The Best Dental Schools in New York

Dentists are in high demand across the United States; according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job prospects for the dental profession are expected to rise 19% from 2016-2026. With a strong outlook for employment and an annual wage that can top three times the average salary for other occupations in the U.S., it’s no wonder that more and more people are considering dental school.

New York is home to many distinguished universities specializing in healthcare and the sciences, including many accredited dental schools. These include prestigious dental research programs at some of the top universities in the nation. Additionally, it includes clinical-focused institutions where students in New York can get a hands-on education, preparing them to become licensed dental practitioners.

Like dental schools anywhere in the United States, options in New York can give students a rewarding, challenging education and set them up for an enriching career – but admissions are incredibly competitive. Nationwide, around 12,000 people apply to dental school every year, approximately 50% of whom will receive a place. Best-in-class dental schools in a popular location like New York, where many people want to live and eventually practice, will be even more selective in how many students they can accept.

Based on each dental school’s acceptance rates, here are the best programs in New York.

5. New York University College of Dentistry

New York University College of Dentistry
photo via Wikimedia Commons

The largest dental school in the entire country, the New York University College of Dentistry is also the third oldest in the United States, having been founded over 150 years ago in 1865. This century and a half of heritage is a significant draw for students seeking a prestigious, established institution that may catch the eye of employers. It doesn’t hurt that belonging to the NYU system, the college is located in the heart of New York City, in Manhattan.

Because it is the biggest dental school in the U.S, the NYU College of Dentistry has a relatively high acceptance rate of 11.7%, as compared to the average national acceptance rate for dental schools which is just over 5%. The college works with around 1,900 students at any given time, taking applicants from across the United States as well as 40 countries around the globe.

At the NYU College of Dentistry, aspiring dentists will study under the auspices of over 735 faculty members, comprising both clinicians and researchers. Many of them are responsible for pioneering work in dentistry and related sciences – from researching HIV and oral cancer, to developing new dental materials, to studying bone health and osteoporosis. With a strong focus on research activities as well as clinical oral care, students can expect to collaborate with faculty and explore how new discoveries can make a real difference for patients.

4. University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine

University at Buffalo
photo via Wikimedia Commons

The University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system, ranks amongst the best dental schools anywhere in the world. The Academic Ranking of World Universities puts the school at #8 in the United States and #11 globally. With an acceptance rate of just 7.1%, there’s no doubt that many prospective dental students hoping to attend school in New York are putting UB Dental at the top of their application list.

Dating back to 1892, UB Dental is a distinguished institution with a rich legacy of advancing oral health through comprehensive study programs geared toward both clinical practice and research. The student body consists of just over 500 students, the majority of whom are pursuing a doctor of dental surgery (DDS) degree. 

Setting the school apart from similar institutions, UB Dental offers a traditional DDS program as well as a dual degree program. This unique course of study enables students to concurrently earn a DDS degree alongside a Master of Business Administration degree, ensuring students are prepared for the multifaceted challenges of entering clinical practice.

Another reason for UB Dental’s competitiveness is that cost of attendance is more affordable than what medical students might expect from a major research institution. Despite the relative affordability of attendance, UB Dental is replete with opportunities for students. They can begin clinical training in the first year of the program, which is sooner than at similar dental schools, and UB Dental offers the chance to engage with other healthcare students across the University of Buffalo network to explore how total-patient treatment can be delivered.

3. Columbia University College of Dental Medicine

A private research university belonging to the prestigious network of Ivy League schools, Columbia University is home to a world-class option for dental study: the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine. Here, students receive a dental education within an academic medical setting, enabling dental students to work alongside Columbia medical students in their pre-clinical years and allowing them to pursue innovative research with distinguished faculty members.

The accolades and exemplary work of current students and alumni showcase where an education at the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine can lead. Two Columbia graduates were recently selected to sit on the New York County Dental Society’s five-person executive committee, one of the largest dental practice groups of its kind. At the end of 2020, fourth-year student Kyle Sevel received the Dr. David Whiston Leadership Award from the American Dental Association Foundation. These are just a few examples of how the dental school prepares students to not only learn the basics of clinical practice, but to act as leaders in their field.

Accepting just 5.1% of students who apply, the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine maintains a very selective admissions process. Approximately 84 students are accepted into the program every year, with preference given to individuals who have studied higher-level sciences. Leadership skills, ability to collaborate, and well-rounded extracurricular activities are also a consideration for the selection committee.

2. Touro College of Dental Medicine

Prospective dental students aiming to focus on a doctor of dental surgery (DDS) degree will find an attractive option at the Touro College of Dental Medicine, located an hour away from New York City. The college’s DDS program is designed to instruct the future generation of dentists by bringing together best-in-class education, emphasizing the compassionate side of patient care. Students will learn state-of-the-art dental techniques and have the chance to work with sophisticated equipment while also developing their holistic clinical skills in terms of serving diverse communities.

The Touro College of Dental Medicine is the first dental school anywhere in the United States to operate within a Jewish-led institution. This religious heritage and ongoing tradition of celebrating diverse beliefs is a draw for many kinds of students; particularly those who wish to study within an open environment where cultural and spiritual needs are valued alongside a rigorous education.   

The acceptance rate at the Touro College of Dental Medicine is 4.6%, so students with an interest in applying should consider how to stand out and make an impact when preparing their application. The school requires prospective students to meet a number of academic benchmarks, including a minimum science GPA of 2.7 on the 4.0 scale, letters of evaluation, and undergraduate coursework with substantial laboratory work. It’s preferred that students have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college, although students who have completed 75% of their undergraduate credits may still be considered for admission.

1. SUNY Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine

With an acceptance rate of 4%, the Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine is the most selective of any New York dental program. This will come as no surprise to students who already know Stony Brook as an internationally recognized public research university and a center of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. The school itself is in the top 1% of universities worldwide and a top 40 public university in the United States – so naturally, the Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine aims for an equally high benchmark in its premier educational offerings to dental students.

Rather than separating dental and medical students into two entirely separate tracks, the Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine ensures that dental students take the same courses in anatomy, pathology, physiology, and so on, as their medical counterparts. This curriculum, along with the advantages of small class size and individualized instruction, prepares dental students to thrive in their dental practice of choice or to enter fields like teaching, research, and public health.

As expected with an acceptance rate of under 5%, selection committees will be looking for an educational background in the sciences and demonstration of interest in the subject of dentistry. Letters of recommendation and interviews play a role in the admissions process. The school also notes that prospective students coming from a background that’s not traditionally represented in the dental field are encouraged to apply.