degree (Doctor of Dental Medicine) which they felt better represented the dental field as a whole.

Which Is Better?

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), there is no difference between these degrees. They may have had different origins, but today they share the same curriculum. Dentists must take 4 years of dental school and pass national, state, and regional exams before becoming a licensed practitioner.