Course Series Descriptions

Student put behavioral science into practice when they begin patient care.Behavioral Science

The Behavioral Science courses introduce students to the behavioral aspects of dental health care delivery in practice. Students learn that the mind-body connection is inseparable, and that the psycho-physiological and psychosocial experiences of the dental patient must be considered in all dentist-patient inter­action. The overall goal of the courses are to sensitize the student to the professional, interpersonal and sociocultural issues that challenge today's dental practice.

Biochemistry and Nutrition

The goal of Dental Biochemistry and Nutrition is to permit students to understand human biochemistry in health and disease. The student must become familiar with the basic biochemical pathways. Self-study, computer-aided instruction, and review of central metabolic pathways and the structures of important metabolites are crucial since this basic information underlies discussions of biochemical regulation throughout the course. Some emphasis is given to nutritional concerns in dental disease and treatment. The role of clinical chemistry in oral diagnosis is introduced.

Clinical Comprehensive Care

This clinical course includes comprehensive care of a wide range of adult patients incorporating diagnosis and treatment planning, active treatment, post treatment case review, and maintenance care.  The following components of comprehensive care are addressed in the course through direct patient care and case presentation: understanding of the patient’s needs, behaviors, culture and social context; communication; detection, assessment and diagnosis; decision-making and critical thinking; total treatment of all patient needs; and education’ self-care, recall and outcome assessment.  Course content includes minimum clinical attendance requirements, formative evaluations within comprehensive care, a written capstone case presentation (via Blackboard), and case-based requirements for completion of comprehensive care.

Dental Ethics and Jurisprudence

This course consists of classroom lecture and discussion. Dental Ethics and Jurisprudence is designed to heighten students' awareness of the importance of ethical issues as they relate to dentistry. Develop an appreciation of the legal and ethical responsibilities in fulfilling their obligations to patients, the profession, and the community. Specifically, this course will require students to consider a moral perspective in clinical decision-making and to engage in the analysis of ethics. It will challenge students to identify their own personal standard of ethics, to become well versed with the ADA ethics code, and to learn to apply dental ethics to clinical case material. This course aspires to further enhance the students' professional identity as well as the students' ability to manage difficult cases.

Dental Materials

The dental materials courses present the basic science of physical, chemical, and biological properties of materials commonly used in dental practice, such as composite resins, bonding systems, metal alloys, porcelains, cements, impression materials, and materials for dental implantology. Consideration of these materials includes selection of materials for specific clinical situations, evaluation of new materials, and the relationship of materials properties to clinical performance. Application of dental materials knowledge is provided in advanced restorative lecture courses, Restorative Dentistry I-IV laboratories, and in comprehensive clinical patient care.

Students evaluate epidemiological studies in the dental public health course.Dental Public Health

The goals of the Dental Public Health courses are to ensure that students use epidemiological indices to describe the prevalence and incidence of dental diseases in a specified population; evaluate scientific literature in terms of study design, sampling, and data analysis methods; plan, implement and evaluate community-based preventive dental programs for target populations; and apply motivational and instructional techniques regarding patient dental education through community field experiences.

Dental Treatment Planning

This course is designed to impart a foundation level of knowledge for creating functional dental records, collecting pertinent medical/dental findings, establishment of proper diagnosis and development of a sequential treatment plan. Lectures and clinical experience develop competencies of comprehensive care. Such competencies include clinical data gathering, diagnosis, planning and sequential treatment, and clinical decision-making.

Dentistry for Special Needs Patients

Dentistry for Persons with Disabilities integrates principles of clinical management with behavioral and communication skills in the care and management of special populations, such as the mentally and physically challenged, elderly patients and the homebound. The course builds upon skills developed in the first three years of predoctoral dental education.


These courses of study include a review of the pathology, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the dental pulp and periapical tissues. The student learns to relieve pain in emergencies, and later, to perform comprehensive endodontic treatment on single-rooted and multi-rooted teeth.

Cell cultures are evaluated in general and oral histology.General and Oral Histology

This course helps students learn about how cells and tissues in the body are organized. A major emphasis is on how the organization of these cells and tissues results in the different functions of the organ systems. A significant part of the course deals specifically with the oral cavity and the structures relevant to the tooth and its environs.

Gross Anatomy

This course is designed to provide dental students with an in-depth knowledge and appreciation of the structure and function of the human body, with particular emphasis on the head and neck region. Students learn the fundamental principles of gross anatomy, acquire skills of critical judgment, and develop an ability to use anatomical knowledge and principles to help solve clinical problems.

Human Systems & Disease

The course provides the foundation knowledge (physiology, microbiology, immunology, pathology and pharmacology) necessary for clinical decision making related to the normal and abnormal function of the cardiovascular, respiratory and renal systems.  Function of the endocrine-reproductive, gastrointestinal, hematologic and musculoskeletal systems will also be studied. Emphasis is on dental management and history taking for patients with diseases of these systems.  The physical examination techniques commonly used in dentistry, including oral exam as well as those that relate to the cardiovascular and respiratory systems are taught and practiced.

Inflammation and Wound Healing

The course provides the foundation knowledge (physiology, microbiology, immunology and pathology) necessary for clinical decision-making related to the conditions of inflammation, infection and wound healing. Emphasis is on the oral and maxillofacial complex and the dental management of patients with these conditions, including pharmacologic therapies.

Introduction to Clinical Dentistry

The overall intent of the Introduction to Clinical Dentistry course is to aid students in their transition from the pre-clinical laboratory setting to the clinical environment. Through scheduled rotations in various clinics and the assistance of upperclassmen, the student will be provided with the opportunity to observe clinical procedures along with experiencing other parts of clinical life, including the familiarization with clinic protocol, departmental paperwork, and issues of patient management.


The purpose of the Oral Medicine curriculum is to teach the dental student how to medically evaluate the dental patient and to manage the dental patient with medical problems. Additionally, the program is designed to teach the procedures for a comprehensive examination of the head, neck, and oral cavity and to recognize oral diseases and variation of normal.

Nervous Systems and Pain

The course provides the foundation knowledge (physiology, microbiology, immunology and pathology) necessary for clinical decision making related to the normal and abnormal function of the nervous system.  Emphasis is on the oral and maxillofacial complex, physical diagnosis and dental management of patients with pain and pathologic conditions of the nervous system, including pharmacologic therapies.

Cell cultures are used as a teaching aid in microbiology.


Neuroanatomy for the undergraduate dental student provides a foundation of fundamental knowledge from which the student may develop an appreciation of the nervous system in both health and disease. The student will acquire a general understanding of structure and function of the nervous system.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Instruction in Oral Surgery focuses on evaluation and treatment of diseases and conditions affecting the head and neck area. Topics include exodontia, head and neck pathology, implantology, and minor surgical procedures such as biopsies. Students participate in a hospital rotation where they become familiar with hospital protocol and observe major maxillofacial procedures.

Students are taught to formulate appropriate clinical and radiographic differential diagnosis for soft and hard tissue abnormalities of the oral and perioral region. Oral Pathology

Students receive instruction regarding the clinical features, etiology, pathogenesis, treatment and prognosis of diseases and developmental abnormalities that commonly affect the oral and maxillofacial complex. When appropriate, the radiographic and histologic features of pathologic processes are discussed. Students are taught to formulate appropriate clinical and radiographic differential diagnosis for soft and hard tissue abnormalities of the oral and perioral region. Students receive instruction in the management of patients with common oral mucosal diseases. Indications for patient referral to medical or dental specialists for diagnostic evaluation or disease management are presented. Critical thinking is emphasized in case-based, small-group modules.

Oral Radiology

Instruction includes fundamentals of radiation biology, image projection, radiation hygiene, intraoral and extraoral radiologic techniques (including temporomandibular joint radiography), processing procedure, anatomic landmarks, interpretation of radiographs, correlation of radiographic findings with other diagnostic techniques, and the radiographic manifestations of systemic disease.


The purpose of the orthodontics sequence of courses is to qualify the general practitioner for preventive, interceptive, and limited corrective orthodontics.

Students learn fundamentals of periodontal patient care in the Principles of Periodonology II Course.

Pediatric Dentistry

Pediatric Dentistry is an age-defined specialty that provides both primary and comprehensive preventive and therapeutic oral health care for infants, children, and adolescents, including those with special health care needs. In order to educate students in dentistry for children, Pediatric Dentistry courses build on and modify didactic foundations introduced in restorative dentistry, orthodontics, periodontics, endodontics, and other dental disciplines. Students are taught behavior guidance of children based on principles of psychological and emotional development. Evidence-based dentistry and the relationship between basic medical/dental sciences and clinical sciences are important areas of focus. Pediatric Dentistry courses are designed to prepare students to become general dentists who can provide good comprehensive care for children.


Periodontology deals with the supporting structures of the teeth in health and disease. The objectives of the course are to provide the student with the knowledge and skills to manage periodontal problems in general practice, to correlate periodontology with other branches of dentistry, to demonstrate utilization and treatment planning of implants, and to encourage interest in research and further study.

Practice Management

The program in practice management is designed to teach the fundamentals of developing and running a successful dental practice. 

The courses are taught by dentists and practice management consultants to insure that up-to-date and practical material is presented. Special subject areas of concentration are used in preparing students for residency programs, fees, and third-party payment, collections, associateships and partnerships, hiring, and retaining a five-star dental team. The classes are taught in a relaxed atmosphere for maximum student enjoyment and learning. The overall goal is to make the information as relevant to the student today as it will be in the future.

Students are taught general principles of drug interactions in Pharmacology.

Restorative Dentistry

The Restorative Dentistry curriculum consists of a sequence of lecture, laboratory and clinical experiences designed to achieve competence in operative dentistry, fixed prosthodontics, and removable prosthodontics within comprehensive patient care. A sequence of four lecture and laboratory courses (Restorative Dentistry I-IV) offered during the fall and spring semesters of the freshman and sophomore years provides foundation knowledge and skills in a carefully sequenced progression. Dental Anatomy includes morphology of the deciduous and permanent teeth, and their functional relationships and the influence of occlusion on many phases of general dental practice. Operative Dentistry includes restoration of carious lesions and defects of single teeth including cavity design and instrumentation, and use of restorative materials such as resin composite, amalgam, and gold. Caries risk assessment and management protocols are an important component of the curriculum. The Dent Sim computer-controlled training simulator provides on-demand evaluation and feedback in developing operative skills. Fixed Prosthodontics includes restoration of severely damaged teeth and the replacement of missing teeth with fixed restorations. The curriculum includes concepts and skills in diagnosis and treatment planning of these restorations as well as design principles and technical skills. In Removable Prosthodontics, missing teeth are replaced with removable restorations, such as complete dentures and various removable partial dentures. The curriculum includes full consideration of examination, diagnosis, treatment planning, restoration design, technical skills, laboratory procedures and clinical experience necessary to attain competency in this area. Advanced lectures, laboratory, and clinical experience in the junior and senior years address topics, such as dental implant treatment planning and restoration, various techniques in aesthetic dentistry, cariology, overdentures and precision attachments, and maxillofacial prosthodontics. Periodontology deals with the supporting structures of the teeth in health and disease. The objectives of the course are to provide the student with the knowledge and skills to manage periodontal problems in general practice, to correlate periodontology with other branches of dentistry, to demonstrate utilization and treatment planning of implants, and to encourage interest in research and further study.

Science in Dental Practice

Students receive face to face and on-line instruction in the scientific method of inquiry and research methodology including how research is conducted, evaluated and applied to patient care. On-line instruction will be through Temple e-Campus. The practicum component of the course requires that each student attend and participate in four annual Scholarly Activity and Research (SAR) Days during the four years of dental education. In addition to attendance of the SAR Days, active participation in a presentation of at least one scientific poster during the four years of predoctoral education is required to pass this course.