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Study DDS in the USA: A Complete Guide for Indian BDS Graduates


Starting your DDS in the USA is a big step for Indian students wanting to grow in dentistry on a global level. The USA offers a top-notch Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree, recognised all over the world. This degree is your ticket to becoming a world-class dentist. With the American Dental Association (ADA)'s stamp of approval, these programs are made to give you deep knowledge and practical skills in all things dentistry. This guide is here to help you through everything about DDS programs in the USA. From what you'll learn, how to get in, how much it might cost, and more, we're here to make the move from BDS in India to the advanced world of dentistry in the USA smooth for you. 

Why Study DDS in the USA after BDS in India?

Choosing to Study DDS in the USA after completing your BDS in India is a transformative decision for aspiring dentists. Here's why the USA is a premier destination for your dental studies:

  1. World-Class Ranking: The USA has more than 14 Dental Universities in the global top 50. This means you're getting the best Dentistry Education in the USA.
  2. Job Opportunities: The need for dentists in the USA is growing. By 2030, there will be over 9,800 new dentist jobs, making your chances of finding a good job after your degree very high.
  3. Earn Well: Dentists in the USA are among the highest earners. On average, a dentist makes $158,120 a year. That's a lot!
  4. Leading in Research: The USA is at the forefront of dental research. This gives you a chance to work on new discoveries and innovations in dentistry.
  5. Hands-On Training: DDS programs in the USA focus a lot on practical experience. You'll get to use the latest tech and methods, preparing you for real dental practice.
  6. Many Specialisations: Whether you're interested in orthodontics, periodontics, or paediatric dentistry, the USA offers a wide range of specialisations to choose from.
  7. Networking: Studying in the USA means you get to meet and learn from some of the best dental professionals in the world, opening doors to global opportunities.

Course Curriculum for DDS

When you Study DDS in the USA, you'll go through a detailed course that prepares you for everything in dentistry. Here's a simple breakdown of what you can expect:

  • First Year (Basic Sciences and Introduction to Clinical Dentistry):
    • Anatomy, Physiology, and Biochemistry focused on oral health.
    • Introduction to patient care and basic dental procedures.
    • Approximately 30% of the curriculum is dedicated to hands-on lab and pre-clinical exercises.
  • Second Year (Preclinical Dentistry and Beginning of Clinical Exposure):
    • In-depth study of dental pathology, pharmacology, and materials science.
    • Begin clinical rotations in specialities like prosthodontics and periodontics under supervision.
    • Roughly 40% of the year involves direct patient care in controlled settings.
  • Third Year (Clinical Rotations):
    • Extensive clinical rotations across all major dental specialities, including endodontics, paediatric dentistry, and oral surgery.
    • Emphasis on diagnostic skills, treatment planning, and patient management.
    • Students spend up to 60% of their time in clinical settings, treating patients.
  • Fourth Year (Advanced Clinical Practice):
    • Advanced clinical practice with increased patient care responsibilities.
    • Preparation for National Board Dental Examinations (NBDE) Part I and Part II.
    • Optional research projects or electives in areas of interest.
    • Clinical externships are available in community health centres or hospitals.
  • Licensure Examination Prep:
    • Integrated preparation for the NBDE, a prerequisite for licensure in the USA, is woven throughout the curriculum.
    • Mock exams and review sessions in the final year to ensure readiness for the board exams.
  • Specialisations and Electives:
    • Opportunities for postgraduate studies in Dental Specialisation in the USA such as orthodontics, periodontics, etc., after completing the DDS.

Best US Universities to Study DDS Degree

Choosing where to Study DDS in the USA is big. The best universities offer great programs, practical experience, and open doors to future jobs. Here's a look at what to consider when picking a university:


QS Ranking 

Program Offered


Fees in INR (approx.)

Acceptance Rate

DAT Score Required

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor



4 years

₹58,00,000 - ₹75,00,000 per year



University of California - San Francisco

#6 in QS WUR Ranking By Subject


4 years

₹70,00,000 - ₹90,00,000 per year



Harvard University



4 years

₹80,00,000 - ₹100,00,000 per year



University of Pennsylvania



4 years

₹75,00,000 - ₹95,00,000 per year



University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill



4 years

₹55,00,000 - ₹70,00,000 per year



New York University



4 years

₹65,00,000 - ₹85,00,000 per year



University of Washington



4 years

₹60,00,000 - ₹80,00,000 per year



Columbia University



4 years

₹70,00,000 - ₹90,00,000 per year



University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)



4 years

₹65,00,000 - ₹85,00,000 per year



University of Florida



4 years

₹55,00,000 - ₹75,00,000 per year



Eligibility Criteria for DDS in USA for Indian Students

Indian students aspiring to pursue a DDS in the USA must meet specific eligibility criteria to apply. These requirements are generally uniform across most universities but do verify with individual institutions as there can be exceptions:

  1. Bachelor's Degree: Completion of a 4-year bachelor's degree in dental surgery (BDS) or an equivalent degree from a recognised institution.
  2. DAT Scores: A minimum Dental Admission Test (DAT) score is required, typically in the 20-23 range, depending on the competitiveness of the university.
  3. TOEFL or IELTS: Proof of English proficiency is mandatory, with most universities requiring a TOEFL score of 90-100 or an IELTS score of 6.5-7.5.
  4. Letters of Recommendation: At least two or three letters of recommendation, preferably including at least one from a faculty member familiar with the applicant's academic abilities.
  5. Statement of Purpose: A compelling statement of purpose outlining the applicant's goals, reasons for choosing the DDS program, and why they're a good fit for the program.
  6. Dental Experience: Documented dental experience, including shadowing, volunteering, or working in a dental setting, is highly recommended to strengthen the application.

Documents Required for DDS in the USA

When you're ready to apply for a DDS Program in the USA, make sure you have these documents:

  1. Official Academic Transcripts
  2. Dental Admission Test (DAT) Scores
  3. English Language Proficiency
  4. Letters of Recommendation (LORs)
  5. Statement of Purpose (SOP)
  6. Curriculum Vitae (CV)/Resume
  7. Proof of Financial Resources
  8. Copy of Passport
  9. Application Form

How to Apply for a DDS in the USA after BDS in India: Step by Step

 The application process to Study DDS in the USA is detailed and requires careful planning:

  1. Research: Find the Dental Universities in the USA that match your goals. Look at their DDS programs, specialisations, and what they offer.
  2. Prepare for the DAT: This test is a big deal. Start studying early to get the best score you can.
  3. Gather Your Documents: Make sure you have all the documents listed above. They're all important parts of your application.
  4. Apply: Most dental schools in the USA use a system called AADSAS for applications. You'll fill out your application there and send it to the schools you've chosen.
  5. Interviews: Some schools might want to interview you. This is another chance to show why you're a great choice for their program.
  6. Visa Application: Once you get accepted, you'll need to apply for a student visa. This lets you study and live in the USA.

DDS in USA Cost

Thinking about the cost is a big part of planning your DDS in the USA. Here's what you need to know:

  • Tuition Fees: How much you pay for classes can be a lot. It usually ranges from about ₹22,50,000 to ₹75,00,000 a year. This depends on whether you pick a public or private college.
  • Living Costs: Living in the USA can cost you around ₹75,000 to ₹1,50,000 every month. This includes your stay, food, books, and a little bit of fun.
  • Extra Costs: Don't forget about other expenses like health insurance, which is a must-have, and money for travelling back home.

Scholarships for DDS in the USA

Good news! There are scholarships out there to help with the costs of studying DDS in the USA. Here's how you can get some help:

Scholarship Name


Amount (INR)

Application Deadline

ADA Foundation Scholarship

International dental students

Up to ₹3,75,000


ADEA/Crest Oral-B Scholarships

Dental students committed to academic careers



Colgate-Palmolive Scholarship

Minority DDS students

₹1,87,500 - ₹7,50,000


Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP)

U.S. Army, Navy, or Air Force

Full tuition + Stipend


Indian Health Service Scholarship

Commitment to serve in Indian Health Programs

Full tuition + Living expenses


National Health Service Corps Scholarship

Commitment to work in health shortage areas

Full tuition + Living expenses


Hispanic Dental Association Foundation Scholarship

Hispanic and Latino dental students

₹1,50,000 - ₹7,50,000


International College of Dentists (ICD) Scholarship

Academic excellence & financial need



Dr. Edward B. Shils Entrepreneurial Fund Scholarship

Innovative dental students



Dental Trade Alliance Foundation

Leadership and commitment to community service



Career Opportunities after DDS in USA for Indian Students

After getting your DDS degree in the USA, what's next? Lots of opportunities! Here's what you can look forward to:

Job Title

Average Annual Salary (INR)

Work Setting

General Dentist


Private clinics, Hospitals



Specialty clinics, Private practice



Specialty clinics, Private practice

Paediatric Dentist


Paediatric dental clinics, Hospitals

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon


Hospitals, Surgical centres



Specialty clinics, Private practice



Specialty clinics, Private practice

Dental Public Health Specialist


Government agencies, Public health organisations

Dental Researcher


Universities, Research institutions

Dental Educator


Dental schools, Academic institutions

So, you've got all the info now! Studying DDS in the USA is a big step for Indian students who dream of making it big in dentistry. With world-class Dental Universities in the USA, cutting-edge dentistry education, and a wide range of dental specialisations, the USA is the place to be for up-and-coming dentists. Remember, it's not just about getting a degree; it's about building a career that can take you places, from private clinics to global dental health initiatives. Ready to start your DDS journey in the USA? Take the first step towards a bright dental career today!

Looking to make your dental career global with a DDS from the USA? AECC is here to help you every step of the way. Contact us now and let's get started!


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