Common Dental Degrees and Accreditation

Below is a short guide to the most common dental degree and accreditation acronyms. These abbreviations can often be found listed after a dentist’s name. Here is what they tell you about your dentist.

General Dentist, DDS and DMD

These degrees DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) and DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) are awarded upon graduation from dental school. While the DDS degree is more common, the education received by a DMD is the same.

To obtain their DDS or DMD degree dentists must complete three or more years of undergraduate education in addition to four years of dental school. To become licensed to practice in their state, they must also pass an examination after graduating. State licensing boards consider these degrees, DMD and DDS, equivalent.

Other Degrees

MDS – Master of Dental Surgery

MS or M.Sc. – Master of Science

MSD – Master of Science in Dentistry

Fellows and Masters of the Academy of General Dentistry

FAGD and MAGD are designations awarded by the Academy of General Dentistry.

A “fellow” in the Academy of General Dentistry (FAGD) has completed a minimum of 500 continuing dental education credit hours, passed a comprehensive exam and has been a member of the AGD for at least three continuous years. To maintain membership in the AGD dentists must complete at least 75 hours of continuing education every three years.

To earn the designation “Master” of the AGD (MAGD) a dentist must have completed his fellowship as well as 600 additional approved continuing dental education credits.

These accreditations are awards and should not be confused with post graduate degrees or certification.