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Updated on January 3, 2023
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Best Dental Schools in the U.S. [2023 Ranking]

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Quick Overview

It takes around 8 years of education before someone becomes a full-fledged dentist. You need a bachelor’s degree in any field. Then, you must obtain a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) or a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree. 

You will need to pass national and state examinations. To do this, a strong foundation is essential.

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

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Dental School

There are several factors to consider when choosing a dental school:

Student Body

The student population is the most important factor in determining which dental school you should attend. It's best to go to a school with students who have graduated and are already practicing dentistry.


You want to choose a school that's accessible. If you're going to be commuting, consider the time it takes to travel from home to school. On the other hand, if you plan to live on or near campus, check out schools that offer housing for their students.

Curriculum Type

The curriculum type will determine what kind of education you'll receive. For example, some 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.

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.


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.

Dental School Statistics

The past 20 years have seen fluctuations in the number of dental school enrollments.

For example, the first 3 years of the 2020s have shown a steady increase in the number of enrollments, followed by a decline for the next 4 years.4

The good news is that, since 2008, the numbers have risen steadily.4 With a projected 8% growth in dentist jobs in the next 10 years—an average of 5,000 dentists yearly—the enrollment numbers are expected to increase.2  

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

  • For the academic year 2021-2022, 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 2021-2031, there’s a projected 6% growth in job outlook
  • From 2021-2031, about 8,400 dentist jobs are expected to open up each year
  • The average annual salary for dentists is $163,220

Top 10 Dental Schools in the United States

Here are the top 10 dental schools in the US 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 to gain hands-on experiences. 

120 full-time faculty members are handling 15 different programs. The school also provides dental care and oral health services to the community.

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 United States.

Its Doctor of Dental Surgery (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. They provide exceptional clinical care.

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

3. Harvard University

Regarding top university 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 United States. 

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.

Hands-on experiences are gained 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 graduates over 100 students with its Doctor of Dental Dentistry degree.

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.

5. University of California, San Francisco

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

Hands-on experiences are gained from the school’s dental center, which sees more than 120,000 dental 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. 

6. University of Washington

The University of Washington’s School of Dentistry ranked #2 in last year’s Academic Ranking of World Universities by the Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. 

Dentistry students gain experiences through the following:

  • A mobile geriatric clinic
  • A specialty clinic for persons with disabilities
  • A 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 very own clinics.

7. University of Pennsylvania

Another Ivy League school made it to this list of the top 10 best dental schools in the United States. University of Pennsylvania’s School of Dental Medicine was established in 1878. The University of Pennsylvania provides DMD students with various degree options:

  • Bioethics
  • Business Administration
  • Education
  • Law
  • Public Health

The school also provides a wide range of clinical opportunities for its students, 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.

Students start their clinical training during the first year of the program. 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.

10. New York University

New York University (NYU) dental school is considered the largest in the United States. Nearly 10% of US 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 sets of patients. 

Real-world experiences are gained throughout a student’s four years of education.They work closely with the faculty, their group, and practice directors. NYU caters to approximately 300,000 patients annually, providing top-notch experiences and opportunities unlike anywhere else.

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

State School Address Contact No.
Alabama University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry Rm. 406
1919 7th Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35233
(205) 934-3000
Arizona A.T. Still University Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health 5850 E. Still Cir.
Mesa, AZ 85206
Arizona Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine - Arizona 19555 N 59th Ave.
Glendale, AZ 85308
(623) 572-3200
California Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC 925 West 34th St. Los Angeles, CA 90089-0641 (909) 558-4222
California Loma Linda University School of Dentistry 11092 Anderson St., Loma Linda, CA 92350 (213)
California University of California, Los Angeles, School of Dentistry 714 Tiverton Los Angeles, CA 90095 (310)
California University of California, San Francisco, School of Dentistry 707 Parnassus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94143, United States (415)
California University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry 155 5th St, San Francisco, CA 94103, United States (415)
California Western University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine 309 E. Second St. Pomona, CA 91766-1854 (909) 623-6116
Colorado The University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine 13065 East 17th Avenue
Aurora, CO 80045
(303) 724-6900
Connecticut University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine 263 Farmington Ave, Farmington, CT 06030, United States (844) 388-2666
District of Columbia Howard University College of Dentistry 600 W St NW #2005, Washington, DC 20059, United States (202) 806-6100
Florida Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Dental Medicine 4800 Lakewood Ranch Boulevard
Bradenton FL 34211-4909
(941) 405-1600
Florida Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine 3301 College Avenue Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796 (800) 541-6682
Florida University of Florida College of Dentistry 1395 Center Drive Gainesville, FL 32610 (352) 273-6700
Georgia Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University 1430 John Wesley Gilbert Drive, Augusta, GA 30912, United States (706)
Illinois Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine-Illinois 555 31st Street Downers Grove, IL 60515 (630)
Illinois Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine 2800 College Ave, Alton, IL 62002, United States (618) 474-7000
Illinois University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry 801 S Paulina St.
Chicago, IL 60612
United States
Indiana Indiana University School of Dentistry 1121 W Michigan St, Indianapolis, IN 46202, United States (317)
Iowa The University of Iowa College of Dentistry & Dental Clinics 801 Newton Rd, Iowa City, IA 52242, United States (319)
Kentucky University of Kentucky College of Dentistry 800 Rose St, Lexington, KY 40536, United States (859) 323-3368
Kentucky University of Louisville School of Dentistry 501 S Preston St, Louisville, KY 40202, United States (502) 852-5096
Louisiana Louisiana State University Health New Orleans School of Dentistry 1100 Florida Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119, United States (504) 619-8700
Maine University of New England College of Dental Medicine 11 Hills Beach Road
Biddeford, Maine 04005
(800) 477-4863
Maryland University of Maryland School of Dentistry 650 W Baltimore St, Baltimore, MD 21201, United States (410)
Massachusetts Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine 635 Albany St, Boston, MA 02118, United States (617)
Massachusetts Harvard School of Dental Medicine 188 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA 02115, United States (617)
Massachusetts Tufts University School of Dental Medicine 1 Kneeland St, Boston, MA 02111, United States (617)
Michigan University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry 2700 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Detroit, MI 48208, United States (313) 494-6700
Michigan University of Michigan School of Dentistry 1011 N University Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, United States (734) 763-6933
Minnesota University of Minnesota School of Dentistry 515 Delaware St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, United States (612)
Mississippi University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry 2500 N State St, Jackson, MS 39216, United States (601) 984-1000
Missouri A.T. Still University Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health 500 W Jefferson St, Kirksville, MO 63501, United States (866) 626-2878
Missouri University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry 650 E 25th St, Kansas City, MO 64108, United States (816)
Nebraska Creighton University School of Dentistry 2109 Cuming St, Omaha, NE 68102, United States (402) 280-5990
Nebraska University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry 4000 E Campus Loop, Lincoln, NE 68583, United States (402) 472-1333
Nevada University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine 1001 Shadow Ln, Las Vegas, NV 89106, United States (702) 774-2400
New Jersey Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, School of Dental Medicine 110 Bergen St, Newark, NJ 07103, United States (973) 972-4242
New York Columbia University College of Dental Medicine 622 W 168th St, New York, NY 10032, United States (212)
New York NYU College of Dentistry 345 E 24th St, New York, NY 10010, United States (212)
New York Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine South Dr, Stony Brook, NY 11794, United States (631) 632-8989
New York Touro College of Dental Medicine at New York Medical College 19 Skyline Dr, Hawthorne, NY 10532, United States (914) 594-2700
New York University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine 3435 Main St, Buffalo, NY 14214, United States (716)
North Carolina East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine 1851 MacGregor Downs Rd, Greenville, NC 27834, United States (252) 737-7000
North Carolina University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Adams School of Dentistry 385 S Columbia St, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, United States (919)
Ohio Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine 9601 Chester Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106, United States (216)
Ohio The Ohio State University College of Dentistry 305 W 12th Ave, Columbus, OH 43210, United States (614) 688-3763
Oklahoma University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry 1201 N Stonewall Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73117, United States (405)
Oregon Oregon Health & Science University School of Dentistry 611 SW Campus Dr, Portland, OR 97239, United States (503) 494-8311
Pennsylvania The Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry, Temple University 3223 N Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19140, United States (215)
Pennsylvania University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine 240 S 40th St, Philadelphia, PA 19104, United States (215)
Pennsylvania University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine 3501 Terrace St, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, United States (412)
South Carolina Medical University of South Carolina James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine 173 Ashley Ave, Charleston, SC 29425, United States (843) 792-2101
Tennessee Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry 1005 Dr DB Todd Jr Blvd, Nashville, TN 37208, United States (615)
Tennessee University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Dentistry 875 Union Ave, Memphis, TN 38103, United States (901) 448-6468
Texas Texas A&M College of Dentistry 3302 Gaston Ave, Dallas, TX 75246, United States (214)
Texas University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston 7500 Cambridge St, Houston, TX 77054, United States (713)
Texas UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry 7703 Floyd Curl Dr, San Antonio, TX 78229, United States (210)
Utah Roseman University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine - South Jordan, Utah 10920 S River Front Pkwy, South Jordan, UT 84095, United States (801)
Utah University of Utah School of Dentistry 530 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, United States (801)
Virginia Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry 520 N 12th St, Richmond, VA 23298, United States (804) 828-9190
Washington University of Washington School of Dentistry 1959 NE Pacific St B-307, Seattle, WA 98195, United States (206)
West Virginia West Virginia University School of Dentistry 1 Medical Center Dr, Morgantown, WV 26505, United States (304) 293-6208
Wisconsin Marquette University School of Dentistry 1801 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53233, United States (414)
Last updated on January 3, 2023
7 Sources Cited
Last updated on January 3, 2023
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).
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  2. "Dentists." Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  3. "Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021 29-1021 Dentists, General." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  4. "U.S. Dental School Applicants and Enrollees, 2021 Entering Class." ADEA Reports, American Dental Education Association.
  5. "Education." American Dental Association.
  6. "Specialty Definitions." Recognized Dental Specialties, National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards.
  7. "Deciding Where to Apply." American Dental Education Association.
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