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The following competency statements represent the behaviors that the faculty of the College of Dentistry believes are essential for graduates beginning independent practice.  Competency is based on knowledge, experience, critical thinking and problem solving skills, professionalism and ethical values, and technical, psychomotor procedural skills and a commitment to self improvement and self directed learning.


1. Critical Thinking
Students must demonstrate competence in the use of critical thinking & problem-solving, including their use in the comprehensive care of patients, scientific inquiry & research methodology. (*CODA 2-9)
2. Self-assessment & self-directed lifelong learning
Students must demonstrate the ability to self-assess, including the development of professional competencies and the demonstration of professional values and capacities associated with self-directed, lifelong learning. (CODA 2-10)
3. Foundations in Biomedical Sciences
a. Biomedical science instruction in dental education must ensure an in-depth understanding of basic biological principles, consisting of a core of information on the fundamental structures, functions & interrelationships of the body systems. (CODA 2-11)
  • Human Physiology (MPB 8115)**
  • Biochemistry (BIOC 8101)**
  • Human Gross Anatomy. (ACB 8120)**
  • Histology for Dental Students (ACB 8121)**
  • Dental Microbiology (MICR 8230)**
b. The biomedical knowledge base must emphasize that the oro-facial complex is an important anatomical area existing in a complex biological interrelationship with the entire body. (CODA 2-12)
c. In-depth information on abnormal biological conditions must be provided to support a high level of understanding of the etiology, epidemiology, differential diagnosis, pathogenesis, prevention, treatment and prognosis for oral and oral –related diseases. (CODA 2-13)
  • Human General Pathology (PATH 8133)**
  • Oral Pathology (OPRM 8235)**
d. Students must demonstrate competence in the application of biomedical science knowledge in the delivery of patient care. (CODA 2-14)
e. Students must apply knowledge of pharmacology in the prevention, diagnosis, and management of oral disease and the promotion and maintenance of oral health. (FK8)***
  • Basic Pharmacology for Dental Students (PCOL 8240)**
  • Applied Pharmacology/Dental Therapeutics (DENT 8368)**
4. Foundations in Behavioral Sciences
a. Students must demonstrate competence in the application of the fundamental principles of behavioral sciences as they pertain to patient-centered approaches for promoting, improving and maintaining oral health. (CODA 2-15)
b. Students must demonstrate competence in managing a diverse patient population & have the interpersonal & communications skill to function successfully in a multicultural work environment. (CODA 2-16)
5. Foundations in Dental Sciences
Students must demonstrate preclinical competence (as defined by the Course Director) in each of the following areas:
  • Dental Anatomy (OPER 8120)**
  • Preclinical Operative Dentistry (OPER 8122)**(CODA 2-23f)
  • Preclinical Prosthodontics (CODA 2-23h)
  • Preclinical Periodontics (didactic)(PERI 8140 and PERI 8230)**(CODA 2-23i)
  • Preventive Dentistry skills (PCD 8116 and PCD 8118)**
  • Preclinical Endodontics (ENDO 8241)**(CODA 2-23j)
  • Anesthesia & Pain control (OMFS 8115)** (CODA 2-23e)
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology (OPRM 8120 and OPRM 8245)**(CODA 5-7)
  • Preclinical Orthodontics (ORDN 8235)** (CODA 2-23n)
  • Preclinical Pediatric Dentistry (PEDO 8240)**(CODA 2-22)
6. Managing the practice of dentistry
a. Students must demonstrate competence in applying legal and regulatory concepts related to the provision and /or support of oral health care services. (CODA 2-17, 5-3, 5-8, 5-9)
b. Students must demonstrate competence in applying the basic principles and philosophies of practice management , models of oral health care delivery and how to function successfully as a leader of the oral health care team. (CODA 2-18)
7. Interprofessional health care
Students must demonstrate competence in communicating and collaborating with other members of the health care team to facilitate the provision of health care. (CODA 2-19)
8. Ethical practice of dentistry
Students must demonstrate competence in the application of the principles of ethical decision making and professional responsibility. (CODA 2-20)
9. Evidence-based dentistry
Students must demonstrate competence to access, critically appraise, apply and communicate scientific and
lay literature as it relates to providing evidence-based patient care. (CODA 2-21 and CODA 5-2)
10. Comprehensive General Dentistry
Students must demonstrate competence in providing oral health care within the scope of general dentistry to patients in all stages of life. (CODA 2-22)
At a minimum, students must demonstrate competence in providing oral health care within the scope of general dentistry, as defined by the school, including: (CODA 2-23)
a. Patient Assessment, diagnosis, comprehensive treatment planning, prognosis & informed consent. (CODA 2-23a, 5-1, 5-3)
b. Screening & risk assessment for head & neck cancer. (CODA 2-23b)
c. Recognizing the complexity of patient treatment & identifying when referral is indicated. (CODA 2-23c)
d. Health promotion & disease prevention, including diet. (CODA 2-23d)
e. Local anesthesia & pain & anxiety control. (CODA 2-23e)
f. Restoration of teeth. (CODA 2-23f)
g. Communicating & managing dental laboratory procedures in support of patient care. (CODA 2-23g)
h. Replacement of teeth including fixed, removable & dental implant prosthodontic therapies. (CODA 2-23h)
i. Periodontal therapy. (CODA 2-23i)
j. Pulpal therapy. (CODA 2-23j)
k. Oral mucosal & osseous disorders. (CODA 2-23k)
l. Hard & soft tissue surgery. (CODA 2-23l)
m. Dental emergencies. (CODA 2-23m, 5-5, 5-6)
n. Malocclusion & space management. (CODA 2-23n)
o. Evaluation of the outcomes of treatment, recall strategies & prognosis. (CODA 2-23o)
p. Screening and risk assessment for caries and periodontal disease
11. Patients with special needs
Students must demonstrate competence in assessing the treatment needs of patients with special needs. (CODA 2-24).
12. Community-based learning experiences
Students must participate in community-based learning experiences. (CODA 2-25)
13. Emerging Technology in Dentistry
Students should be able to evaluate, assess and apply current and emerging science and technology. (CODA 2-23: Intent statement and CODA 5-2: Intent statement)


*CODA refers to Commission on Dental Accreditation standards – effective July 1, 2013
**course numbers @ University of Iowa
***(FK refers to “Foundation Knowledge” statements from ADA Committee for an Integrated Examination (CIE) – (April 2013)- “Foundation Knowledge for the General Dentist”.