The Best Dental Schools in Florida

Florida is home to some of the best schools in this country. Its law schools and medical schools have world-class faculty, and graduates have excellent career prospects. The same is true of Florida’s dental schools.

Anyone wanting to become a dental practitioner should seriously consider the excellent colleges available in Florida. These schools have a high-quality, effective curriculum, which includes traditional classroom learning and experiential education. All of the schools place a premium on quality patient care and community service. 

Today, we are ranking the three dental schools in Florida by acceptance rate. Data for the acceptance rates are available here.

Admission into any of these dental schools is unusually competitive, with the highest acceptance being a mere 5.8%. With that said, prospective students should thoroughly research these programs to ensure that they will be a good fit and possess the qualities that the admissions committees of these schools are seeking in an exceptional candidate.

Without further ado, here are the three best dental schools in Florida.


3. University of Florida College of Dentistry (Gainesville, FL)

University of Florida Medical Plaza
photo via Wikimedia Commons

With an acceptance rate of 5.8%, the University of Florida College of Dentistry is a competitive and high-quality institution for those looking to get into dentistry. Its excellence and competitiveness are evidenced by the credentials and achievements of its graduates. 

Over the past few years, 97% of graduates pass the National Board Dental Examination (the NBDE) on the first try alone, which is an outstanding record. Some continue advanced training in dentistry, becoming practitioners in general dentistry. Others even become top clinicians in the country. Overall, anyone with a dental degree from UFCD has a promising career in dentistry ahead of them.

Besides accomplished graduates and alumni, UFCD has a stellar curriculum that affords students many opportunities for gaining experience. Through external clinical rotations, students provide care at university-affiliated dental centers in Gainesville, Hialeah, St. Petersburg, and Naples. Most of the patients at these centers individuals or families living below the poverty line. Students provide an invaluable service to vulnerable communities while honing their dentistry skills.

Students also have service opportunities abroad through established partnerships with Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) in Quito, Ecuador, Universidad Catolica Nordestana (UCNE) in San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic, and Swami Vivekananda University Subharti Dental College in Meerut, India. 

With access to a state-wide network of centers and dentistry opportunities abroad, dental students make an impact well before they get their diplomas, nationally and internationally.

In addition to unique opportunities for experience, UFCD offers a specialization in oral biology. In collaboration with the College of Medicine, the Department of Oral Biology provides a Ph.D. in medical sciences with a specialization in oral biology. 

In 2018, the Comprehensive Training in Oral Biology program received a William J. Gies Award for Vision, Innovation, and Achievement. Additionally, it has been a recipient of the highly coveted NIH grant, being among the top 5 programs for NIH funding. The College of Dentistry also offers an M.D. degree and a certificate of completion in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, along with more traditional offerings, such as a doctorate in general dentistry.

What is notable about the UFCD curriculum and program is that it is one of three dental schools in the US that offers all specialties recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA). This gives students a rare opportunity to explore and choose from different areas of dentistry before committing to a specific professional path. Furthermore, the curriculum focuses on patient care, public health, and human biology. 

Students are taught and supervised by professionals at every level and have access to state-of-the-art technology in the field. A notable example of this training is the high-tech simulation laboratory, preparing students to work with live patients.

Its reputable curriculum and offerings are accented by its drive to integrate the most advanced and state-of-the-art research and technology. UFCD has been partaking in AI research initiatives, including an interdisciplinary program with the colleges of engineering, nursing, and various public health and health professions using virtual patient simulation. 

With these credentials, UFCD is an excellent choice for someone looking to study and practice dentistry.


2. Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine (Fort Lauderdale, FL)

Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine
photo via Wikimedia Commons

The Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine is the first private dental college established in Florida. It is also the first dental college in the US to be established in partnership with a College of Osteopathic Medicine. 

NSU is a top-rated university, giving students outstanding value in education and leaving a sizable economic impact on Florida. NSU ranks first in awarding doctoral degrees to minorities and is a top performer in social mobility rankings.

Like the best dental schools, NSU Dental combines rigorous and comprehensive coursework with intensive field experience. In the first two years, students gain knowledge in anatomy, public health, oral histology, dental biomaterials, comprehensive treatment planning, and electronic health record training, among other things. In the third and fourth years, coursework is interspersed with extramural clinical rotations.

With patient care at the heart of training, NSU’s dental clinics are among the best in teaching and patient service. Students work alongside experienced dentists to ensure excellent patient care and student training. Not only do students develop the clinical skills needed for a successful dental practice, they also provide much-needed dental services to underserved communities through these rotations.

NSU dental students most commonly attend rotations at HIV Clinics, community health centers, special needs clinics, and pediatric centers. Students will get a broader understanding of various factors that affect patient dental health and care, including socio-economic and cultural factors.

The Dental College’s humanitarian streak reaches beyond the clinic. Community outreach efforts have been wide-ranging: Give Kids A Smile Day, oral health education, Florida Mission of Mercy, and international missions. 

What about the quality of the programs? A prospective student will be glad to learn that some of NSU’s dental programs have garnered an excellent reputation. The Department of Endodontics, for example, received research and diplomate awards at the 2019 American Association of Endodontics annual meeting. 

An acceptance rate of a mere 3.7% suggests that many aspiring dentists are clamoring to get into this high-quality school.


1. LECOM School of Dental Medicine (Bradenton, FL)

What is it about Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) School of Dental Medicine that draws so many applicants, of which only 3% get in every year? 

First, the School of Dental Medicine is housed by an institution that already has a great reputation for its innovative, student-centered approach to education. LECOM is home to one of the top-ranking medical schools nationwide, with campuses in Florida and Pennsylvania. It is also the largest medical school in the country. 

Finally, LECOM boasts faculty members who are exceptional practitioners and prolific researchers, publishing in the top medical journals in their respective specializations. 

LECOM dental students work under the supervision of some of the best licensed practitioners in the field. They gain real-world clinical experience working at LECOM dental offices, using the most up-to-date and state-of-the-art equipment and diagnostic tools. Some of these diagnostic tools include full mouth and individual tooth digital x-rays. While training for at least one year in these offices, students also engage in community service work by providing affordable and quality, comprehensive care to dental patients.

The LECOM dental school also offers a unique curriculum that includes early exposure to dental practice and a rigorous science education delivered through a Problem-Based Learning (PBL) approach. In these PBL sessions, students learn in small, collaborative groups using case-based studies. 

Student learning is enhanced by the use of the patient-simulation clinic and a fourth-year program centered on providing community care at full-service clinics in Florida. Students receive practical and rigorous training in and outside the classroom, within a multicultural, interdisciplinary, and interprofessional framework. With its emphasis on student learning and experiential education, this curriculum prepares its students to become some of the most competent and compassionate dental care providers in the state.

The LECOM School of Dental Medicine is an excellent choice for aspiring dental practitioners; the education and training are top-notch while operating within a framework of culturally sensitive patient care. LECOM delivers on its mission to servings its students, scholars, and patients with the utmost excellence and dramatically contributes to the quality of life of Floridians.

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