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Doctor of Dental Medicine

The primary function of UNLV SDM is to provide world class oral health education while providing for the dental needs of Nevada residents. In doing this, UNLV SDM will be a driving educational force toward improving the health of the citizens of Nevada through innovative programs of oral healthcare services to the community, integrated biomedical and clinical curricula, and research. To accomplish this, it requires SDM to have an established clear, valid, and measurable set of student standards/competencies for learning. These are then used to formulate measurable objectives that are set into a workable framework for SDM Faculty

The UNLV SDM education program is a four year academic program consisting of eleven (11) full semesters, and approximately 5010 contact hours. The UNLV School of Dental Medicine, founded in 2002, established a curriculum that was designed to permit seamless vertical and horizontal integration of the three disciplines of biomedical, behavioral, and clinical sciences. The original intent of the UNLV-SDM’s mission was to offer foundation subject matter concurrently with clinical instruction; to this end, clinical presentations and discussions are included in biomedical courses (and vice versa). Behavioral science topics are offered in the context of the clinical setting. The requirement for foundational knowledge in achieving clinical competency is recognized to be central to the curriculum.

Learning Objectives

The UNLV School of Dental Medicine (SDM) education program is a four year academic program consisting of eleven (11) full semesters, and 5010 contact hours.

  • First year: 46 weeks, 1404 contact hours
  • Second year: 46 weeks, 1303 contact hours
  • Third year: 46 weeks, 1477 contact hours
  • Fourth year: 28 weeks, 826 contact hours (estimated)

The academic year is divided into trimesters, each of which includes approximately 15 weeks of instruction. The curriculum hours are comparable to the national data published by the American Dental Association.

The UNLV School of Dental Medicine, founded in 2002, established a curriculum that was designed to permit seamless vertical and horizontal integration of the three disciplines of biomedical, behavioral, and clinical sciences. The original intent of the UNLV-SDM’s mission was to offer foundation subject matter concurrently with clinical instruction; to this end, clinical presentations and discussions are included in biomedical courses (and vice versa). Behavioral science topics are offered in the context of the clinical setting. The requirement for foundational knowledge in achieving clinical competency is recognized to be central to the curriculum.

At SDM, curriculum alignment is the continual review of the learning outcomes associated with SDM Clinical competencies and CODA standards for instruction across the Biomedical, Behavioral, and Clinical disciplines. SDM has taken great strides to ensure that the curriculum is aligned so that learners receive the critical foundation knowledge before are in conjunction with their clinical experience. This allows for assurances that the students are receiving the SDM class offerings when appropriate. This process is sometimes referred to as the Just-in-Time delivery of the curriculum course work. With a lock-step curriculum this process is even more critical, because any change must be looked at carefully to ensure it doesn’t cascade into multiple changes. The JIT philosophy has been used to help manufacturing to eliminate waste by providing the correct product and the right time and place. Therefore when applying this to education, it means instructors must maximize their course plans and the curriculum overall must provide the necessary information just prior to or simultaneously when students are practicing the skills necessary to complete a specific competency. The curriculum management plan addresses during its regular curriculum review. Change requests are forwarded to the curriculum committee as the clearing house. The curriculum committee addresses these recommendations from the larger picture, the entire curriculum across all four years.

UNLV School of Dental Medicine Learning Outcome Map

In the current era of competency-based learning, educators have a unique opportunity to become more active participants in improving teaching and learning over all. All accredited dental schools must show proof of complying with their internal competencies, as well as the CODA standards. In order to do this, the competencies/standards must be translated into actual classroom/clinic practice in terms of what and how they teach as well as how they assess student mastery. Below is a condensed version of the curriculum mapping by year and discipline. The UNLV SDM competency-based educational program requires the student doctor to successfully challenge thirteen (13) competencies.

UNLV School of Dental Medicine SDM Competency Statements

Accepted during Faculty Assembly (July 11, 2012).

Upon graduation, SDM students must be able to:

  1. demonstrate principles of ethical reasoning and professional responsibility as they pertain to the academic environment, patient care, practice management, and research.
  2. demonstrate self-assessment, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills related to the comprehensive care of patients.
  3. promote oral and systemic health of patients within private practice and within the community.
  4. assess, diagnose, and perform treatment planning for individual patients of all ages.
  5. treat or manage periodontal and peri-implant tissues.
  6. restore defective teeth to form, function, and acceptable esthetics.
  7. replace missing teeth to form, function, and acceptable esthetics.
  8. treat or manage pulpal and periradicular disorders.
  9. treat or manage oral mucosal, bone, and temporomandibular disorders.
  10. perform uncomplicated oral hard and soft tissue surgical procedures.
  11. diagnose and manage malocclusion and occlusal disorders.
  12. treat or manage orofacial pain and anxiety.
  13. recognize, prevent, diagnose and treat or manage dental and medical emergencies encountered in dental practice.

Note. The SDM Competency Statements above should not be confused with SDM Clinical Competency Assessments or other Outcomes Assessments used for the purpose of measuring (in-part or full) the SDM Competency Statements.