Prospective Students » Dental Medicine » Clinical Experiences

Clinical Experiences

Hallmarks of your clinical curriculum at WesternU include:

  • Early direct patient care integrated with the acquisition of foundational knowledge and clinical skills in the first two years.Dental student practicing in the simulation lab
  • Early service learning opportunities in a variety of community-based locations in the first two years, emphasizing how to meet the needs of the community through assessment, education, and preventive programs.
  • Preclinical simulation that allows you to develop foundational clinical skills through a multidisciplinary approach across all traditional dental disciplines.
  • Focusing on oral-systemic connections by integrating dental students into the human systems courses in the first two years, advanced case-based seminars and inter-professional clinical rotations in the last two years.
  • Unique inter-professional curriculum featuring case-based learning with small groups of students from several other WesternU health science programs, so you will learn how to work together for patient’s best interest.
  • Patient-centered WesternU dental clinic where as a student “associate” you work with faculty mentors to best meet the needs of patients by emphasizing low student-to-faculty ratios, short appointments, and increased opportunities for 4-handed dentistry in a new clinic with state-of-the-art equipment.
  • Extensive Community-based clinical education in a variety of locations in southern California and the region, where you will provide oral health care for diverse populations using a variety of delivery models.

Structure of the clinical curriculum (including approximate time frames):

  • D1 Fall/Spring Terms (42 weeks) – You will participate in the core curriculum for basic science and human systems, typically 24 hours each week. Two to four afternoons per week are focused on clinical sciences, including foundational dental clinical knowledge, and dental clinical skills acquisition in simulated and direct patient-care settings. Periodically you will participate in formal community service activities and on off-hours through student clubs and organizations.
  • D2 Summer Term (4 weeks) – You will broaden your clinical knowledge and skills, Dental X-rayfocusing on diagnostic and reversible clinical procedures and spend approximately 32 hours/week in simulated and direct patient-care activities along with clinical sciences didactic sessions.
  • D2 Fall/Spring Terms (39 weeks) – You will continue your integrated core curriculum studies in basic science and human systems, primarily in morning sessions. Afternoons will continue to focus on clinical sciences in simulated and direct patient-care settings with periodic participation in community service learning.
  • D3 Summer Term (7 weeks) – You will take Part I of the written National Board Dental Exam, followed by an extended patient-care immersion session. You will spend approximately 32 hours/week in simulated and direct patient care, focusing on the hard and soft tissue surgical skills along with clinical sciences didactic sessions.
  • D3 and D4 Years (85 weeks) – Starting in the D3 Fall term, you will spend approximately 32 hours/week in direct patient care, both on campus at the WesternU Patient Care Center and in the Community-Based Clinic Network. You will also participate in community-based clinical care. During the D3 and D4 year, you will also take advanced integrated clinical seminars and pursue research.