Are Dentists Doctors?

"Dentists are not Doctors." "You are a dentist, not a doctor." "You are just a dentist." Sounds familiar, right? Each one of my colleagues has heard one of the above statements at least once in his/her career.

Are Dentists Doctors? Is this even a question? Yet many dentists have faced this question at some point in their career. This post answers that question with logical reasoning.

Are Dentists Doctors?

(Dental Practice Management)

Is this even a question?

“Dentists are not Doctors.”

“You are a dentist, not a doctor.”

“You are just a dentist.”

Sounds familiar, right?

Each one of my colleagues has heard one of the above statements at least once in his/her career.

And not just by medical doctors/physicians/surgeons but also by lay people.

To make matters worse, popular movies and television shows like The Hangover and Roadies have been fueling this hair-brained myth among the public.

Such ideas are not only disrespectful to a great profession but also an insult to human intelligence.

It’s like saying, “It’s an omelet but not a poultry product!”

But now the question remains, why do people think so? Why so many people keep asking the same question? Does it need to be evaluated? Is there something wrong in the way we present our profession from the initial days?

#1. Why Do People Think So?

Honestly, there is no true answer! But still, we will like to probe into the thinking.

  • It could be because people think dentists deal with comparatively less invasive procedures than medical surgeons do.
  • Another reason could be the difference in duration of the professional courses for medical doctors and dentists.
  • There is no mortality involved in our field of work. Hence dentists are considered to be underachievers since we do not “save people’s’ lives.”
  • Plain ignorance (for lack of a more polite term).

If you see closely, many of these points arise from the ignorance of people about Dentistry in general. People are least bothered about their oral hygiene. Teeth and oral cavity are treated as a secondary organ until unless there is some pain. This attitude of negligence towards oral health is behind the deeply rooted negative and disrespecting psyche of people regarding Dentistry as an integral part medical science and Dentists as Doctors.

Go to the next page where we will discuss, Why such People are wrong. We have solid reasons to counter the negative opinions of people.

For people who say-Dentists are not doctors!

Why are such People wrong?

Why should you not feel depressed on the thinking of such people?

Definition of a Dentist:

    • A dentist, also known in the U.S. as a dental surgeon, is a surgeon who specializes in dentistry—the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and conditions of the oral cavity. -Wikipedia
  • In India, the Government recognizes the graduate in Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) as a Doctor.
  • There is one single entrance for both MBBS and BDS after Class 12th.
  • The“S” in BDS stands for Surgery, and last time anyone checked, surgery was performed by Doctors.
  • TheBDS course includes medical subjects in the first three years of college, so dentists have great knowledge about how the human body works.

Wait that’s not all, We have more points for such ignorant people.

Go to Next Page

for the final set of points: Why no one should have doubt that Dentists are doctors?

The final set of points that prove that dentist are doctors 

    • We have patients. Not clients. Not customers.
    • While anesthetizing your jaw, one small mistake and you could end up with a hemifacial swelling.
    • Painful and debilitating conditions likeOral cancer, Oral Submucous Fibrosis and MPDS are treated by dental surgeons.
    • Many invasive procedures need dentists/dental surgeons such as cleft lip surgery, trigeminal neuralgia, face and jaw fracture reductions to name a few.
  • Most diseases that affect other parts of the body manifest in the mouth first. In such cases, the dentist is your first line of clinical diagnosis.
  • Deaths do occur in our line of work too; though very, very rarely. That is why we take proper precautions and complete medical history before every procedure. Also, dentists in India can issue death certificates in Government Hospitals.
  • All dentists are hardworking people. We do not just give consultations and prescriptions. We believe in treating our patients with a hands-on approach.
  • All banks offer“Doctor’s loans” to dentists, even online ones. If we weren’t doctors, we would not qualify for Doctor’s loans.

You have to realize that a person who is ignorant will never be able to comprehend these points. Also, a dentist cannot in person describe these points to each and every one.

But a dentist can make great upliftment of their profession by making few changes. For example the urge to keep the prices of treatments less than your neighborhood competitor.

Such attitude paints a picture in front of general public, that dentists are money minded, cheap and back biters.

Such behaviors by dentists reduce the level of respect that dental surgeons rightfully deserve.


Bottomline: The word “Doctor” in this particular context is a blanket term for a health professional who diagnoses, prevents and treats diseases and disability.

Dentists do all that, and more.

image source: PicLogo

This article is written by Dr. Chinmoy Hazarika. He is a practicing dentist and an avid blogger.

He writes at He has also authored a Novel Crooked Crusader: Morally Impaired