How Long Does It Take To Become A Cosmetic Dentist?

Most people will agree that having a beautiful smile is essential. After all, it’s one of the first things people notice about you. If you’re contemplating becoming a cosmetic dentist, you’re probably thinking and wondering how long it’ll take to achieve this goal.

Before anything else, be aware that becoming a cosmetic dentist requires significant time and money. And you might be wondering how long exactly it’ll take before you become a cosmetic dentist.

The answer could be more straightforward than you think, but it’ll be great if you familiarize yourself with everything you need to know. This article will discuss most of the steps you must take and the time to become a cosmetic dentist. So, continue reading to know more.


Just knowing the types of Invisalign isn’t enough to make you a legitimate cosmetic dentist. You need to undergo formal education, and you’ll need a lot of time doing so.

To become a cosmetic dentist, you must have a bachelor’s degree in dentistry or a related field. You must complete a four-year dental program at an accredited institution. Some dental schools offer specialized cosmetic dentistry programs.

In this step alone, it could take you eight years before you become an unlicensed dentist. Of course, there are multiple ways to speed up college, allowing you to shave a year or two. But remember that it can be a tall order to do.


After completing dental school, you need to complete a residency program. A residency program can last anywhere from one to four years. During this time, you’ll gain practical experience in cosmetic dentistry.

Remember that the duration of your residency depends on the program you’ll take. If you take AEGD (Advanced Education In Dentistry) or GPR (General Practice Residency), you may need to spend two to three years. Meanwhile, if you take OMFS (Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery), you must spend four years.

Note that it’s recommended that you must be a DMD (Doctorate of Medicine in Dentistry) or DDS (Doctorate of Dental Surgery) if you want to be a cosmetic dentist. Doing so may make you spend six years in residency. 


Once you’ve completed your education and residency, you must obtain a license to practice dentistry. The licensing process involves passing a written and practical exam. Licensing requirements vary by state.

While requirements vary by state, most policies surrounding being a licensed dentist are governed by the ADA (American Dental Association). You can read about their licensure policies, ethical consideration policies, and task force report.

Also, note that your state license is only effective in the same state. If you plan to move and practice in a different state, you’ll also need to undergo their licensure exam. So be sure to plan which state you’ll be in once you start practicing as a dentist.


Cosmetic dentistry is a specialized field within dentistry. You may need to complete additional training to specialize in cosmetic dentistry. Specialization can help you stand out in the job market.

Typically, you’ll need to acquire additional training and workshops to become a specialist. You may also need accreditation from the AACD (American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry).

Getting Into The Business

At this point, you can already start practicing as a cosmetic dentist legally. Give or take—you may have already spent eight to 15 or more years getting here. It’s a long time, and surely there’ll be times when you’d think about letting go of dentistry for a medical career.

Unfortunately, being licensed isn’t the end of your journey. You need to make sure everything you invested will pay off, so you must go through the steps mentioned in the following sections:

Continuing Education

Like most healthcare professions, dentistry is constantly evolving. You must keep up with the latest techniques and technologies in cosmetic dentistry. Continuing education is necessary to maintain your license and improve your skills.

Remember to attend conferences and seminars related to your craft. Often, dental associations like the AACD hosts these events, so always be on the lookout on their websites to know the dates you need to clear in your calendar.


Building relationships with other cosmetic dentists can be beneficial. You can learn from their experiences and get advice on-field success. Joining professional organizations is an excellent way to network with other dentists.

Honing Your Business Skills

Being a successful cosmetic dentist requires more than clinical skills. You also need to have good business skills. You must be able to market yourself and manage your finances.

Being Dedicated

Becoming a cosmetic dentist requires significant time, money, and dedication. It can take anywhere from six to ten years or longer to achieve this goal. However, it’s possible to succeed in this field with hard work and perseverance.

To become a cosmetic dentist, we encourage you to research your area’s dental and residency programs. Speak with dentists and professionals in the field to get a better understanding.