Technical Standards

The dental degree signifies that the holder is a dentist who has received sufficient training in dental education to practice dentistry. It follows that graduates must have acquired and demonstrated the knowledge, skills and abilities to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of dental care.

While each application is reviewed individually, it is necessary that each candidate be able to observe and perform each task required by the curriculum of the school. Similarly, the school does not consider the waiver of required examinations a reasonable accommodation for individuals with learning disabilities. Learning disabled students, when appropriate, may be granted additional time on required examinations, be examined in separate testing facilities, or accommodated in other reasonable ways, but they will not be exempted from the requirement to take and pass such examinations. (Candidates with disabilities should contact the UMKC Office of Services for Students with Disabilities for information regarding definition and requirements for documentation of learning disabilities.)

Candidates for admission into the D.D.S. program must possess abilities and skills in the following areas to satisfactorily complete the curriculum:


Candidates must be able to accurately observe laboratory experiments, preclinical demonstrations, clinical laboratory procedures and patient-care activities.


Candidates must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and with all members of the health care team.


Candidates must have physical dexterity to master all aspects of patient care. They must be able to execute motor movements required to arrive at a diagnosis and treatment plan, and to provide patient care, including emergency treatment.

Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities

A candidate must have intellectual-conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities that include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis and synthesis. Problem solving, one of the critical skills demanded of dentists, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, the candidate must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationship of structures.

Emotional and Behavioral Attributes

In addition to these skills, candidates must possess the high moral and ethical standards demanded of dentists and must possess the capability required for full utilization of intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis, treatment planning and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive and effective professional relationships with patients. Candidates must be able to cope with taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. A candidate must also be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties in the clinical problems of many patients. In addition, personal qualities such as compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation should be assessed during the admissions and education processes. Technological accommodation can be made for some inadequacies in certain areas, but a candidate must be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner.