The thirty-six month curriculum leading to the degree of doctor of dental surgery begins in July and is divided into 12 quarters, each consisting of 10 weeks of instruction, one week of examinations and a vacation period of varying length (between one and four weeks).
During the first quarter, students practice use of dental instruments and materials, working position and posture using direct and indirect vision, and basic dental laboratory procedures. They also are introduced to study and test-taking skills and methods of time management that will assist them in succeeding in the professional curriculum.
In the first eight quarters, students take courses in the biomedical sciences, including: human anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology and microbiology. Those courses are followed by instruction in clinical topics such as the importance of saliva, tissue aging, nutrition, and infection control. Throughout the curriculum, students learn application of basic sciences to biomedical problems of dentistry using the scientific method of inquiry.
During the preclinical instruction in the first four quarters, students learn to work from a seated position in a state-of-the-art preclinical simulation laboratory and with a chair-side assistant in conjunction with pediatric dental practice. Students begin working with patients in their second year.