About Your Dentist's Education & Training


Have you ever thought about what your dentist had to do to become a dental health professional? Here is what makes your dentist qualified to take care of your smile.

Bachelor's Degree

Prior to attending dental school, your dentist had to complete their bachelor’s degree. Although dental schools may not necessarily require a pre-dental major, your dentist may have graduated with a degree in a subject that would best prepare them for dental school, such as chemistry, biology, or physics. They also had to take the Dental Admission Test (DAT) to assess their scientific knowledge and academic capacity.

Dental School

Once they were accepted into a dental school, your dentist completed four years of courses to get their degree to become either a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) or Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS). In the first 2 years, they worked in the classroom and lab, focusing on health and dental sciences in courses such as orthodontics, periodontics, and pathology. The final 2 years, they worked in a clinical practice, treating and diagnosing patients while being supervised by their instructors.


After your dentist graduated from dental school, they took the National Board Dental Examination, which is a two-part exam on dental science, clinical procedures, and ethics. To become a dentist, they also had to pass a practical exam administered by their state’s licensing board.

Optional Specialization

After your dentist graduated from dental school and met the licensure requirements, they were eligible to practice as a general dentist. If your dentist was interested in additional education they pursued advanced dental education in General Dentistry, usually through a 12 month program, or became specialized in other dental fields. The training for these specializations ranges from 14 months to 6 years in the form of certificates, master's or doctoral degrees, and residency programs. 

There are 9 dental specialty options:

  • Dental Public Health
  • Endodontics
  • Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology
  • Oral & Maxillofacial Radiology
  • Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics
  • Periodontics
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Prosthodontics

About Our Skilled Dentist, Dr. Gary Johnson

Our talented dentist, Dr. Gary Johnson, received his DDS degree from the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry. He graduated at the top of his class in post-graduate training in oral surgery with the US Military, has received extensive training in Molar Endodontics (root canals), and is a Certified Exodontist as well as a Premier Provider for Invisalign®. Dr. Johnson is dedicated to further developing his skills as a dentist by attending advanced continuing education courses, dental symposiums, and researching the latest techniques available.

Dr. Johnson is affiliated with a number of professional organizations, including:

  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
  • American Dental Association
  • California Dental Association
  • Butte County Dental Association
  • Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation
  • Academy of Osseous Integration

If you are looking for a new dentist or need to come in for a regular checkup and cleaning, contact us to schedule an appointment today!