Aberdeen could have a new dental school within 18 months according to the Public Health Minister Shona Robison.
The minister said the centre could open in 18 months
She made the announcement at the Scottish Parliament after North East MSP Mike Rumbles questioned her on the issue.
The British Dental Association said it would be "surprised" if the school could be open by October next year.
The SNP had pledged to set up a dental school in Grampian to tackle the shortage of dentists in the area.
Andrew Lamb, director of the BDA in Scotland, said the timing was ambitious.
A new £4m Aberdeen Dental Institute officially opened in November 2006.