Diversifying dental schools

A look at changing demographics in dental education

Dental schools are more diverse than they have ever been, but there is still work to do before the dental workforce reflects the diversity of the overall U.S. population.

The total share of female students enrolled in predoctoral dental education programs rose from 50.5% in 2018-19 to 55.5% in 2022-23, according to data reports from the ADA Health Policy Institute’s Survey of Dental Education, administered on behalf of the Commission on Dental Accreditation. Similarly, the total share of students who are a racial/ethnic minority grew from 48.9% to 51.9% in that same timeframe, while the total share of white students dropped from 51.1% to 48.2%.

However, certain racial and ethnic groups have seen their representation increase more than others. While the share of first-year Asian and Hispanic dental students increased between 2005 and 2020, the share of Black students stayed roughly the same. The percentage of female enrollees in advanced programs also varies significantly by specialty.