Why Does Dental School Cost So Much Money?

In Dentistry by Ian IzaguirreLeave a Comment

Dentistry can be a very rewarding profession for you because, with most patients, you can see tangible results immediately after you offer treatment. However, many students hesitate to take up this line of work because of the high cost of education.

A 2013 survey done by “The Curious Dentist” provides a glimpse into the amount of debt dental students accumulate upon graduation:

Chart showing a scale of the different averages of debt dental student accumulate

In comparison with medical school, students may have to pay substantially more to complete their course at a dental school. There are several reasons behind this imbalance between medical training and dental training. Let’s take a closer look at some possible reasons below.

Affiliations With Hospitals

Many medical schools have the advantage of affiliations with hospitals. The hospital subsidizes and aids the school and this allows the school to keep the cost of education from skyrocketing. In contrast, dental schools normally do not enjoy the benefits of such affiliations.


The profitability of the dental school clinic also plays a role in this issue. The clinic may offer several services at discounted rates so that more patients may be encouraged to patronize it. This limits its profitability quite significantly, especially when compared with general health clinics or hospitals that can offer services at competitive pricing without the risk of losing patients.

Government Support

Financial support from the government is more forthcoming for research carried out at medical schools when compared with dental colleges. This is another factor that prevents dental training institutions from offering education at lower cost.

Books And Supplies

Apart from the actual tuition fees, dental students may have to spend substantially on books and supplies as well. According to the University of Buffalo website, a first-year dental student may shell out more than $10,000 towards these expenses.
Dental student holding dental supplies

Exams And Certifications

In addition, as the student progresses through the course, he or she may also need to factor in the cost of taking various exams and certifications. For example, in the second year, he or she may have to pay the National Board Dental Exam part 1 fee, in the second year, the CPR certification fee, and in the fourth year, the National Board Dental Exam part 2 fee.

Monetary Structure

Students often overlook the fact that the monetary structure of the medical school allows it to divert some of the direct costs away from them. In a dental school this may not always be possible, and as a result, the students have to bear a larger fee burden.

According to the survey posted at the beginning of this article, more than almost 50% of the respondents said they graduated dental school with a debt of over $250,000. Only 4% of the respondents graduated with less than $50,000 to pay. However, despite the higher cost of education, dentistry continues to be a viable course to follow because it is a highly valued profession. Qualified and skilled dentists can consistently maintain high earnings and this makes the dental education cost a very worthwhile investment indeed.

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“Why Does Dental School Cost So Much Money”
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“Why Does Dental School Cost So Much Money”

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