When you factor in four years’ worth of tuition, fees and projected living expenses, the costs of attending dental school can be staggering. Graduates can find themselves burdened with a sizable debt for many years to come. Earning a Doctor of dental surgery (DDS) degree will likely strain your bank account no matter which school you attend, but some institutions will take a bigger bite out of your finances than others will.

University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry

Located in scenic San Francisco, the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry is a nationally respected school of dental arts. The school's website pledges the institution's commitment to providing world-class dental education for its students, as well as thorough, affordable patient care for children and adults. But how affordable is the school for prospective students? Tuition for the program's DDS, International Dental Studies (IDS), and graduate orthodontics degrees is listed as $93,612 for the 2013-2014 academic year. On top of that, new students are expected to pay a total of $19,728 in special fees, including application, technology, and instrument management fees.

University of Southern California School of Dentistry

USC's Ostrow School of Dentistry has helped mold talented students into exceptional dentists and dental hygienists since 1897. This kind of consistency doesn't come cheap. USC's website lists tuition for each of the first three years (of their four-year DDS program) as $72,306. Adding in all of the requisite fees -- including application fees and equipment rental -- the first three years will cost well over $200,000. Students' final year at the school is also their least expensive year there; tuition plus requisite fees adds up to $53,319.

New York University College of Dentistry

NYU's College of Dentistry offers students an integrated experience combining rigorous course work in the behavioral, biomedical and clinical sciences with extensive clinical practice. According to the school's website, students entering the four-year program in 2013 will pay $74,860 for their first year (including all fees), which is also their most expensive year in the program. That price goes up dramatically when you factor in New York City’s living and transportation expenses, which the school estimates is between $31,465 and $37,715 a year.

Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine

Boston University's Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine promises its students an abundance of unsurpassed experiential learning opportunities: hands-on clinical experiences starting in the first year, 10-week externships, and it state-of-the-art Simulation Learning Center. But how much will all of these opportunities cost the average student? The Goldman School is actually the least expensive "expensive" dental school on this list. Predoctoral tuition is listed at $64,500 for each of the four years of the program. The most expensive year of various fees (year one) adds up to $10,548. However, since Massachusetts state law mandates that all students participate in a health insurance plan, students of the Goldman School can expect to pay more than the program's listed annual costs.

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