Dental Medicine, DMD

Degree: Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD)

Program Overview

The program will accomplish its goals through academic work in four themes and two threads, which are woven throughout the four years of the program. The program includes a variety of educational formats to deliver the curricula, including problem-based learning sessions, team-based learning, independent study, seminars, extensive hands-on preclinical simulation education and dental procedural skills development, use of digital dental technologies, experiential learning opportunities, traditional lectures, laboratories, standardized patient experiences, and patient-based comprehensive care. An important goal of the curriculum is to help students become better prepared in independent learning, interprofessional practice, critical thinking skills, and the use of evidence. The curriculum includes the following themes and threads:


Health and Well-Being

This theme contains all curricula -- both didactic and clinical -- that apply to health and the normal structure and functioning of the body and of the oral complex. The traditional content areas of physiology, biochemistry, anatomy, histology, among other dental science classes, are integrated through cases to form a better bridge between the basic sciences and the clinical sciences.

Disease Processes

The Disease Processes theme includes content related to general and oral diseases. These topics are often melded with healthy structure and function content to provide students with a global perspective of the implications of disease on usual functioning.

Restoration of Health

This theme contains content related to therapies necessary for treatment of medical disease and dental disease. A focus on restoring oral health is accomplished through virtual reality clinical skills training, training on models and progression to comprehensive dental care in conjunction with didactic knowledge.

Maintenance of Health

The Maintenance of Health theme focuses on a curriculum which explores strategies for preserving health through general and oral health therapies, patient education, disease risk assessment, and disease prevention. This theme provides a viewpoint from which students can develop life-long care plans for their patients.



This thread that runs throughout the four-year program supports student growth in skills in clinical decision making. Students develop an understanding of what scientific evidence is, how to make clinical decisions based on the best available evidence and to value scientific discovery in all aspects of dentistry.


This thread contains curriculum for the development of students as ethical professionals and caring practitioners who are stewards of oral health of the individual patient, the community, and society. An important focus in the Leadership curriculum is professionalism and character development. The Leadership curriculum also focuses on patient and risk management as well as a strong one-year practice management curriculum, and integration and application of the practice management curriculum within student's clinical preceptor groups.


Year 1

This year includes curriculum describing normal healthy functioning and disease processes. Basic science content is taught in the context of clinical cases. Foundational work in understanding human structure and function is paired with learning about disease. Students participate in 3D mixed reality learning of anatomy using HoloLens and HoloAnatomy software, use 3D Complete Anatomy software as well as hands-on learning of cadaveric anatomy. Students learn the foundational elements of oral health. Preclinical simulation education and dental procedural skills development include dental anatomy, masticatory dynamics/occlusion, operative dentistry and fixed prosthodontics. Students will enhance their preclinical skills through use of the SimEx Dental Augmented Reality Simulator. Digital dental technology is incorporated into the first year curriculum with use of 3D optical scanning and Compare software in Dental Anatomy and Operative Dentistry. Students complete the first year Interprofessional team-based and community service based Collaborative Practice I course. 

Year 2

This year continues with an integrated approach to curricula in health and disease involving all of the clinical dental disciplines as well as oral-systemic health, with an emphasis on the development of dental clinical skills. Digital dental technologies are incorporated into the second year curriculum with digital radiology and CADCAM. Preclinical simulation education and dental procedural skills development include radiology, operative dentistry, fixed and removable prosthodontics, endodontics, periodontics, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry and implant dentistry. Students will enhance their preclinical skills through use of the SimEx Dental Augmented Reality Simulator. Students participate in 3D mixed reality learning of anatomy using HoloLens and HoloAnatomy & HoloNeuro software and 3D Complete Anatomy software. Further development of students as clinicians proceeds with their involvement in the clinical preceptor groups. In the pivotal 2nd year, students develop and demonstrate competency in clinical skills and didactic knowledge in order to be prepared to transition into the clinic at the beginning of the 3rd year and begin delivering patient-centered clinical care.

Year 3

Students gain clinical experience in the Comprehensive Care Clinics and take clinically-focused didactic courses to advance levels of knowledge and clinical experience. Students participate in rotations to specialty clinical areas while accomplishing comprehensive patient care. Students complete a year-long Integrated National Board Dental Examination (INBDE) Preparation Course and take the INBDE at the end of the 3rd year. 

Year 4

Students continue to gain clinical experience in the Comprehensive Care Clinics, complete clinical competencies and finish didactic courses which may include enrichment courses. They participate in practice management activities of their preceptor group, developing critical skills for general practice dentistry. 4th year students typically take the ADEX/CDCA dental licensing exam during the middle of the 4th year.