s you prepare to apply to dental school, you will find it helpful to become acquainted with the usual educational curriculum, typical admissions requirements, and the application process. This chapter offers essential information about these topics, organized into four sections: The Dental School Program provides an overview of the basic educational curriculum at most schools, recognizing that each dental school has its own mission and distinguishing features; Qualifying for Dental school reviews the typical numbers of students involved in applying to and attending dental schools and summarizes general admission requirements; The Application Process describes the steps of applying to dental school; and Special Admissions Topics addresses the special topics of advanced standing and transferring, combined degree programs, and admissions for international students.
THE DENTAL SCHOOL PROGRAM
A common goal of all dental school programs is to produce graduates who are: Competently educated in the basic biological and clinical sciences. Capable of providing quality dental care to all segments of the population. Committed to high moral and professional standards in their service to the public. The traditional dental school program requires four academic years of study, often organized as described below. Since there is wide variation in the focus and organization of the curricula of dental schools, the schools’ descriptions in Part II of this guide show the specifics of courses of study that won’t be covered here.
Years One and Two
Students generally spend the major part of the first two years studying the biological sciences to learn about the structure and function of the human body and its diseases. Students also receive instruction about basic sciences such as human anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, and pharmacology and dentally oriented biological sciences such as oral anatomy, oral pathology, and oral histology. In many dental schools, first and second year students learn about providing health care to diverse populations. They also learn the basic principles of oral diagnosis and treatment and begin mastery of dental treatment procedures through practice on models of the mouth and teeth. In many programs, students begin interacting with patients and provide basic oral heath care.
Years Three and Four
The focus of the final two years of dental school generally concentrates on clinical study. Clinical training, which is broad in scope, is designed to provide competence in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of oral diseases and disorders. Students apply basic principles and techniques involved in oral diagnosis, treatment planning, restorative dentistry, periodontics, oral surgery, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, prosthodontics, endodontics, and other types of treatment through direct patient care. They learn to attend to chronically ill, disabled, special care, and geriatric patients and children. In addition, 13
ADEA OFFICIAL GUIDE TO DENTAL SCHOOLS
dental schools provide instruction in practice management and in working effectively with allied dental personnel to provide dental care. During these two years, students may rotate through various clinics of the dental school to treat patients under the supervision of clinical instructors. They often have an opportunity to acquire additional clinical experience in hospitals and other off-campus, community settings. These experiences give students an appreciation for the team approach to health care delivery through their association with other health professionals and health professions students. As dental school curricula are designed to meet the anticipated needs of the public, every school continues to modify its curriculum to achieve a better correlation between the basic and clinical sciences. In clinical training, there is increased emphasis on providing comprehensive patient...