All Penn Dental Medicine postdoctoral students participate in a core curriculum lecture series their first year to enhance and augment the biomedical and basic science educational components of the specialty programs. Collective inter-programmatic decisions have identified areas for specialties and expertise from the clinical and basic science faculties. This interaction between the different specialty programs and the basic science departments of Penn Dental Medicine enables presentation of a biomedical lecture series at an enhanced educational level.

This program’s core didactic curriculum will cover all aspects of pediatric dentistry and will complement the wide range of clinical experiences that residents will encounter, including orthodontic care. These components of the program will be strengthened by hospital rotations through which residents will gain a deeper understanding of medical conditions and learn to work closely with medical colleagues and other members of the healthcare team.

Core Graduate Dental Education Curriculum

Anatomy of the Head and Neck

Objectives: The purpose of this lecture series is to review the principal anatomy comprising the stomatognathic system. The lectures build on the knowledge of head and neck anatomy acquired in dental school and integrates clinical relevance to this important subject. Slide presentations are employed to teach the anatomical structures of the major head and neck morphologic systems. The course focuses on the clinically pertinent aspects of the basic anatomy. Aspects of anatomy that are vital to patient care are emphasized. The course reviews common disorders pertaining to head and neck anatomy, their diagnosis and management. Thus, a broad perspective of the major anatomical points and their functional importance is obtained. A final essay examination is employed to assess competence and knowledge of materials presented.

Biostatistics and Research Methodology

Objectives: To provide a sufficiently in-depth introduction to statistics and the concepts of probability so that students can: 1. review and critically evaluate the use of statistics in the research literature. 2. set up and carry out statistical tests on their own data. 3. communicate effectively with statisticians and biometricians

Clinical Therapeutics

Objectives: 1. To gain an in-depth knowledge of therapeutic agents commonly employed in dental practice, including local anesthetic, sedative-hypnotic analgesia, and antibiotic drugs. 2. To explore evidence-based research as it relates to drug interaction in dental practice. 3. To learn how to prescribe and administer drugs to medically complex patients.

Microbiology (web based)

Objectives: The educational objective of the Microbiology component of the core curriculum is to provide the students an updated overview of several current broad areas of oral microbiology important to practicing dentists. After taking this course the students should understand: 1. the general differences between oral bacteria, viruses and their own cells 2. how microbiology testing services separate and identify certain microbial species in dental plaque and crevicular fluid samples 3. how the commonly used antibiotics control microbial infections 4. how bacteria develop resistances to the commonly used antibiotics 5. the role of oral bacteria in the development of human dental plaque 6. the current theories of caries formation 7. the role of oral bacteria in periodontal diseases 8. the role of human immune response in periodontal diseases 9. the biology of HIV 10. the major clinical manifestations of AIDS

Biology of Pulp/Dentin Complex Microcirculation

Objectives: 1. To give the student an understanding of the normal and abnormal biology of the dentin-pulp complex. 2. To provide the student with fundamental information on clinically related subjects such as pain control and pulp capping procedures. 3. To provide the student with a general knowledge of the literature related to pulp biology. 4. To review the various physiological methods of investigating pulpal tissue.

Congenital Craniofacial Anomalies/ Embryology

Objectives: To make the students aware of the most current information about congenital craniofacial anomalies, and to be able to develop their specialty dental treatment plans with consideration for these anomalies.

Biochemistry of Bone: A Master Gene of Bone Formation

Objectives: 1. To introduce students to recent scientific developments concerning the molecular and genetic regulation of osteogenesis and bone development. 2. To show how recent advances at the fundamental level can be used to further our understanding of clinical disease. 3. To use web-based information to explore the bone literature-base. 4. To review and extend students’ understanding of basic concepts in molecular biology.

Oral Medicine

Objectives: To have fundamental knowledge and competency in the following: 1.Obtain an adequate history from the patient with oral mucosal disease. 2. Formulate a differential diagnosis regarding oral mucosal disease. 3. Understand at a basic level the pathophysiology regarding each specific disorder named in the course outline. 4. Understand common treatment regimens regarding each specific disorder.

Osteoimmunology (web based)

Objectives: To provide students with a basic understanding of the biologic principles involved in osteoimmunology. These include an understanding of the immune response, the osteoclast and osteoblast, the effect of immune cells on osteoblasts and osteoclasts, osteoblast signaling pathways, interactions among bone cells, and the effect of the immune system on clinically important aspects of bone biology including osteoporosis, arthritis, fracture healing, periodontitis, lesions of endodontic origin and orthodontic tooth movement.


Objectives: At the end of the lecture series, the graduate students should be able to: 1. Understand the basic radiographic anatomy of the maxilla, mandible, teeth and supporting tissues using plain intraoral films, computerized tomography and magnetic resonance imaging. 2. Differentiate between paralleling and bisecting angle techniques as used in intraoral radiography and be able to use either of the techniques in various clinical situations. 3. Understand the concepts of standardization in terms of film position and tube position to be able to use similar techniques for clinical research. 4. Understand the concepts in advanced radiophysics, in particular the modern designs in the construction of x-ray tubes and utilization of alternating current and direct current in the production of x-rays 5. Understand the principles of radiobiology and protection, including the safety of the operator and patient, maximum permissible doses, and shielding calculations for operatories. 6. Use the principles of radiographic interpretation for identification and differentiation of all bony lesions, changes in the densities of bone, and bone regeneration. 7. Know the different types of radiographic assessment for implant placement, and understand the causes of implant failure as related to the bone quality. 8. Understand the panoramic anatomy and different types of tomography. 9. Know the concepts of digital radiology including the charged couple devices and the active pixel sensors used commonly in image capture and understand the resolution differences between the plain films and digital images. 10. Be knowledgeable of other extraoral radiographic techniques like sialography, arthrography and radionuclide imaging

Research Methodology

Objectives: To acquaint the student with research technology used in several basic science laboratories including: 1. chromatography 2. radio-immune assays 3. electron microscopy To introduce the student to research methodology used in several basic science laboratories including: 1. animal paradigms for pain 2. culturing techniques for viruses 3. genetic sequencing and mapping 4. computer simulation of molecules 5. clinical evaluation of dental agents 6. molecular methods for identification of oral microorganisms

Wound Healing (web based)

Objectives: 1. Discuss the early cellular events following the tissue surgery. 2. Discuss the role and significance of inflammatory response in wound healing. 3. Discuss the granulation tissue derived from each different cell of tooth supportive tissues. 4. Discuss the concept of regeneration versus repair. 5. Discuss the role of growth factors and cytokines in cell differentiation and expression.

Practice Management

Objectives: This background material presents information in the context of an integrated practice management curriculum. The background material also presents suggested topics for discussion exercises and assignments, in addition to specialty topics given within the residency program curriculum by trained faculty.


Objectives: Pathology is a course that will apply what students have already learned to the study of disease. It is an essential link between the basic and clinical sciences concerned with the mechanisms of disease (e.g., inflammation, neoplasia, and immunopathology) and the disease processes that students will encounter during their careers in dentistry. While the emphasis will be on oral pathology, one must also be familiar with systemic diseases that may impact on the health of the patients.

Program-Specific Curriculum concentrates on:

Physical, psychological, and social development


Behavior management, non-pharmacologic


Informed consents


Conscious sedation, deep sedation, and general anesthesia


Epidemiology of oral diseases, including special needs children


Oral diseases and clinical laboratory


Oral pathology


Radiology and radiation hygiene


Specific basis for prevention and treatment of caries, periodontal diseases, pulpal disorders, trauma, & developmental anomalies


revention and management of medical emergencies


Medical conditions/special needs patients and modification and delivery of care


Craniofacial growth and development


Child abuse and neglect


Treatment planning for special needs patients


Pediatric medicine fundamentals


Pediatric medicine, specialty care


Speech and language development


Practice management


Jurisprudence and risk management


Computers in dentistry and education


Biomedical ethics


Adolescent considerations


Case review


Journal Club

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