Penn Dental Medicine

Academic Programs & Admissions

Third-Year Curriculum

Students begin to function as dental practitioners during their third year. Didactic courses provide a deeper and more sophisticated foundation of knowledge in the clinical disciplines. However, the bulk of the third year is spent providing general patient care in a variety of settings. This includes assignments to Primary Care Units in the general clinic and rotations in various specialty clinics. In addition, students provide patient screenings and education in community-based dental health programs at schools, health fairs, geriatric centers, and homes for disabled persons. Third-year students also participate in the Selectives Program.

Key: (L= Lecture, B = Laboratory, S = Seminar, C = Clinic, R = Rotation)

Third-Year Courses Course Type

Pediatric Dentistry Lecture and Laboratory

This lecture and laboratory course introduces students to the concepts and techniques of pediatric dentistry. It provides the basis for beginning clinical experiences with pediatric patients. This course provides the concepts, techniques, and psychomotor skills necessary to provide comprehensive dental care to pediatric patients.


Endodontics Lecture

This course gives students a foundation for better understanding the clinical aspects of endodontics and the interactions with other departments, for example, restorative and periodontic dentistry. Students will be exposed to endodontic diseases such as pulpal and periradicular diseases.


Periodontics Lecture

This course is designed to acquaint the student practitioner with the fundamentals of periodontal surgery necessary for the comprehensive practice of general dentistry. A major emphasis will be directed towards an understanding of the normal periodontium and a correlation of the events in the histopathology of inflammation, trauma and wound healing to afford the student a biological basis for dental practice.


Health Promotion Seminar

Seminars expand students' foundation knowledge in health promotion and disease prevention activities with patients in the clinics at the School of Dental Medicine.


Practicum in Community Health Promotion

Experiences in selected community settings provide students with the opportunity to develop and expand their skills in community oral health promotion. Students are scheduled in local elementary and middle schools to participate in the oral health education, screening, and a referral program under the direct supervision of faculty members. In addition, students complete activities from a selected list of programs at local community agencies and/or schools. Students attend small group seminars to discuss their experiences and theoretical underpinnings of community oral health activities.

Implant Dentistry Lecture and Laboratory

The learning modules in this course present an approach to the biological and scientific basis for implantology, patient evaluations including diagnosis, treatment planning, and implant selection, implant surgery and post-surgical care, implant prosthodontics procedures, and maintenance protocols.


Preventive and Interceptive Clinic

Through clinical rotations, the student is exposed to patients with malocclusions that arise in a normally developing craniofacial complex. Management of these problems aims at providing an unimpeded eruption and alignment of the permanent dentition.


Restorative Dentistry Lecture

This course is divided into three modules. The first, operative and esthetic dentistry, reviews basic principles of cavity preparation and restorative materials and relates these principles to more advanced and complex applications. Several basic and advanced esthetic dentistry procedures are also presented. The second module, fixed prosthodontics, in addition to providing a review of the principles of this discipline, includes presentations on cad-cam and laser technology, advanced techniques for the construction of provisional restorations, use of attachments in all fixed and combination fixed and removable prostheses, and occlusal and esthetic concepts. The last module, removable prosthodontics, is a continuation of the second year course on removable partial prostheses. Clinically relevant topics from the fitting of the prosthesis framework through insertion and post insertion care of the prosthesis are presented. In addition, predoctoral students are exposed to the concepts and techniques related to tooth supported complete dentures and the crown and sleeve coping prostheses in this module.


Restorative Dentistry Clinic

Comprehensive care is defined as the overall patient care delivery system that includes all dental services, i.e., emergency care, treatment planning, general dentistry, specialty care, and maintenance programs. The delivery of such care revolves around the Primary Care Unit (PCU) Program. Within each unit, third- and fourth-year students perform examination and diagnostic procedures, comprehensive treatment planning, all restorative dental procedures, fixed and removable prosthodontic procedures, including implant supported restorations, non-surgical periodontal procedures, and maintenance therapy. The PCU program goal is to produce a practitioner who can integrate basic science knowledge with clinical proficiency in all phases of general dentistry, based on the concept of recognition and treatment of oral disease.


Pediatric Dentistry Clinic

This clinical course exposes the student to many components of pediatric dentistry, including but not limited to diagnosis, prevention, restorative dentistry, pulp therapy, management of the developing occlusion, behavior guidance, and care of special needs children. The School of Dental Medicine competency statements, as they apply to children, adolescents, and special needs patients are the focus. Competency examinations for this course relate to obtaining informed consent and to practice in an ethical manner.


Orthodontics II Lecture

The course will provide the student with experience in early orthodontic treatment, exposing him/her to malocclusions arising in a normally developing craniofacial complex. Management of these problems aims at providing an unimpeded eruption and alignment of the permanent dentition. Other topics include biological and mechanical principles of tooth movement as well as corrective orthodontics.


Endodontics Clinic

The Endodontic Clinic trains predoctoral students to become competent in basic endodontic procedures on vital and non-vital teeth. This includes instruction in diagnosis, treatment planning, treatment/obturation, post-endodontic restoration and related entities (bleaching of non-vital teeth, treatment of traumatic injuries, etc.). This instruction is expanded and reinforced in the four year clinic.


Oral Medicine Lecture

This course gives students a foundation for understanding oral conditions which directly affect the oral and Para-oral structures as well as common medical disorders and how to alter dental treatment in patients with common complex medical conditions.


Oral Surgery Lecture

This course gives the student exposure to all aspects of the wide and varied scope of oral and maxillofacial surgery. The course also promotes the integration of the basic sciences and medicine into the daily practice of oral and maxillofacial surgery and dentistry.


Oral Surgery Clinic

Students perform uncomplicated exodontia and minor pre-prosthetic surgical procedures that are approved by the clinical instructors, assist the instructors in complicated surgical procedures, and observe the administration of intravenous sedation and general anesthesia.


Radiology Clinic

Students are assigned 12-15 rotations in the Radiology Clinic during their third and fourth years. During their rotations, they take full-mouth x-ray series on newly admitted patients who are sent to Radiology from the Admissions Clinic.


Periodontics Clinic

The Periodontics Clinic provides third and fourth year students the opportunity to treat patients with differences of severity in existing periodontal disease. In most cases, the patients afford the students adequate experiences and impart to them comprehensive knowledge of the tissues of the periodontium and the fundamental principles underlying the prevention and treatment of diseases that afflict the periodontal tissues.


Practice Management

Lectures provide students with foundation knowledge regarding career planning and policies and procedures related to employment and business management in dental practice.

Clinic Seminar

The seminar is an open forum discussion in which students make case presentations after which the diagnosis, treatment plan, and therapy are analyzed and evaluated. Initially, the PCU leader presents cases in order to establish the proper method of case presentation; thereafter, it is the student's responsibility to present thoroughly documented cases which include photographic slides of pretreatment, a complete dental and medical evaluation, study models, radiographs, and other pertinent data.

Geriatric Dentistry Lecture

Lectures and case presentations provide students with foundation knowledge regarding the treatment of geriatric patients.

The Robert Schattner Center
University of Pennsylvania
School of Dental Medicine
240 South 40th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6030