If you’re an aspiring dental assistant or are interested in pursuing this career, you might have been curious about whether a dental assistant can become a dentist.

It’s an interesting question, and we’re here to let you explore the journey from being a dental assistant to becoming a dentist.

To answer shortly:

Yes, a dental assistant can become a dentist, however, it involves several years of additional education and training.

Let’s delve deeper into it.

Know more:
Surgical Dental Assistant
Chairside Dental Assistant

dental assistant

What is a Dental Assistant vs Dentist?

The primary difference between a dental assistant and a dentist lies in their roles, responsibilities, and level of education/training:


A dentist is a licensed oral health professional who has completed extensive education, typically a doctoral degree in dentistry (Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Dental Medicine).

Dentists diagnose and treat oral health issues, perform dental procedures (like fillings, extractions, and root canals), and provide overall dental care. They are responsible for making treatment plans, conducting examinations, and ensuring patients’ oral health.

Dental Assistant:

A dental assistant works alongside dentists, providing support in various tasks. They typically complete a dental assisting program and might hold a certification or license, depending on the state’s requirements.

Their duties include assisting during dental procedures, preparing equipment, taking X-rays (in some states with specific certifications), managing patient records, and providing chairside assistance. Dental assistants play a crucial role in ensuring the smooth flow of dental procedures and patient comfort.

In essence, dentists are responsible for diagnosing and treating oral health issues and performing complex procedures, while dental assistants assist dentists by providing support during treatments, managing administrative tasks, and ensuring a conducive environment for dental procedures.

1) Educational Requirements for Dental Assistants:

Dental assistants usually start with a high school diploma or equivalent.

But what are the educational requirements in the case of a Dentist?

Let’s understand below:

Bachelor’s Degree:

If you are thinking of becoming a dentist in the USA, you’ll need to earn a bachelor’s degree which takes around four years.

Know more:
Dental Assistant Skills
Dental Assistant Duties
What education is required to be a dental assistant?
How much is dental assistant school

While it’s not always necessary, many aspiring candidates choose to obtain a degree in biology, chemistry, or related sciences, as these subjects are relevant to dentistry.

Dental Admission Test (DAT):

You will need to take the Dental Admission Test (DAT) and score well to get into a dental school. This test will examine your knowledge of various subjects relevant to dentistry.

Dental School:

After completing your bachelor’s degree and achieving a competitive score in the DAT exam, you can apply to dental school. Dental school programs generally last four years and lead to a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) or Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree.

2) Financial Considerations for Dental Assistants

Your dental schooling can be significantly expensive and you may find it difficult to gather funds for further education. However, there are various financial aids available for you including scholarships, grants, and loans.

You can choose whichever form of financial aid suits your needs best and start the process.

dental assistant (2

3) Licensing:

After graduating from dental school, you’ll need to obtain a license to practice dentistry in your state. One point of note is that obtaining a license is not mandatory.

Also, licensing requirements vary by location, so it is always recommended to check your licensing requirements online.

Read more: 
Dental Assistant Salary
Dental Assistant Job Description
Dental Assistant Requirements

4) Residency Programs:

Some dentists decide to choose a residency program in a specialized area of dentistry, such as oral surgery, orthodontics, or pediatric dentistry. Although it is not mandatory, a residency can provide additional training and experience in a specific field.

5) Practice and Experience:

Once you are licensed, you can begin practicing as a dentist. You can choose to work privately, join a group practice, or work in a public health setting. Each experience is unique and you will gain the practical knowledge that is required for becoming a Successful Dentist.


So, can a dental assistant become a dentist? Yes, they can!

It’s a journey that requires hard work, dedication, and a lot of learning, but it’s absolutely possible. Dental assistants have a head start with their experience in the dental field.

If you dream of becoming a dentist, don’t be afraid to take that first step. Your journey from dental assistant to dentist is going to be filled with opportunities to make a difference in people’s oral health and their smiles.

Additional Sources:
How Long Does It Take To Become a Dental Assistant?
Pediatric Dental Assistant
Travel Dental Assistant
Is Dental Assistant a Good Career?
What do you need to be a dental assistant?
Entry-Level Dental Assistant
Dental Assistant Vs Medical Assistant
Registered Dental Assistant
Dental Assistant Certification
Dental Assistant License Guide
How to Become a Dental Assistant
Dental Assistant Classes