School of Dentistry

IDEP DDS Clinical Experience

How many clinical hours will I have?

You will receive more than 2,000 hours of patient-care learning experiences. Your clinical component begins in May. You will immediately see patients.

Where do I receive my clinical education?

The primary clinical education occurs in the School of Dentistry’s Center for Oral Health Care & Research, part of UT Health San Antonio. Students practice in teams in the Comprehensive Dentistry Pre-doc Clinics. Additionally, there are advanced education program clinics and community-based clinics to which students are sent.

How many operatories are in the clinic where I will work?

There are 220 operatories for the Pre-doc clinics. Each advanced education program has its own clinic with varying numbers of operatories.

What types of procedures will students be expected to perform?

For graduation, students must demonstrate they are competent in 31 areas.

When will I see patients and be in clinic?

IDEP students begin patient care very early during the introduction course. You will join the pre-doc clinics by the end of May. By July, you will also have community-based clinical and departmental rotations in order to gain a well-rounded clinical experience.  

Our students benefit from being fully integrated with the traditional dental school students. They will learn patients' comprehensive care by working with general dentists, restorative content experts, prosthodontists, periodontists and endodontists. Each dental specialty rotation is covered by its respective expert faculty member.

DS4 students begin more advanced training. You can supplement the advanced basic curriculum by choosing additional training in more than 16 selective courses, from periodontal surgery to orthodontics. Students can also be mentored in research, teaching or become active in mission trips, extracurricular activities, dental societies, groups or other functions on campus.

Who supervises and teaches?

A wide variety of faculty members teach and/or supervise depending on the procedures being performed. Our Pre-doc clinics have specialists, but the focus of patient care is at the level of a general dentist. Specialists supervise in the advanced education program clinics.  

What clinical rotations I will participate in?

DS3 year

  • Oral Surgery 
  • Oral Medicine
  • Dental Emergency
  • Geriatrics
  • Pediatric Dentistry 
  • Periodontics
  • Primary Dental Care: San Antonio Christian Dental Clinic at Haven for Hope
  • Special Needs Clinic

DS4 year

  • Dental Emergency
  • Leadership
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Oral Surgery 
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Primary Dental Care:  South Texas Rotation, Texas
  • Primary Dental Care:  San Antonio Christian Dental Clinic at Haven for Hope
  • Primary Dental Care: Federally Qualified Health Centers - Luling and Seguin Dental Centers
  • Special Needs Clinic

Rotations are subject to change due to availability.

Who are my patients?

Patients are members of the San Antonio community. We also serve patients from Central and South Texas, an area of more than 50,000 square miles or 130,000 km2. We have patients and clinics in Laredo, Texas, and we serve patients in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Our patient population is large. It has diverse dental needs.

What else should I know?

To assess clinical performance, the School of Dentistry begins with daily, formative assessments that provide a basis for evaluations of student progress.

Each day the covering faculty members take note of how students are integrating their knowledge, technical skills, problem-solving abilities and professional behaviors in the course of patient care and record the results on an electronic daily grade-sheet.

Each month, and again at the end of each semester, the faculty members will issue to students the progress reports based on those daily grades and feedback.

UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry's approach is similar to the way medical and dental residency directors make their assessments. We look at more than just production. We evaluate all aspects of dental care. You will receive input from multiple faculty members. Your grade will be based on overall performance instead of a snapshot of one test on one day.

We have a high standard for our students, and we have a commitment to help students reach that level of excellence. Commitment is a spirit of determination to continue on and to be dedicated and faithful. Our faculty and staff have that commitment to our students.

A code of personal integrity guides us to do the right thing for our patients; our students live by this code, and our students are committed to striving for the highest standards.

Our faculty will evaluate students on patient management and chair-side manner. Students must serve our patients in a professional way to complete the program.