Clinical Experiences

Hallmarks of your clinical curriculum at WesternU include:

  • Early direct patient care integrated with the acquisition of foundational knowledge and clinical skills.
  • Early service learning opportunities in a variety of community-based locations, 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 biomedical and clinical sciences to the greatest extent possible.
  • 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 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.
Student working in the dental lab

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

  • Spring Term (10 weeks) – Students will spend approximately 32 weeks per hour in the Advanced Standing Essentials of Clinical Dentistry preparatory course. This course is 10 weeks long and is intended to calibrate IDP students to the first two years of curriculum and to prepare for patient care experiences. The setting includes a mix of online modules, traditional lecture, small group activities, clinical simulation, and close interactions with teaching faculty. Upon successful completion of this course IDP students join the regularly enrolled D2 class as they enter clinical training in The Dental Center during Summer Term. Note that IDP students rise to D3 level with regularly enrolled students in Fall term in August.
  • D3 and D4 Years (86 weeks) – Continuing into the Summer and then D3 Fall term, students will spend approximately 32 hours/week in direct patient care, both on campus at the Dental Center and in the Community-Based Clinic Network. Each student will participate in community-based clinical care rotations of 7 weeks duration. During the D3 and D4 year, students will also participate in advanced integrated clinical seminars and pursue clinical research opportunities.