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Top 10: Best Dental Schools in the US and Canada (Ranking) For 2011

Our readers, practicing dentists, and yes, even everyone here at Top Ten Nation agree that it is improper and unfair to rank dental schools. It is challenging to provide our readers ‘dental school rankings’ because every dental school provides similar education and each dental school has very unique characteristics. For this reason, this list remains debatable; however, our main intent is to provide an overview of which schools are the leaders in their missions and visions, and why they are unique. This ranking of the Top 10 Best Dental Schools involves the amalgamation of multiple metrics and rankings from media sources as well as institutional reports. Our primary intelligence is our student and faculty insiders at dental schools across the United States and Canada. All dental schools in the U.S., Canada, and Australia are ADA/CODA accredited, and therefore are excellent options, and the reader should note that that all dental students graduate with equivalent DDS or DMD degrees.

Top 10 Best Dental Schools in the US and Canada as of 2011

1. Harvard University, School of Dental Medicine (HSDM)
This year, the editors tipped in favor of the perennial favorite. A unique feature of the curriculum places pre-doctoral dental students in joint classes with medical students for two years of basic science and pathophysiology. Students at HSDM get an introduction to clinical medicine on the wards of Harvard's academic hospitals. Mentors at Harvard are world-renowned teachers and researchers. The educational experience allows graduates a relatively seamless transition to careers in academics, research, or clinical practice. HSDM students boast one of the highest rates of graduates entering post-graduate specialization programs. History bodes well on HSDM’s side. Harvard Dental is the first ever university-based and university-affiliated dental school in North America. Harvard is a world-class educational institution overall - leading most rankings across the world in broad categories. Harvard leads in integrating new discoveries from the laboratory to transforming such discoveries into a solid curriculum offered to their students. While research is its strength, clinical training is also keeping pace. What about the disadvantages at Harvard Dental? Some students dislike the problem based learning environment and the dental clinics are somewhat problematic for patients in terms of continuing care. HSDM also ranks as the 10th most expensive dental school.

2. University of the Pacific (UoP), Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry
A new arrival on our Top 10 List, UoP has always been a top dental school, but with few insiders in the years prior, we were unable to fully report on this top institution. This highly selective and highly rewarding institution is a pioneer in competency-based dental education. UoP Dental is currently the only dental school in the United States that hosts an accelerated three-year DDS program. Despite the three-year curriculum, pre-doctoral students here experience above-average clinical education hours, even in comparison to the traditional four-year programs. On the downside, UoP Dental is ranked as the 6th most expensive dental school. On the upside, sources boast that the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry has a pleasant family atmosphere and is consistently ranked as one of the top clinical dental schools in the United States. For more information about UoP, you can read our article on Top 10 Reasons to Attend UoP Dental.

3. University of Maryland at Baltimore (UMB), Baltimore College of Dental Surgery
UMB Dental (BCDS) boasts one of the most advanced dental education facilities in the world. Completed in October 2006, the brand new $142 million, 12-story building is situated in downtown Baltimore. This is the highest spent on an academic building by the State of Maryland. BCDS has the distinct history of being the first dental college in the world. This school is undoubtedly the pioneer of dental education. Founders Drs. Horace H. Hayden and Chapin A. Harris are the “fathers of dentistry.” Most dentists and dental students can recognize these tremendous players in the development of dentistry. Unique post-graduate programs such as experimental pathology to seven of the eight accredited post-graduate residency programs available are offered at this top-tier school. Many of these post-graduate programs have renowned faculty. BCDS researchers collaborate with colleagues from the School of Medicine, the Baltimore VA Medical Center, and the Johns Hopkins University. Overall, undergraduate dentistry here offers excellent faculty, a student population with a strong admission average, constant curriculum innovation, and a solid patient base.

4. The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) Dental School
This relatively young dental school offers a world-class experience for its lucky pre-doctoral students. Faculty in this dental school developed the first digital panoramic x-ray device in the United States. In the last ranking of US News & World Report (1996), this school was ranked #1. A cooperative atmosphere contributes strongly to this dental school's excellence. Junior and senior off-campus clinical rotations enhance the students' exposure to the clinical world of dentistry. The General Practice Based Comprehensive Care Clinical Program uses the model of small group practices, and provides the opportunity for excellent, timely, and relevant training with a deep focus on in-depth patient care. The Dental School at the Health Science Center ranked fourth in publications and 11th in scientific impact among the world’s 760 dental schools from 1998 to 2002. Excellent training and in-depth exposure to advanced aspects of dentistry are sure-fire ways to have a dental school stand above the rest of the crowd.

5. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), School of Dentistry
UNC Dental School consistently ranks among the nation’s top dental schools and is renowned for its excellent teaching, research, and public service activities. This dental school is one of the top dental schools in the nation due to its strong performance across most benchmarks. State funding, along with university and private support are making possible a new 216,000-square-foot Dental School Building, featuring common areas and state-of-the-art facilities. The new building is due for completion in early 2012. As North Carolina's only dental school, a lack of patients for students doesn't become an issue and UNC Dental's pre-doctoral students have a fantastic clinical experience. Upperclassmen are known to assist new students as they wind their way through the hurdles. Camaraderie, curriculum, research opportunities, and limitless patients make for a great experience at UNC.

6. University of Michigan, School of Dentistry
Dr. Taft, the founding dean of the dental school established the four-year model of dental education in 1901. This later became the national standard of dental education in the United States. As one of the oldest and most well established dental schools in the United States, the University of Michigan, School of Dentistry has earned a reputation for innovation and achievement. This school is a top-tier institution because of the solid education it offers with good reviews and a comparatively affordable tuition. Students report overall high levels of satisfaction. This school also offers separate cubicles for senior students and the Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry located within the campus. Pre-doctoral students can become history buffs as the museum is one of only a handful of dental museums across the world, with over 10,000 exhibits.

7. The University of Toronto, Faculty of Dentistry
U of T Dental is the premier research center for dentistry in Canada and is well-recognized internationally. Toronto’s dental school scores strong among dental schools in North America. Only top-tier students are accepted, as admission averages to this dental school are extremely competitive, rivaling and even exceeding top dental schools such as Harvard. Interdisciplinary collaboration runs deep within the students, faculty and the various teaching hospitals of the university. The program offers its students many off-campus opportunities for patient treatment. This large, well-endowed dental school, with a legacy in Canada that can't be beat is as a result, Canada's best, and our Top 7th dental school.

8. University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine (UPenn)
Upenn’s ivy-league dental school is the only World Health Organization collaborating center worldwide devoted to oral infectious disease. A nationally high-ranking school with impressive rates of funding from the NIH, UPenn Dental scores in the Top 10 with its strong medical curriculum and interdisciplinary approach. The medical curriculum is so strong that in fact, since 1930, courses in internal medicine have been offered to dental students. UPenn also boasts a newer clinical facility that opened in 2002 and combined with a sizable patient population, the school certainly provides an enjoyable clinical experience. On the downside, it's the 3rd most expensive dental school on our ranking, it has a relatively larger class size, and dreary dungeon-like classrooms that are still a mainstay at this institution.

9. University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Dentistry (UNMC)
Recent renovations ($8.9 million) result in pre-doctoral students at the UNMC College of Dentistry learning and working in a modern, beautiful and comfortable environment. Innovative teaching methodology and research opportunities for dental students help make UNMC a top dental school. Outstanding teachers and smaller class sizes contribute to the quality education provided. Quality education you say? The evidence is clear: UNMC dental students top the country with their National Dental Board Examination scores. The Class of 2010 ranked 4th highest overall in the country in terms of Part I scores. The Class of 2007 ranked #1 (best overall) for Part II scores.

10. University of Washington (UW), School of Dentistry
A strong emphasis on serving rural areas results in pre-doctoral students at UW gaining excellent experience in providing dental care especially for underserved populations. This outstanding dental school consistently ranks in the Top 5 in terms of funding from NIDCR. Pass rates and average scores demonstrate that NBDE Part I and II test takers from this school are among the highest scoring within the country. Excellent training perhaps? In 2007, the WREB (Western Regional Examining Board) passing rate was 100%! UW also maintains a 97.3% pass rate on the WREB since its inception in 1996. A choice of advanced electives for students in their junior and senior years contributes to the strong academic environment. Students also report a high level of satisfaction. The only school of dentistry in Washington State concludes this 2011 ranking of the best dental schools in the US and Canada.

NOTE: Cost of attendance is in our opinion what the astute dental applicant would consider as their primary determinant in applying for - and agreeing to attend - any given dental school. Our editors generally agree that dental applicants are probably wise to pursue in-state (or your most local/provincial) state funded dental school on a priority basis. Readers should note that that these rankings are simply a "road map" to what top-tier dental schools are able to offer to their students. ALL U.S./CANADIAN/AUSTRALIAN DENTAL SCHOOLS ARE EXCELLENT INSTITUTIONS PROVIDING AN ADA/CODA ACCREDITED DENTAL EDUCATION. We suggest that dental students consider all aspects of a dental school including, but not limited to cost of attendance, safety of location, and availability of patients before selecting their final choice.


  1. i heard that Harvard University is most expensive dental school??

    grea8 post buddy!!

    1. why would price ever matter ??

    2. I hope this is sarcasm. If not, you're not living in the reality of current economic woes. It's likely you have mom and pop paying for your education, along with everything else that comes with your airbrushed life.

  2. No, it isn't, go to and it will give you information about the cost of dental schools.

  3. Harvard should not be in the top ten. The clinical and didactic instruction is not very good. The students are thrown into seeing patients with barely a week or two instruction in the lab. HSDM however is a very good launching pad if you are looking to specialize.
    Harvard grad, 2008

    1. Harvard should be in the top 10.

      For all the reasons above, and...
      1. Class of only 35
      2. Close mentorship.
      3. Strong outcomes-if HSDM grads did not have the clinical skills they get at HSDM they would not continue to get into the top most competitive specialties Nation Wide.
      4. head of ADA (incoming), head of ADEa, AADR, many Deans/Chairs are HSDM alums
      5. Any school has a tough itme transitioning students from preclinical to clinical. harvards pedagogy is to have "experiential" learning-more immediate to the clinical experience. Is it shortened at HSDM-sure, but students end up doing just as much if not more clinically than other schools.
      10% of all students are going to have a real tough time transitiong to clinic-nice thing about HSDM is the support you can get with a smaller class.
      6. Relatively new classe spaces/preclinical space/clinics and research building
      Harvard grad too....

    2. I graduated from HSDM in 2005. I loved it. With any program, you can get out of it as much as you want. It is a professional education program and they expect you to come prepared to learn. Thatbeing said, I received a top notch didactic and clinical education. Implants, perio surgery, plenty of endo and prosth. I practiced general dentistry for four years before specializing and always felt very confident in my training from dental school. If and when you decide to specialize, there is no better place to have graduared from. If I had the chance to do things over, I would make the same choice again without a second thought.
      HSDM CLASS OF 2005

  4. Hello , kindly guide me as to which college is better....???

  5. This is ridiculous. Tufts is the best dental school and its not even ranked here

  6. Not enough attention is give to Temple University Dental School. They have one of, if not the strongest clinical programs in the nation. Students come out of that program having done 3 to 5 times the amount of clinical work then most other schools.

  7. Besides being in Iowa, University of Iowa is an amazing dental school. Excellent clinical and didactic training, awesome patient poll, cheaper...

  8. can any body suggest the best dental school for masters???

  9. I worked with a Harvard grad HE SUCKED!!!! U.S.C. Grad she sucked too... Where is Loma Linda school of Dentistry They ROCK!!!!

  10. Harvard? You have to be kidding me. At least NY wasn't in there. I went to UNC and don't think it should be #1 but agree it should be in the top 5. Who makes these lists?

  11. What about Georgetown School of Dentistry? Did you have to pay to be on the list?

  12. this list is a joke. temple? tufts? stonybrook? none of those cracked the top 10? well technically theyre not ranked so of course this list really doesnt mean anything, but if rankings were to be implemented, I can assure you the top 10 list would look NOTHING like this

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. I am admissions representative in USC Med and have almost 3 years experience in this profession so in my experience and search basses I can say that Harvard is at top. :)

  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  16. I live in Ottawa, but have always wanted to go to the University of Toronto. I've visited the campus and I love it. It doesn't hurt to know that it ranks in the top ten dentist schools either!

  17. My dentist in Calgary went to number 7 on this list. It's comforting to know that it is such a great school!


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