School of Dentistry

Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) Academics Information

The School of Dentistry is the region’s leader in clinical education and patient care.

This is accomplished by very specific strengths:

  • Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) students provide comprehensive care at the Center for Oral Health Care & Research, a $96.5 million facility with 198,000 square feet and the most advanced technology available to dental clinicians
  • Patient care is coordinated at three levels based on difficulty: dental students, advanced education residents and faculty 
  • Dedicated and diverse faculty that are experts in their field teaching primarily at the level of a general dentist
  • Students have access to the most advanced technology available, including: electronic patient record, digital radiography, CAD/CAM, digital impressions and virtual submission to lab
  • An extensive outreach program offers students experience with various models of oral health care systems
  • The integrated dental hygiene program allows dental and dental hygiene students to collaborate effectively 
  • A selective program permits students to have some customization to their experiences based on interests

Beginning with DS1s entering in 2017, the curriculum for the first two years features:

  • Integrated basic and clinical sciences; foundation science in context; “just-in-time” learning
  • Learning about the craniofacial region, before the systemic health and disease
  • Reinforcement of didactic material through preclinical activities
  • Earlier hand skills development/earlier clinical experiences
  • Earlier transition to clinic with DS 2 didactic and preclinical curriculum ending in mid-March

The curriculum structure divides the courses into three tracks:

  • Human Health and Disease (HHD): Emphasizes the integrated foundation knowledge
  • Foundations of Restorative Dentistry (FRD): Highlights clinical hand skill development
  • Introduction to Patient Care (IPC): Combines tracks for non-surgical patient care experiences in small groups

The contemporary and integrated curriculum provides our students:

  • An easier transition to junior clinic
  • More meaningful clinical experiences due to the knowledge and skills learned in the first and second year curriculum
  • More applications of critical thinking/problem solving skills

sample plan of study for the Doctor of Dental Surgery program from the catalog shows the normal sequence in which courses are taught. 

Clinical experience information for the D.D.S. degree program

How many clinical hours will I have? You will receive more than 2,000 hours of patient-care learning experiences.

Where will I do my clinical training? The majority of your training occurs in the new 200,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art Center for Oral Healthcare & Research, where you will spend the majority of your time in your practice group or on a specialty rotation. There are also community-based clinics where you will have rotations. Our Dental Education Outreach Network has affiliated training sites and dental students have required rotations delivering services in off-site locations during each of their four years of dental school.

How many operatories are in the Center for Oral Healthcare & Research? There are 200 operatories in the predoctoral clinics and another 200 in the graduate clinics.

What types of procedures will students be expected to perform to complete the rotation? There are 33 curriculum competencies that you must complete during your junior year and curriculum competencies that you must complete during your senior year.

Will students be assigned to a team? Your junior and senior years will be spent in one of the eight General Practice Groups at UT Dentistry.

Who supervises and teaches? All of our faculty members are also practicing dentists, with multiple specializations. You will be working with a team of faculty members who are there to guide you and serve as mentors. Instructors hold case conferences with students.

What clinical rotations I will participate in? (Dental Education Outreach Network rotations are also part of your clinical experience.)

Junior year

  • Oral Surgery
  • Dental Emergency
  • Geriatrics
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Periodontics

Senior year

  • Dental Emergency
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Oral Medicine
  • Oral Surgery
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Primary Dental Care - South Texas Rotation
  • Primary Dental Care – SACDC at Haven for Hope

Rising senior students also are required to complete a two-week continuous clinical selective, a six-week research selective or another approved plan.

Rotations are subject to change due to availability.

Who are my patients? Patients are members of the San Antonio community. We also serve South Texas with locations in Laredo and at a variety of community clinics in Bexar County. We also have opportunities for student participation in weekend mission trips and other off-site clinical experiences through the Dental Education Outreach Network.