Updated on February 1, 2024
15 min read

Best Dental Schools in the U.S. [2024 Ranking]

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Quick Overview

It takes around 8 years of education to become a dentist. You need a bachelor’s degree in any field, preferably in the sciences. Then, you must obtain a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) or a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from a dental school.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that dentist jobs will grow 6% by 2031. Dentistry is a popular career choice, thanks to a consistent need for clinicians and a median annual salary of around $160,000.2 

Most dental schools are highly competitive. These programs offer the foundation of academic learning and hands-on experience needed to pass national and state examinations. 

The top 10 dental schools in the U.S. are:

  1. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
  2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  3. Harvard University
  4. University of California, Los Angeles
  5. University of California, San Francisco
  6. University of Washington
  7. University of Pennsylvania
  8. University at Buffalo, the State University of New York
  9. University of Iowa
  10. New York University

Top 10 Dental Schools in the United States

Here are the top 10 dental schools in the U.S., according to ShanghaiRanking’s 2022 Global Ranking of Academic Subjects:1

1. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor has a wide network of affiliated clinics that provide extensive opportunities and exposure for dentistry students. 

The school has 120 full-time faculty members handling 15 different programs. You can pursue an MBA or PhD while getting your DDS. You can also pursue a Master’s degree in an advanced specialization such as:

  • Endodontics
  • Oral health sciences
  • Orthodontics
  • Pediatric dentistry
  • Periodontics
  • Prosthodontics
  • Restorative dentistry

 The school also provides community dental care and oral health services.

2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Adams School of Dentistry has consistently been on the list of the best dental schools in the U.S.

Its DDS Program boasts a curriculum that follows the Advocate-Clinician-Thinker (ACT) premise. Dentistry students are trained to be problem-solvers and act as their patients’ advocates.

Students gain clinical experience through 50 rotation sites in North Carolina, with two free student-led dental clinics. These clinics provide dental and oral care to more than 90,000 patients annually.

3. Harvard University

Regarding top dental school rankings, Harvard University never falls off the list — both in the country and in dental schools worldwide. This Ivy League school houses one of the best dental schools in the U.S. 

The Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) is located in the Longwood Medical Area in Boston. For a portion of their coursework, HSDM students typically study together with Harvard medical students.

HDSM has a robust research component, with nine research labs where students can work.

Students gain hands-on experiences through clinical rotations at the Harvard Dental Center, which caters to more than 25,000 patients yearly.

4. University of California, Los Angeles

The University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Dentistry admits 88 students yearly to its Doctor of Dental Surgery degree program.

Most of this school’s graduates either go on to obtain post-graduate training or earn advanced degrees in oral biology. During their second year, UCLA students start their hands-on patient care.

They continue to gain clinical experiences through rotations in various community service projects and specialty clinics. 

After graduation, UCLA students can participate in a dental residency program offered by the school. Students pursuing specialized residencies can choose from fields such as:

  • Maxillofacial prosthetics
  • Oral and maxillofacial radiology
  • Orofacial pain and dysfunction
  • General practice

5. University of California, San Francisco

The University of California in San Francisco (UCSF) School of Dentistry provides students with clinical education and research opportunities. It produces more than 100 graduates each year. 

Hands-on experiences happen at the school’s dental center, which sees more than 120,000 patients annually.

The UCSF School of Dentistry also scores high points for research. It has been the number one U.S. dental school based on funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). They have a Center to Address Disparities in Children’s Oral Health that studies ways to improve the overall oral health in children where tooth decay is more frequent.

6. University of Washington

The University of Washington’s School of Dentistry ranked second in last year’s Academic Ranking of World Universities by the Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. 

Dentistry students gain experiences through a:

  • Mobile geriatric clinic
  • Specialty clinic for persons with disabilities
  • Specialty clinic for people with psychological conditions and significant dental fears

Additionally, there are plenty of opportunities to gain clinical experiences in places such as Seattle Children’s Hospital, Harborview Medical Center, and the School of Dentistry’s specialty clinics.

UW students can go on to pursue advanced degrees in specialties like endodontics and periodontics, or go further with a PhD.

7. University of Pennsylvania

Another Ivy League school, the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Dental Medicine, was established in 1878. 

The University of Pennsylvania provides DMD students with various dual-degree options:

  • Bioethics
  • Nutrition Science
  • Translational Research
  • Law
  • Public Health

Students can pursue additional advanced degrees or residencies.

The school also provides students a wide range of clinical opportunities, with outreach programs for the community. Its Primary Care Unit provides dental care and services to approximately 22,000 patients annually.

8. University at Buffalo, the State University of New York

The University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine (UBDM) provides comprehensive study programs to its dentistry students, focusing on research and clinical practice.

UBDM has multiple departments that specialize in various areas of dentistry, including:

  • Oral biology
  • Oral diagnostic sciences
  • Pediatric and community dentistry
  • Orthodontics
  • Restorative dentistry

Students start their clinical training during the first year. Approximately 500 students are pursuing either a DDS degree or a dual degree program of DDS with a Master of Business Administration degree.

 9. University of Iowa

Since its establishment in 1882, the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics has been a leading institution in patient care, dental education, and oral science research. It is the only dental school in Iowa, with 78% of the state’s dentists graduating from this university.

Their dental program is comprehensive and competitive. It focuses on teaching its students the importance of critical thinking and problem-based learning. Their dental clinics see over 170,000 patients annually.

The university offers several unique specializations in the form of advanced degrees or residencies. Some standouts from their program are:

  • Dental public health
  • Geriatric and special needs
  • Operative dentistry residency
  • Oral pathology, radiology, and medicine

10. New York University

New York University (NYU) dental school is considered the largest in the U.S. Nearly 10% of U.S. dentists have earned their degrees at NYU. Its College of Dentistry graduates nearly 400 DDS students each year. 

Dentistry students take courses in different clinical, behavioral, and biomedical areas. NYU provides extensive clinical experiences involving diverse patients.

Real-world experiences are prominent at NYU. Students work closely with the faculty, their group, and practice directors. NYU’s dental school cares for approximately 300,000 patients annually.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Dental School

You’ll need to consider several factors when choosing a dental school. These can help you determine the program’s quality and if it fits your needs.

Major factors to consider include:

Student Body

It’s best to go to a dental school with students who have graduated and are already practicing dentistry. If a program is too new to have graduates, it can be more difficult to evaluate its quality. 

You may consider contacting alumni from each of your potential dental schools to discuss their experience and whether they recommend the school.


Location may be important if you want to stay in a certain region. If you must commute, consider the time it takes to travel from home to school. If you plan to live on or near campus, research dental schools that offer student housing.

You may also want to consider whether you’d enjoy living in the school’s town before selecting it. Dental schools often have strong ties to their community, so you’ll be interacting with the local population.

Curriculum Type

The curriculum each school offers will determine what kind of education you’ll receive. For example, some dental schools only focus on basic science courses first, while others blend them into clinical rotations. Others may also require pre-clinical training before starting clinical work.

Dental Experiences Provided

Some schools provide more hands-on training than others. This could mean that the dental experiences are clinical or community-centric. If you learn by doing, consider schools with more robust hands-on training.

Clinical experiences will differ at each dental school. Explore program options if you have an interest in working with a certain population or niche.

Research or Clinical Focus

Some schools specialize in research, while others focus on patient care. You might find yourself doing more lab work at one school than another.

If you have a strong interest in research, check to see how much funding each program receives. Research funding adds credibility to a dental school and may improve its ranking. It also indicates how much research opportunity there may be for students.


Schools vary widely in terms of facilities. In some cases, other schools may require you to pay extra money to use certain equipment or labs.


Some schools offer a generalist dental program. Others may offer different concentrations.

Specializations may include oral and craniofacial medicine, pediatric dentistry, and oral and maxillofacial surgery.


The American Dental Association (ADA) reviews dental school programs and determines their accreditation status. Accreditation from the ADA indicates a program meets a rigorous quality standard. 

Attending an accredited dental school is essential for a successful career. If your school isn’t ADA-accredited, you may receive a lower quality education or be ineligible to pass national and state examinations.

Dental School Statistics

The past 20 years have shown fluctuations in dental school enrollments. For example, the first 3 years of the 2000s showed a steady increase in enrollments, followed by a decline the following 4 years.4

The good news is that, since 2008, the numbers have risen steadily.4 With a projected 6% growth in dentist jobs in the next 10 years—an average of 5,100 dentists yearly—enrollment numbers are expected to increase.2  

Here are some important dental school applicant statistics from the ADA and the American Dental Education Association (ADEA):4,5 

  • For the 2021 to 2022 academic year, there were 74,158 dental school applications submitted to 67 dental schools.
  • From these applications, 11,756 applicants were screened, averaging at 1,123.6 per dental school.
  • From these applicants, there were 6,360 first-year enrollees.
  • In 2021, there were 6,665 dental school graduates.
  • The number of dental school graduates increased by 0.85% from 2020 to 2021.

Other highlights from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data include:2,3

  • There are currently 146,200 dentists in the country.
  • From 2021 to 2031, there’s a projected 6% growth in job outlook.
  • From 2021 to 2031, about 8,400 dentist jobs are expected to open up each year.
  • The average annual salary for dentists is $163,220.

Full List of Accredited Dental Schools in the United States

Here is a list of all the dental schools in the U.S. accredited by the American Dental Education Association:7

StateSchoolAddressContact No.
AlabamaUniversity of Alabama at Birmingham School of DentistryRm. 406
1919 7th Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35233
(205) 934-3000
ArizonaA.T. Still University Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health5850 E. Still Cir.
Mesa, AZ 85206
ArizonaMidwestern University College of Dental Medicine – Arizona19555 N 59th Ave.
Glendale, AZ 85308
(623) 572-3200
CaliforniaHerman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC925 West 34th St. Los Angeles, CA 90089-0641(909) 558-4222
CaliforniaLoma Linda University School of Dentistry11092 Anderson St., Loma Linda, CA 92350(213)
CaliforniaUniversity of California, Los Angeles, School of Dentistry714 Tiverton Los Angeles, CA 90095(310)
CaliforniaUniversity of California, San Francisco, School of Dentistry707 Parnassus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94143, United States(415)
CaliforniaUniversity of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry155 5th St, San Francisco, CA 94103, United States(415)
CaliforniaWestern University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine309 E. Second St. Pomona, CA 91766-1854(909) 623-6116
ColoradoThe University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine13065 East 17th Avenue
Aurora, CO 80045
(303) 724-6900
ConnecticutUniversity of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine263 Farmington Ave, Farmington, CT 06030, United States(844) 388-2666
District of ColumbiaHoward University College of Dentistry600 W St NW #2005, Washington, DC 20059, United States(202) 806-6100
FloridaLake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Dental Medicine4800 Lakewood Ranch Boulevard
Bradenton FL 34211-4909
(941) 405-1600
FloridaNova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine3301 College Avenue Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796(800) 541-6682
FloridaUniversity of Florida College of Dentistry1395 Center Drive Gainesville, FL 32610(352) 273-6700
GeorgiaDental College of Georgia at Augusta University1430 John Wesley Gilbert Drive, Augusta, GA 30912, United States(706)
IllinoisMidwestern University College of Dental Medicine-Illinois555 31st Street Downers Grove, IL 60515(630)
IllinoisSouthern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine2800 College Ave, Alton, IL 62002, United States(618) 474-7000
IllinoisUniversity of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry801 S Paulina St.
Chicago, IL 60612
United States
IndianaIndiana University School of Dentistry1121 W Michigan St, Indianapolis, IN 46202, United States(317)
IowaThe University of Iowa College of Dentistry & Dental Clinics801 Newton Rd, Iowa City, IA 52242, United States(319)
KentuckyUniversity of Kentucky College of Dentistry800 Rose St, Lexington, KY 40536, United States(859) 323-3368
KentuckyUniversity of Louisville School of Dentistry501 S Preston St, Louisville, KY 40202, United States(502) 852-5096
LouisianaLouisiana State University Health New Orleans School of Dentistry1100 Florida Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119, United States(504) 619-8700
MaineUniversity of New England College of Dental Medicine11 Hills Beach Road
Biddeford, Maine 04005
(800) 477-4863
MarylandUniversity of Maryland School of Dentistry650 W Baltimore St, Baltimore, MD 21201, United States(410)
MassachusettsBoston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine635 Albany St, Boston, MA 02118, United States(617)
MassachusettsHarvard School of Dental Medicine188 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA 02115, United States(617)
MassachusettsTufts University School of Dental Medicine1 Kneeland St, Boston, MA 02111, United States(617)
MichiganUniversity of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry2700 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Detroit, MI 48208, United States(313) 494-6700
MichiganUniversity of Michigan School of Dentistry1011 N University Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, United States(734) 763-6933
MinnesotaUniversity of Minnesota School of Dentistry515 Delaware St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, United States(612)
MississippiUniversity of Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry2500 N State St, Jackson, MS 39216, United States(601) 984-1000
MissouriA.T. Still University Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health500 W Jefferson St, Kirksville, MO 63501, United States(866) 626-2878
MissouriUniversity of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry650 E 25th St, Kansas City, MO 64108, United States(816)
NebraskaCreighton University School of Dentistry2109 Cuming St, Omaha, NE 68102, United States(402) 280-5990
NebraskaUniversity of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry4000 E Campus Loop, Lincoln, NE 68583, United States(402) 472-1333
NevadaUniversity of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine1001 Shadow Ln, Las Vegas, NV 89106, United States(702) 774-2400
New JerseyRutgers, The State University of New Jersey, School of Dental Medicine110 Bergen St, Newark, NJ 07103, United States(973) 972-4242
New YorkColumbia University College of Dental Medicine622 W 168th St, New York, NY 10032, United States(212)
New YorkNYU College of Dentistry345 E 24th St, New York, NY 10010, United States(212)
New YorkStony Brook University School of Dental MedicineSouth Dr, Stony Brook, NY 11794, United States(631) 632-8989
New YorkTouro College of Dental Medicine at New York Medical College19 Skyline Dr, Hawthorne, NY 10532, United States(914) 594-2700
New YorkUniversity at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine3435 Main St, Buffalo, NY 14214, United States(716)
North CarolinaEast Carolina University School of Dental Medicine1851 MacGregor Downs Rd, Greenville, NC 27834, United States(252) 737-7000
North CarolinaUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Adams School of Dentistry385 S Columbia St, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, United States(919)
OhioCase Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine9601 Chester Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106, United States(216)
OhioThe Ohio State University College of Dentistry305 W 12th Ave, Columbus, OH 43210, United States(614) 688-3763
OklahomaUniversity of Oklahoma College of Dentistry1201 N Stonewall Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73117, United States(405)
OregonOregon Health & Science University School of Dentistry611 SW Campus Dr, Portland, OR 97239, United States(503) 494-8311
PennsylvaniaThe Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry, Temple University3223 N Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19140, United States(215)
PennsylvaniaUniversity of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine240 S 40th St, Philadelphia, PA 19104, United States(215)
PennsylvaniaUniversity of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine3501 Terrace St, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, United States(412)
South CarolinaMedical University of South Carolina James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine173 Ashley Ave, Charleston, SC 29425, United States(843) 792-2101
TennesseeMeharry Medical College School of Dentistry1005 Dr DB Todd Jr Blvd, Nashville, TN 37208, United States(615)
TennesseeUniversity of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Dentistry875 Union Ave, Memphis, TN 38103, United States(901) 448-6468
TexasTexas A&M College of Dentistry3302 Gaston Ave, Dallas, TX 75246, United States(214)
TexasUniversity of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston7500 Cambridge St, Houston, TX 77054, United States(713)
TexasUT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry7703 Floyd Curl Dr, San Antonio, TX 78229, United States(210)
UtahRoseman University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine – South Jordan, Utah10920 S River Front Pkwy, South Jordan, UT 84095, United States(801)
UtahUniversity of Utah School of Dentistry530 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, United States(801)
VirginiaVirginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry520 N 12th St, Richmond, VA 23298, United States(804) 828-9190
WashingtonUniversity of Washington School of Dentistry1959 NE Pacific St B-307, Seattle, WA 98195, United States(206)
West VirginiaWest Virginia University School of Dentistry1 Medical Center Dr, Morgantown, WV 26505, United States(304) 293-6208
WisconsinMarquette University School of Dentistry1801 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53233, United States(414)


The top 10 dental schools in the U.S. include the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Harvard. 

These dental schools are accredited by the ADA and offer high-quality, rigorous education for future dentists. They may provide unique specializations, hands-on experiences, and research opportunities.

Consider factors such as student body, location, research funding, curriculum, and facilities when choosing a dental school. If you have an interest in a certain niche, find a school that offers a specialization in your desired focus area.

Last updated on February 1, 2024
7 Sources Cited
Last updated on February 1, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. 2022 Global Ranking of Academic Subjects.” ShanghaiRanking, 2023.
  2. Dentists.” Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2023.
  3. Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021 29-1021 Dentists, General.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2023.
  4. U.S. Dental School Applicants and Enrollees, 2021 Entering Class.” ADEA Reports, American Dental Education Association, 2023.
  5. Education.” American Dental Association, 2023.
  6. Recognized dental specialties.” National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Board, 2023.
  7. Deciding Where to Apply.” American Dental Education Association, 2022.
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