What’s The Difference Between a D.M.D. and a D.D.S.?

Often a question of potential candidates for dental school is the uncertainty between the two designations given to dental degrees in the United States, the D.D.S. and the D.M.D.

In practice there is no difference to these two degrees. The education received and the abilities to practice are exactly the same. The only difference in the two designations is their history.

In 1840 the World’s very first dental school was established by Horace Hayden and Chapin Harris. That school was the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery. Upon doing so, they create the first degree that can be held by a dentist, the Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) Degree. The school opened on November 3rd and had a class of 5 students. That school later merged with the Maryland School of Dentistry.

27 years after the founding of the Baltimore school, Harvard University founded the Harvard University Dental School in 1867. This is the first university affiliated dental institution. Harvard only granted degrees in Latin, and the phrase Doctor of Dental Surgery did
not translate very well into Latin, so the university created the “Dentariae Medicinae Doctorae” or DMD degree.

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