The predoctoral dental curriculum leads to the award of the doctor of dental medicine (D.M.D.) degree. The objectives of this curriculum are education of competent general practitioners of dentistry and preparation for life-long learning and advanced training. The curriculum is completed in four academic years, including an eight-week summer session before the second, third and fourth years of training.
The first year begins with a pre-term covering gross anatomy and an introduction to oral diagnosis. Courses in biochemistry, physiology, histology, neuroscience, dental anatomy, head and neck anatomy and inflammation follow. Students are introduced to the fundamentals of the oral examination, oral radiology, dental materials, prosthodontics, operative dentistry, periodontology and prevention of dental disease. Students begin to apply their knowledge to the examination and treatment of child patients in the first year.
The second year emphasizes development of the skills needed for dental techniques. This includes didactic and laboratory courses in facial growth, fixed and removable prosthodontics, operative dentistry, oral surgery, periodontology and endodontology, as well as clinical work in periodontology and operative dentistry. The second year also continues the study of basic science: microbiology, immunology, pathology, nutrition and pharmacology. The curriculum includes courses on caries, occlusion, and pain and anxiety control. Behavioral science (patient management) and public health aspects of dentistry are also covered.
Emphasis during the third and fourth years is on clinical practice, supported by lecture and seminar sessions dealing with diagnosis of oral disease, application of dental materials, treatment planning and clinical treatment procedures. Experience is provided in employing chair-side assistance from dental auxiliaries. Students develop competency in general dentistry by treating patients in the dental clinics and Russell Street Community Clinic. Also, opportunities exist for dental students to participate in supervised programs that afford educational experiences off campus. Some of these extramural programs provide dental care for disadvantaged individuals.
Enhancement of knowledge and development of technical skills are not the only aims of the curriculum. The ethical standards, social responsibilities and humanitarian attitudes characteristic of the healing professions are fostered through courses in the history of dentistry, ethics, behavioral aspects of the dentist-patient relation, and social and economic problems in dental care delivery. Courses in practice management instruct students in practical and legal aspects of dental practice.
The purpose of the dental educational program is to impart scientific knowledge and clinical skills needed in the practice of these professions, to instill standards of professional conduct as a way of life and to promote a dedication to continuous, life-long professional study and self improvement.
Health care is more than a collection of knowledge and skills; dental professionals need certain personal qualities to meet the needs of their patients and the standards of their peers. The school fosters each student's commitment to support high ethical and moral values, a liking for people and for unselfish service, an understanding of human relations, the ability to communicate, and a broad understanding of the community's and nation's health goals.
The Oregon Health & Science University School of Dentistry is the only academic health center in the state and its fundamental purpose is to ensure and improve the health of all Oregonians. The ethical practice of dentistry requires intellectual ability, physical competence, and personal responsibility. Therefore, each applicant must satisfactorily complete all requirements for admission to the School of Dentistry. In addition to demonstrating personal characteristics appropriate for a career in a health care profession, qualification for admission to, and, following completion of the curriculum, graduation from the School of Dentistry requires satisfaction of the following standards:
- sufficient intellectual capacity to fulfill the curricular requirements of the various required basic science and clinical courses;
- ability to communicate effectively with patients, colleagues, faculty, staff, and other members of the health care community;
- ability to learn and safely perform the various technical skills required to complete the dental curriculum; and
- sufficient emotional stability and responsibility to withstand the stresses, uncertainties, and changing circumstances that characterize the practice of dentistry and dental specialties.
Specific technical standards, based on clinical competencies and accreditation standards of the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association, are available from the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs of the School of Dentistry.
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