The Health Sciences Major may be used as a pre-professional curriculum for students wishing to apply to Dental School. The OU Health Sciences Center College of Dentistry offers a Doctor of Dental Surgery Degree.
The College of Dentistry considers applicants with a previous bachelor's degree in an appropriate field of study or those with 90 or more hours of college work. The majority of those admitted already have a bachelor’s degree.
SWOSU students may choose the Health Sciences Major to complete these 90 hours at SWOSU or obtain their degree in Health Sciences at SWOSU before applying to the College of Dentistry.
Dentists diagnose and treat problems of the teeth and tissues of the mouth. To accomplish these tasks, they may take X-rays, place protective plastic sealants on children’s teeth, fill cavities, straighten teeth, repair fractured teeth, and treat gum disease. Dentists remove teeth only when necessary and may provide dentures to replace missing teeth. They also perform corrective surgery of the gums and supporting bones. Dentists may also specialize in endodontics, the treatment of the root of the tooth; oral pathology, the treatment of diseases of the mouth; oral surgery; surgery of the gums and areas around and in the mouth; orthodontics, the straightening of teeth; pedodontics, children’s dentistry; and periodontics, the treatment of the gums and tissues supporting the teeth In addition, prosthodontics, the construction of artificial teeth or dentures, and public health dentistry, involving the prevention and control of dental disease, are also specialty areas.
Most dentists have their own private practice. Some dentists work in shopping malls; others contract with individual companies to provide dental services to a firm’s employees or work for HMO’s. Some dentists do research, teach, or hold positions in dental schools. Others work in hospitals and clinics. During the first year or two of practice, dentists often earn little more than the minimum needed to cover expenses, but their earnings usually rise rapidly as their practice develops. Specialists generally earn considerably more than general practitioners. The average income of dentists in general practice is $59,000 and those in specialty practices average $100,000 a year.
Dental schools require a minimum of three to four years of college-level predental education. Four out of five of the students entering dental schools have either a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree. Dental school generally lasts three to five years. During the last two years, the student gains practical experience by treating patients, usually in dental clinics. Dental schools award the degrees of either a Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) or the Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.D.M.). All 50 states require dentists to be licensed. To qualify for a license, a candidate must graduate from a dental school approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and pass written practical examinations. In most states, candidates can fulfill part of the state licensing requirements by passing a written examination given by the National board of Dental Examiners.