DDS Program - Overview
The DDS program at the School of Dental Medicine provides students with the basic science training, clinical expertise, and analytical skills necessary to attain the highest level of proficiency as a practitioner. Our graduates practice across the country, in many different settings, in all areas of dental medicine-as general practitioners and specialists in private practice, as dental researchers, health-care administrators, teachers in dental schools, and managers in the private sector.
Beginning with the Basic Sciences
Although dental medicine is concerned with the oral cavity and its associated structures, students need to understand all human organ systems and associated disease processes since diseases of one system often produce concomitant disturbances in other systems and regions of the body. The strong basic science training stressed in the first three years of the program provides the foundation for future professional growth. Our students graduate understanding and practicing dental medicine, well prepared to critically review and analyze dental literature in order to keep their knowledge and skills current throughout their professional careers.
Clinical Experience Is a First Priority
At the UB School of Dental Medicine, our clinical training program begins in the first year. The mix, structure, pacing, and quality of our clinical experiences is one of the particular strengths of the UB program.
Our clinical courses are structured so that the lecture supports the laboratory/clinical experience, and the school's advantageous faculty-student ratio - with 66 full-time and 113 part-time faculty teaching a student body of approximately 360 - fosters the one-on-one instruction essential to providing a comprehensive clinical experience.
Students begin patient care earlier in the UB DDS program than at most schools, but with careful support and supervision. Early exposure in the preclinical and clinical courses allows students to integrate their basic science training with their clinical experiences for a more comprehensive understanding of the material; it also provides an opportunity for students to see practical applications of the concepts they are discussing in lecture classes.
Students are introduced to patient care over the four-year curriculum, with a gradual increase in the time allocated to clinic and the sophistication of the care provided. First-year students spend one afternoon each week in the clinic, progressing, by the fourth year, to nearly full-time patient care. Clinical experiences at local affiliated hospitals complement the experience gained in the Squire Hall clinics.
One of our greatest assets is our patient pool: No student in the UB School of Dental Medicine has ever been delayed in his or her education because of a lack of patients. The school has a long tradition as a provider of excellent clinical services and is entirely responsible for the acquisition of patients. Each year there are in excess of 30,000 patient visits. With more than 15,000 patient files, there are approximately 6,500 patients under active treatment at any time.
Clinical Training Geared to Modern Practice
Over the past few years, the school has dramatically restructured the clinical experience both to more closely simulate practice after graduation and to provide better patient care. In traditional dental education, the clinical experience was very procedure oriented, with students moving from discipline clinic to discipline clinic to satisfy quantitative requirements. Our focus is now on treating patients. Following evaluation of patients' health-care needs, the patients are assigned to students for treatment based on student need. Students are then responsible for completing their patients' care under the guidance of faculty. This organization better prepares students for practice after graduation.
We ensure training in all the areas of clinical dentistry by carefully assigning patients. The school's new computerized patient-management system allows us to closely monitor students in terms of their exposure to patient treatments and patient progress.
Research Strengthens the DDS Program
The strong research orientation of our faculty brings the most current knowledge of dental science to the DDS program. As a result, our students receive ongoing instruction in the most significant advances in the profession throughout their four years, and they graduate far more knowledgeable about their profession. In addition, students who choose to take advantage of the school's research opportunities can add further dimension to their DDS training.