School of Dental Medicine

Side view of School of Dental Medicine building

The School of Dental Medicine at Case Western Reserve University is a diverse and vibrant community and a private dental school located in Cleveland, Ohio.  Students select our school because of our reputation for excellence, our first class predoctoral and postdoctoral dental education programs that include our preceptor model of clinical instruction and our strong commitment to patient care, research, interprofessional education and community service.

Brief History

The School of Dental Medicine was organized June 21, 1892, as the Dental Department of Western Reserve University. For the first 25 years of its existence, the school was located in downtown Cleveland. In 1917, the School of Dental Medicine became an integral part of the university, with a building on Adelbert Road. In 2003, the name of the school officially changed from the School of Dental Surgery to the School of Dental Medicine, and the degree offered changed from Doctor of Dental Surgery to Doctor of Dental Medicine. 

In 2019, the School moved to the Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilion and the Dental Clinic Building at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic. The 477,000-square-foot Samson Pavilion is home to dental, nursing, medical, and physician assistant students. Being under one roof, and having some classes that they’ll all take together, encourages the communication and collaboration that’s required in the fast-paced field of health care. The new 132,000 square-foot Dental Clinic features state-of-the-art patient care facilities, equipment and digital technology, including an ambulatory oral and maxillofacial surgery center. 

The Profession of Dentistry

The mission of dentistry is the protection and improvement of the health of individuals and society with a concentration on oral health. Professional activities encompass a wide variety of endeavors including the clinical care of individuals, the prevention of disease, the discovery of new knowledge, and the development of procedures and policies that protect and improve health, especially for those populations at risk for disease.

Because oral health is an important concern of society, the role of the dentist continues to be essential and rewarding. Men and women who are interested in scientific studies directly related to the welfare of people should find a strong appeal in dentistry as a life work. It offers an unusual opportunity for public service, community respect, and the use of originality, compassion, and substantial skill and independent judgment on a daily basis.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine is to provide outstanding programs in oral health education, patient care, focused research and scholarship, and service that are of value to our constituents. We will accomplish this in an environment which fosters collegiality and professionalism, and that enables a diverse group of students to become competent oral health care providers and contribute to the health and well-being of individuals and communities. 

The School of Dental Medicine's core values are: collegiality, a culture of inquiry, diversity, innovation, integrity, and responsible stewardship.

Dental Education Program

The School of Dental Medicine's Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.) program provides students the opportunity to become successful dentists who make a positive difference in the health and well-being of the people and communities they serve. The full-time four year DMD degree program's competency-based curriculum involves integrated systems-based biomedical sciences, preclinical and clinical dental sciences, preclinical simulation, comprehensive patient care, interprofessional collaborative practice, behavioral sciences, ethics and professionalism, practice management and community service. Students are taught and mentored by skilled and experienced faculty in a humanistic environment that emphasizes professionalism, personal and professional responsibility, mutual respect, teamwork, critical-thinking skills and extensive hands-on preclinical and clinical general dentistry experience. Graduates are well prepared for licensure and to pursue general dental practice as well as advanced education residency programs. As lifelong learners, graduates must continue their dental education throughout their professional careers in order to stay current in their field, make decisions based on scientific evidence and deliver high quality patient-centered care. While in dental school, students grow as professionals with a commitment to and responsibility for their patient's best interests and welfare, to provide patients with optimal dental care. 

License to Practice Dentistry in Ohio

Specific information about licensure in Ohio and other states should be obtained from the individual state boards of dentistry.


The School of Dental Medicine is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) on a seven year cycle. The School's most recent site visit was November 1-3, 2016. The School's next site visit is scheduled for November 5-7, 2024.