School of Dental Medicine

The Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine is a professional school offering a curriculum leading to the Doctor of Dental Medicine degree (DMD). Advanced education programs in the dental specialties are also available.

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 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 students who enter the School of Dental Medicine are very carefully selected and have already had many opportunities for intellectual and social development. The years in dental school should permit the continued maturation of the individual and should emphasize the basic knowledge and skills which are common to all dentists. Graduates should continue their dental education during their professional careers and add to the basic concepts taught in dental school by studying the scientific literature and by attending continuing education courses. While in dental school, the student develops an attitude of professionalism and a sense of responsibility toward the patient’s welfare, which will provide 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.


Kenneth B. Chance, Sr., DDS
(Case Western Reserve University)
Dean of the School of Dental Medicine

Dale A. Baur, DDS
(Case Western Reserve University)
Associate Dean of Graduate Studies; Professor and Chair of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Nabil F. Bissada, DDS, MSD, BDS
(Case Western Reserve University; University of Minnesota; University of Cairo)
Associate Dean for Global Relations; Professor of Periodontics

Ronald L. Occhionero, DDS
(Case Western Reserve University)
Associate Dean for Administration; Professor of Comprehensive Care

Fady F. Faddoul, DDS, MSD
(Case Western Reserve University)
Assistant Dean of Clinical Education; Professor and Chair of Comprehensive Care

Suchitra S. Nelson, PhD
(Case Western Reserve University)
Assistant Dean, Clinical and Translational Research; Professor of Community Dentistry

Manish Valiathan, MSD, BDS
(Case Western Reserve University; College of Dental Surgery-Manipal India)
Assistant Dean for Clinical Affairs; Associate Professor of Orthodontics

Kristin A. Williams, DDS, MPH
(Case Western Reserve University)
Assistant Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs; Assistant Professor of Community Dentistry; Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Patricia Mehosky Ribeiro, BA, MBA, CRA
(The Ohio State University; Case Western Reserve University)
Assistant Dean for Research Administration

John W. Smolik, MBA, CPA
(Baldwin Wallace College)
Assistant Dean of Finance, Operations and Information Technology

Paul Wolansky, BS, MS
(Baldwin-Wallace College; Bowling Green State University)
Assistant Dean of Development and Alumni Relations


The entire Health Sciences Center has been designed so that students can interact with the School of Medicine and School of Nursing, as well as the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. 

The Health Education Campus was designed to provide a modern teaching facility. The Multimedia Laboratories are designed and equipped so that the basic sciences, technique, and simulated clinical experience can be carried on by the student in his or her individual area. Included in our Health Education Campus is our new, state-of-the-art, over 130,000 square foot Dental Clinic. 

Drawing from a local population of more than one million, the clinics provide a broad spectrum of care to the population, affording the student substantial clinical experience. The school cooperates with various organizations of the city in caring for their clients, an arrangement that provides additional clinical experience for students.


The Cleveland Health Sciences Library (CHSL) was formed in 1966 by an agreement between the Cleveland Medical Library Association (CMLA) and Western Reserve University. CHSL operates in two locations: the Allen Memorial Medical Library and the Health Center Library (HCL).

The Allen collection, strongly clinical, serves private and institutional members of the Cleveland Medical Library Association as well as faculty and students of Case Western Reserve University.

The Health Center Library collection of basic science materials is primarily for faculty and students of the schools of dental medicine, medicine, and nursing and the department of biology.

The Dittrick Museum of Medical History, located on the third floor of the Allen Library, contains nearly 20,000 objects related to the history of medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy, with special emphasis on Cleveland and the Western Reserve. The museum also contains a medical archives collection and a rare book room.

Reference staff in both libraries help and instruct patrons in the use of the library and its bibliographic resources. Items not available on campus may be obtained through inter-library loan. Other services provided are quick telephone reference, citation verification, computerized or manual bibliographic searches, access to the internet, and online searching of a multitude of databases.

Hospital Affiliations

The School of Dental Medicine has working relationships with hospitals and health clinics in the Greater Cleveland community, including the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Students have the opportunity to function as dentists and observe hospital routine and operating room techniques in these hospitals. Many members of the faculty hold staff appointments in these extramural health facilities.

Community Health Clinics

Dental students participate in clinical care at several community health clinics in and around the greater Cleveland area.  As part of the curriculum, dental students spend two weeks at one of the community clinics and additionally may volunteer their services in their free time.