DDS Program - Third Year
In the third year, study of most clinical subjects continues, with courses in oral pathology and radiology, pharmacology, oral medicine, and anesthesia. Lecture courses lessen in quantity, and the clinical practice of dentistry begins to take precedence in time and effort. Third-year students spend three full days (9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) in the clinic each week, with the remaining two days spent in classes and labs.
Third-year students continue in the practice groups assigned during their second year. Each practice group—composed of approximately twenty third-year students, twenty fourth-year students, a director, and a group of faculty—functions like a large group practice. Each group works together to provide care to the patients assigned to the practice group. Two practice groups are located on the first-floor clinic; the other two practice groups occupy the second-floor clinic. Each student is assigned an operatory for his/her exclusive use for the third- and fourth-year clinical experience.
Clinical skills are developed as third-year students provide comprehensive care to between fourteen and eighteen patients and are directly involved in each major discipline of clinical dentistry, including operative dentistry, periodontics, endodontics, orthodontics and pediatric dentistry, oral and maxillofacial surgery, and fixed and removable prosthodontics. Third-year students perform patient care in all phases of clinical dentistry, gaining the same scope of experience as fourth-year students but taking a little longer and performing less sophisticated procedures. While third-year students still require significant faculty supervision, by the end of the third year they have gained sufficient clinical experience to provide treatment to patients with more demanding and comprehensive treatment needs.
Off-Campus Clinical Experience
Rotations to Buffalo’s major hospitals complement the clinical experience gained in Squire Hall. Third- and fourth-year students are assigned one week out of every four to the dental clinics in a number of Buffalo-area hospitals. This provides an opportunity to treat a larger group of patients with a wide variety of dental-treatment needs and other medical complications. Students treat patients and assist postgraduate students and attending dentists as they care for patients. Students spend time at Erie County Medical Center; Kaleida Health’s Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, Buffalo General Hospital, and Millard Fillmore Hospitals; the VA Western New York Healthcare System; and Roswell Park Cancer Institute. In these settings, students become familiar with dental care provided in a hospital environment and are given the opportunity to gain operating-room experience, provide restorative care to medically compromised patients, and receive training in oral and maxillofacial surgery.