The mission of the Doctor of Dental Surgery program is to graduate a dentist who can deliver patient care with a scientific basis and a caring manner. Through the integration of the biomedical, behavioral, and clinical sciences, the graduate dentist will be able to function effectively as the leader of the oral health care team to provide comprehensive oral health care for diverse populations in a constantly changing society. Graduates must be able to use the skills of problem solving, decision-making and evaluation so that behaviors and practices are derived from intentional choices. They must become lifelong learners, directing their rofessional growth during and beyond the educational programs.
- Apply the fundamental principles of the biomedical and behavioral sciences as they relate to the promotion and provision of oral health care.
- Apply legal, ethical and regulatory principles to the provision of oral health care, including practice management.
- Apply interpersonal and communication skills to empathetically and effectively care for diverse patient populations and function in the health care environment.
- Apply critical thinking and problem solving skills to provide evidence-based patient-centered care.
- Evaluate various models of oral health management and care delivery.
- Participate in improving the oral health of individuals, families, and groups in the community through oral health promotion, education and interaction with other health professions.
- Manage medical emergencies and complications that may occur during dental treatment.
- Recognize and manage pain and anxiety, trauma, hemorrhage, and infection of the orofacial complex by selection, administration or prescription of pharmacological or non-pharmacologic agents in the treatment of dental patients.
- Demonstrate competence in providing oral health care within the scope of general dentistry for children, adolescents, adults, and special needs patients. This includes:
- Perform a complete dental examination to arrive at a diagnosis of the patient’s oral condition/s.
- Develop, present and implement an integrated treatment plan to address a patient’s oral health needs.
- Prevent, identify and manage periodontal conditions.
- Prevent, identify and manage pulpal and periradicular conditions.
- Identify and manage patients with oral surgical needs.
- Identify and manage malocclusions.
- Manage restorative procedures for single defective teeth, or to restore function in patients with partial or complete edentulism.
- Treat patients with soft tissue lesions and oral manifestations of systemic diseases.
- Demonstrate the ability to self-assess competency and the outcomes of care.
The school offers a four-year, eight-semester, two-summer-term curriculum leading to the doctor of dental surgery (D.D.S.) degree. This curriculum is designed to prepare graduates in dentistry to deliver patient care with a scientific basis and a caring manner. As such, it provides a sound background in the biomedical, behavioral and clinical sciences with an emphasis on comprehensive oral health care. Exposure to clinical dentistry in the first semester of the first year is a hallmark of this curriculum.
The first year of dental school focuses on instruction in the biomedical sciences that provide a foundation for clinical studies. The first-year student also studies introductory courses in oral diagnosis and dental restorative techniques in a pre-clinical setting. Early clinical exposure is further emphasized through clinic-based courses in both the first and the second semesters. Acquisition of basic diagnostic skills and background knowledge is a goal of the first year of the curriculum.
Biomedical science courses extend into the second year; however, the major thrust of the second year is devoted to pre-clinical technique coursework of increasing complexity. In the preclinical laboratory courses, students continue learning the fundamental procedures of dentistry: operative dentistry, prosthodontics (fixed and removable), and endodontics. Clinically, students are introduced to the basic essential skills needed in preventive periodontics. Classroom lecture sessions are also conducted in each of these areas of dentistry along with didactic courses in periodontics, oral diagnosis, oral radiology, and oral surgery.
The primary emphasis of the third year of the curriculum is the clinical practice of dentistry. The general clinic is organized into subunits called teams. Each team includes an established set of faculty and staff. Patients are assigned to students for comprehensive care, from diagnosis and treatment planning through procedures necessary for successful case completion. While the emphasis of the third and fourth years of the dental curriculum is gaining clinical experience, students also attend advanced classes in periodontics, prosthodontics, oral surgery, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, operative dentistry and oral diagnosis/oral medicine.
The fourth year involves extensive clinical practice. There are a few seminar sessions and formal courses (e.g., practice management), but the student's major responsibility is to perfect diagnostic, patient-management and technical-treatment skills and demonstrate competence in all the skills required by the faculty of the School of Dentistry.
An outline of the four-year curriculum by semester is given below.
Satisfactory completion of the program including:
- Demonstration of competencies expected of a graduating student.
- A passing grade on all sections of Part I and Part II of the National Board Dental Examinations.
- A cumulative grade-point average of 2.5 or higher for the student's period as a dental student.
- A demonstrated ability to meet the standards of professional conduct.