The Oregon Health & Science University School of Dentistry is a publicly supported institution located in Portland, a city of 610,000 residents in a greater metropolitan area of approximately 2.35 million. The School of Dentistry is located in the Roberston Life Sciences Building, our new home on the waterfront in southwest Portland. Paths for joggers, bicyclists and pedestrians connect the University with the heart of the city just one mile away.
The dental school was established in 1898, and the School of Dentistry became incorporated into the Oregon State System of Higher Education in 1945. Since 1974, the School of Dentistry has been part of the Oregon Health & Science University, an institution devoted solely to educating health professionals and biomedical researchers. A dental school is more than just an institution, courses, classrooms and clinics--its people. OHSU dental students find friendly people who work together as a team toward one goal: providing each student with the best dental education available.
The dental program
Degree awarded: D.M.D. Size of entering class: 75
Length of program: 47 months. Freshmen begin with a six week summer term and complete a twelve week fall, spring and summer term and an eleven week winter term every year.
Curriculum: The dental curriculum is designed to prepare graduates for the practice of general dentistry. Emphasis is placed on the prevention of dental diseases as well as on technical, diagnostic, and treatment planning skills essential to treating patients.
Students see their first patient during the fall quarter of their freshman year as part of a course dealing with the prevention of dental diseases. During the first two years there is additional clinical experience, although most emphasis is placed on the biological sciences and preclinical techniques. The summer session between the second and third year focuses on clinical experience and oral pathology. The third and fourth years deal mostly, but not entirely, with clinical practice and include courses in practice planning and management. Honors clinical electives are offered in advanced restorative techniques, implantology and advanced education areas (e.g. endodontology, behavioral sciences). Development of ethical standards of practice, opportunities for community service, and elective courses augment the development of clinical skills.
Doctor of Dental Medicine Degree (D.M.D.) - a historical perspective
In 1839, Drs. Horace Hayden and Chapin Harris of the Baltimore College of Medicine decided to redirect their efforts to establish a specialty department of dentistry in the medical school and instead founded the first separate School of Dentistry. This new school, the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, granted the first Doctor of Dental Surgery degree (D.D.S.). A few years later, Harvard, the first university to organize a dental school, changed the degree to Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.). Harvard renamed the degree because they viewed dentistry as a branch of medicine, not just surgery, and so that diplomas could be written in Latin. Only a few dental schools followed Harvard’s lead and offered the D.M.D. degree. One of these school was the North Pacific Dental College (now Oregon Health & Science University School of Dentistry).
In recent years, more schools have changed from the D.D.S. to the D.M.D. Currently, approximately one-third of U.S. dental schools award a D.M.D. degree. The curriculums in all U.S. dental schools are similar and all must meet the same guidelines and standards determined by the American Dental Association.