dentistry in california

Best 11 Dentistry Schools In California (updated)

California is home to some of the best 15 dentistry schools in the country, and many who attend these institutions go on to have successful careers. After all, Californians are known for their healthy smiles. In addition, there is a variety of locations available for prospective students to choose from when looking into attending one of the top 15 dental schools in California.

From southern California’s sunny beaches to northern California’s rolling hillsides and snowy mountains, a student can find a school that matches their interests while providing an excellent education.

1. The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

The University of California

Located in Los Angeles, UCLA offers an exceptional dental school. Its School of Dentistry provides its students with various options when it comes to specialty; however, the majority focus on general dentistry and pediatric dentistry. The main campus is located in Westwood and has four satellite clinics: East LA, Brentwood/West Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Venice Beach.

Students who attend UCLA receive hands-on experience through their rotation at one or more of these clinics. The university’s research programs are highly regarded worldwide and provide excellent opportunities for professional development to current students and those pursuing careers in dentistry.

Lecture halls hold no more than people, and students are taught by leaders in their fields when it comes to academics. Furthermore, UCLA’s School of Dentistry has over 200 academic faculty who contribute to the program’s cutting-edge research.

2. The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)

The University of California

The UCSF School of Dentistry is located on the Parnassus campus in San Francisco’s Mission Bay area, only a few blocks away from two other university campuses. The school boasts high-tech classrooms with multimedia equipment for students, including an online library that provides dental audio/visual lectures to supplement course material.

Those accepted into this prestigious institution have opportunities to abound in research because 88 percent of its graduating class pursue careers in academia or industry immediately upon graduation.

3. Stanford University

Although many may think that a school located in sunny Southern California would be #1 on the list of best dental schools, this honor goes to neighboring Stanford. The University’s School of Dentistry is housed within its School of Medicine. It provides students with state-of-the-art facilities and patient care opportunities for those interested in pursuing such careers as pediatric dentistry or periodontology.

The university encourages applicants to apply for one internship during their time at Stanford, which usually has an applicant pool much smaller than those used to the UC system campuses listed here. Furthermore, because Stanford is located just north of San Francisco, many cultural and entertainment opportunities are available to residents and visitors alike.

4. University of the Pacific

This private institution, located in Stockton, California, is home to 1,000 students. The University of the Pacific’s Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry is known for its excellent academic program designed to prepare young men and women for practice as general dentists.

The school started as a local dental society before it became part of the university; now, nearly 10 percent of alumni are practicing worldwide.

5. University of Southern California (USC)

Located in downtown Los Angeles near City Hall and Bunker Hill, USC provides an exceptional education at affordable prices due to its many merit-based scholarships. Students who attend this highly ranked dental school graduate with massive amounts of student debt.

Despite this, the University of Southern California has powerful alumni connections; many choose to stay in Los Angeles after graduation and continue checking on students. Other students practicing locally complete their required hours and head back to their respective states or countries.

6. Loma Linda University

Loma Linda’s School of Dentistry was established in 1898 and is located within the School of Medicine at this Seventh-day Adventist institution. The school has several specialties, including pediatric dentistry and oral surgery, but its main focus is general practice. Dental students who attend undergraduate programs here are given many opportunities to gain field experience before beginning their required clinical rotations that last for their time at the university.

The university has a strict pro-dentist policy; students with delinquent debts or criminal records will not be permitted to enroll in classes. In addition, students who want to become part of the Loma Linda family must prove that they do not have felony convictions committed within the past ten years. This private, four-year institution is co-ed and is supported by donations from church groups.

7. UC Davis School of Medicine

UC Davis, located in the beautiful city of Sacramento, is home to this highly ranked dental school. In addition, the School of Medicine at UC Davis provides many extracurricular activities for its students who are interested in becoming specialists or general practitioners.

Students must complete two years of required pre-dental courses before they may apply to the eight-year program; applicants with a 3.5 GPA and above will be accepted into either the four-year program (after completing prerequisites) or the five-year program (for those with GPAs between 2.5 and 3.4).

8. UCR DDS Program

The University of California, Riverside’s School of Medicine, offers programs in family medicine; however, one very unique aspect is that students are allowed to complete one of two separate tracks.

The first is for students who specifically want to become oral and maxillofacial surgeons. In contrast, the second track prepares graduates for family medicine, anesthesia practices, or even research positions.

9. USC Keck Medical Center, School of Dentistry

Founded in 1897, the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine is one of nine dental schools located within universities tied to their medical facilities. In addition, this four-year private institution offers students many learning opportunities through teaching hospitals, community clinics, and military facilities.

Graduates are well equipped to practice as general dentists with thorough knowledge about oral diseases and how they affect patients who need prescriptions before their procedures can be completed.

10. UC San Diego School of Dentistry

The University of California San Diego’s School of Dentistry was established in 1960 and is the only dental school on campus. Like many other highly ranked schools, it offers a six-year program with an additional year of specialized training.

Aside from its focus on general practice, UCSD provides students with extensive research and clinical experience; the university has access to both local and international training sites.

11. UC Irvine School of Medicine (UCI)

Located in sunny Southern California near Disneyland and the beaches, this “well-sought after institution” is home to four dental schools within the University of California system. The School of Medicine at UC Irvine offers 12 fully accredited programs in medicine, including family medicine and pediatric dentistry.

Although there is a specific emphasis on oral and maxillofacial surgery, the school also offers an available practice track for students who want to become specialists in pediatric dentistry or family medicine.


I hope these 11 universities will give your child a solid foundation in dental education. These schools all have in common: their success in passing the national board exams; all graduates from these institutions are well prepared for practice immediately after graduation.

Let’s send our kids to a university where they can learn at a world-class level, make a difference in their community, and get good jobs upon graduation!

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