Natural and holistic dentists are passionate about providing safe, conservative oral health care to patients. While it may seem to some that a holistic dentist isn’t as accredited as a traditional dentist, this simply isn’t true. All practicing dentists must complete dental school and pass all national and state board exams. It’s what they study after obtaining their dental license that makes the difference.
The Road to Becoming a Natural Dentist
Becoming a licensed dentist is no easy task; it takes hard work, dedication, and skill. Here are the steps to becoming a licensed and practicing general dentist:
1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
Before ever enrolling in dental school, a person must have a bachelor’s degree. In fact, some people don’t realize they want to become a dentist until after graduating from college. The good news is there isn’t a specific pre-dental major one must have to qualify for dental school. However, majors like biology, physics, and chemistry can provide additional and relevant preparation for dental school.
2. The Dental Admission Test
To apply for dental school, students must take the Dental Admission Test. This helps determine who is fit for the rigorous coursework based on their academic capacity and scientific knowledge. Only those who attain a passing score are considered into the dental school program.
Dental schools also consider a student’s grade point average, interviews, and letters of recommendation.
3. Earn a Dental Degree
Students can earn one of two dental degrees: Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD). These are essentially the same degree, just with a different name. These schools are usually accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation; however, some states differ on the requirements of dental students.
Dental school typically lasts four years. During the first two, students focus on classroom and lab studies in health and dental science. The last two years are hands-on clinical practice under the supervision of dental instructors.
4. Obtain State Licensure
Dental students in every state must pass the 2-part written National Board Dental Examination. In addition, they must pass a state licensing exam. These differ from state to state. Once these two tests are passed, the student becomes a practicing general dentist!
5. Continuing Education
To become a holistic dentist, the general dentist will take additional education courses through organizations like the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT). Here are some of the courses this organization provides:
- Fundamentals of Biological Dentistry
- Mercury 101, 102
- Safe Removal of Amalgam Fillings
- Environmental Impact of Dental Mercury
- Nutrition in Dentistry
- Mercury Detox
- Biocompatibility and Oral Galvanism
- Biological Periodontal Therapy
- Hidden Pathogens
- SMART certification
Dentists can gain Accreditation by the IAOMT by completing all of these courses and becoming a member of the organization. To go even further, dentists can obtain a Fellowship and Mastership by the IAOMT by gaining their Accreditation, creating a scientific review that is approved by the Board, and completing 500 more hours of credit in research, education, or service.
Our Holistic Dentist
As you can see, becoming a holistic dentist requires passion and dedication. Dr. Derrick Johnson at Natural State Holistic Dentistry is committed to providing biocompatible solutions to all types of oral health issues and helping patients achieve oral and overall health.
To learn more about our holistic dental practice, schedule an initial consultation today by calling (479) 250-4473.