D.D.S. Program

Curriculum Overview



Knowledge and Exposure: First-year students attend classes from August-June. Course work during the first year of study integrates the basic sciences with preclinical and clinical disciplines. The basic sciences include gross anatomy, general histology, oral histology and embryology, physiology, and biochemistry. Students also study topics specific to dentistry, such as the principles of occlusion, anesthesia and pain control, operative dentistry, facial growth and development, cariology, and preventive dentistry. During the latter part of the first year, students are introduced to their first clinical patient-treatment situation. Students make extensive use of the College of Dentistry's advanced simulation facilities where they learn procedures on mannequin units.


In-Depth Learning and Understanding: Course work during the second year of study continues with the integration of the basic sciences with preclinical and clinical disciplines. The basic sciences include microbiology, pathology, and pharmacology. Students start their preclinical courses in oral radiology, endodontics, orthodontics, and pediatrics. The second-year program includes patient-treatment experiences in the dental clinics where D2s place sealants, resin-based composite fillings, and amalgam fillings.


Focused Learning and Practice: Third-year dental students rotate through a series of clinics which extensively exposes them to each of seven clinical disciplines: endodontics; prosthodontics; operative dentistry; oral and maxillofacial surgery; oral pathology, radiology and medicine; pediatric dentistry; and periodontics.

Students spend five weeks in each clinic developing diagnostic and surgical skills and applying theoretical knowledge acquired during D1 and D2 courses.  These experiences prepare students to work more independently during the fourth year of training. Emphasis is placed on reinforcing high ethical standards and developing good surgical practices.


Synthesis and Application: Fourth-year dental students are involved in the delivery of comprehensive dental care in environments that simulate conditions they might experience in different settings after they graduate.  During a ten-week community dentistry experience, students are exposed to various health programs that include community health centers, hospitals, nursing facilities, or the College’s Geriatric and Special Needs Clinic.  Students also may choose to participate in sites affiliated with the Indian Health Service.

The Department of Family Dentistry plays a major role in the senior dental student's final integration of academic experience. The primary goal is to combine previously learned clinical skills into a well-organized and systematic approach to the comprehensive dental treatment of patients. The experience encompasses approximately three-fourths of the fourth year.

Practice management courses help students to choose where to locate their practices as well as manage the business aspects of a dental office.


Academic Accommodations

The University of Iowa College of Dentistry strives to provide a learning environment in which equal access to education is ensured through reasonable accommodations.  Students with disabilities must notify the Associate Dean for Student Affairs of their disability and provide documentation from a healthcare provide with a request for accommodation(s). After collegiate review of the request for reasonable accommodation(s), the Associate Dean will contact the student to outline approved accommodations.

Faculty in the College of Dentistry are required to comply with the University policies and procedures regarding the provisions of academic accommodations to students with disabilities if the accommodations requested are deemed reasonable.

Please contact the Associate Dean for Student Affairs at 319-335-7151 with any questions.