International Dental Studies

Program Overview

International Dental Studies

Units of Credit

One unit of credit is awarded for ten hours of lecture or seminar, twenty hours of laboratory or clinic, or thirty hours of independent study per term. In the predoctoral programs (DDS and IDS), students are assigned to comprehensive care clinics for approximately 650 hours during the second year and 1,000 hours during the third, in addition to specialty clinic rotations. Units of credit are assigned in the comprehensive care clinical disciplines in proportion to the amount of time an average student spends providing specific types of care for assigned patterns.

Full-time enrollment in the predoctoral programs at the School of Dentistry (DDS and IDS) is defined as 16 or more units per term.  Full-time enrollment in the graduate residency programs in orthodontics and endodontics and in the dental fellowship and internship programs is defined as 20 or more units per term.  

Personalized Instructional Program

Successful completion of a Personalized Instructional Program is required for graduation. This is reflected on the transcript as a stand-alone two-unit course (DS 394) with a CR grade for completion. Completion dates beginning with the classes of 2025 will be the end of tenth quarter of instruction for DDS 2025 and the end of sixth quarter of instruction for IDS 2025.

Designed specifically for internationally-trained dentists who earned a dental degree abroad, the IDS program integrates preclinical and clinical science subjects with applied behavioral sciences to prepare graduates to provide high quality dental care and to enter a changing world that will require them to be critical thinkers and lifelong learners. The 24-month curriculum leading to the degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery begins in July and is divided into eight quarters, each consisting of ten weeks of instruction, one week of examinations, and a vacation period of between one and four weeks.  Students in the IDS program are held to the same competency standards as their peers in the 36-month DDS program.   

Integrated preclinical instruction is concentrated in the first two quarters with students learning to work from a seated position in a modern preclinical simulation laboratory and with a chair-side assistant in conjunction with pediatric dental practice. Clinical work with patients is initiated in the second quarter.

The school is a pioneer in competency-based education, an approach that replaces the traditional system of clinical requirements with experiences that ensure graduates possess the skills, understanding, and professional values needed for the independent practice of general dentistry. Pacific is also known for its humanistic approach to dental education, stressing the dignity of each individual and their value as a person.

The Clinical Practice Strand supports comprehensive patient care based on the concept of private dental practice where the student assumes responsibility for assigned patients' overall treatment, consultation, and referral for specialty care. IDS students begin seeing patients in the second quarter, and practice clinical dentistry approximately 8 hours per week starting in October.  The number of clinical practice hours increases in January and April to 15 and 18 per week, respectively.  Second-year IDS students practice approximately 33 hours per week. Students learn to provide comprehensive dental care under the direction of a team of clinical faculty led by the Group Practice Leader (GPL).  The GPL is responsible for mentoring students and ensuring they are receiving adequate clinical experiences to ensure competency upon graduation.  In the first year, students treat patients in a discipline-based model where they are supervised by trained and calibrated faculty in specific clinical disciplines, including oral diagnosis and treatment planning, periodontics, endodontics, restorative dentistry, and removable prosthodontics.   In the second year, students treat patients in a generalist model, where they provide all care for their patients under faculty supervision.  

There are four discipline exceptions to the comprehensive care model: oral and maxillofacial surgery, pediatric dentistry, oral medicine/facial pain, and radiology. Students are assigned to rotations for one to three weeks in each of these disciplines, except for the oral medicine/facial pain rotations which is one day. In orthodontics, students participate with faculty and orthodontic residents in adjunctive orthodontic care and in oral development clinics. Second-year students also rotate through the Special Care Clinic where they treat patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities and complex medical challenges. In addition, each student provides care in the hospital operating room on patients with specific health issues.

Advanced clinical dentistry and evaluation of new developments and topics that involve several disciplines are learned in the second year in conjunction with patient care. Second-year IDS students participate in patient care at extramural sites in numerous treatment facilities around the Bay Area.  At extramural clinic sites, students are taught by Pacific faculty in conditions that more closely resemble private practice and typically treat 4-6 patients per day.  Rotations at these sites occur at a number of different times, including weekdays during the academic year. Students find these experiences to be highly educational, teaching them how to provide excellent patient care in a more condensed time frame.  IDS students may elect to participate in externships to specialty programs during academic break periods.

Behavioral science aspects of ethics, professionalism, communication, human resource and practice management, and dental jurisprudence are integrated throughout the curriculum. Epidemiology and demography of the older population, basic processes of aging, and dental management of hospitalized patients, geriatric patients, and those with the most common disabling conditions are studied during the final year.

Students are counseled individually with regard to establishing a practice and applying for postgraduate education. A weekend conference acquaints IDS students with opportunities for postgraduate education and with alumni views of the realities of dental practice.

In the 1990s under the leadership of Dr. David W. Chambers, the school led the nation in the adoption of a competency-based education model for pre-doctoral dental programs.  In contrast to the prevailing system of ‘clinical requirements,’ an approach that merely counted a pre-set number of procedures completed in each clinical discipline, competency implies an ongoing and broad-based measure of the developing knowledge, skills, abilities, and values essential to the beginning practice of general dentistry.  In a competency-based model, multiple faculty observers repeatedly evaluate independent student performance in a natural setting over time.  

These competency statements were developed in 2016-17 by a representative group of faculty, students, and alumni to reflect the ‘head-heart-hands’ philosophy the school embraces:  the integration of current and emerging biomedical and clinical knowledge (head); professionalism, ethical behavior, empathy, and communication skills (heart); and clinical skills (hands).  For clarity and consistency in application and measurement, an appended glossary defines key terms highlighted in the statements.  

1. Integrate biomedical and clinical knowledge to improve oral and systemic health.
2. Think critically; use the scientific method to evaluate established and emerging biomedical and clinical science evidence to guide practice decisions.   
3. Recognize manifestations of systemic disease and evaluate the impact on oral health, oral health care, and well-being.  
4. Recognize and evaluate the impact of comprehensive oral health care on systemic health and well-being.
5. Apply the principles of health promotion and disease prevention to individuals and communities.
6. Apply the principles of bioethics to practice.
7. Apply the principles of behavioral science to practice.  
8. Establish and maintain trust and rapport with all stakeholders in patient care.  Demonstrate empathy.  
9. Manage the oral health care needs of pediatric, adolescent, and adult patients, including geriatric patients and patients with complex needs.  
10. Perform comprehensive diagnostic evaluations and risk assessment on patients at all stages of life.   
11. Obtain, select, and interpret images and tests necessary for accurate differential diagnoses and correlate them with clinical findings.   
12. Formulate and present comprehensive, sequenced treatment plans and prognoses in accordance with patient needs, values, and expectations.  
13. Obtain and document informed consent or refusal.
14. Follow standard infection control guidelines.  
15. Preserve and restore hard and soft tissue to support health, function, and esthetics:  

  •     Screening and risk assessment for head and neck cancer;
  •     Local anesthesia and pain and anxiety control;
  •     Appropriate utilization of therapeutic and pharmacological agents used in patient care;  
  •     Management of orofacial pain;
  •     Communicate with dental laboratory technicians and manage laboratory procedures to support patient care;
  •     Risk assessment, prevention, and management of caries, including minimally invasive dentistry;
  •     Restore and replace teeth, including operative, fixed, removable, and dental implant therapy;
  •     Periodontal therapy and recall strategies;
  •     Dental emergencies;  
  •     Pulpal therapy and endodontics;
  •     Oral mucosal and osseous disorders;
  •     Bony and soft tissue surgery;
  •     Malocclusion and space management; and
  •     Evaluate treatment outcomes, prognosis, and continuing care strategies.  

16. Recognize and manage medical emergencies in the dental setting.  
17. Interact effectively with stakeholders from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and identities.
18. Practice, delegate, or refer within the scope of practice and in alignment with patient needs, values, and expectations.  
19. Apply current principles of business, financial, and human resource management to lead the oral health care team.  
20. Evaluate contemporary and emerging models of oral healthcare delivery, understand dentistry’s role in the larger health care system, and strive to reduce barriers to care.
21. Collaborate with the interprofessional health care team to improve oral-systemic health, enhance the patient experience, and reduce risk.
22. Evaluate and implement current and emerging technology to diagnose, prevent, and treat disease.
23. Engage in ongoing quality assurance to improve patient outcomes.
24. Behave professionally: manage personal behavior and performance in accordance with standards of the school and the profession.  
25. Practice in accordance with current local, state, and federal laws and regulations.
26. Demonstrate ongoing reflection, self-assessment, continuous learning, and professional development.
27. Demonstrate healthy coping and self-care strategies.
28. Participate in professional activities to promote the profession and serve individuals and communities.

Competency Statements:  Glossary of Terms

The purpose of this glossary is:  (a) to define critical terms in the competency statements so that faculty can design, deliver, and assess targeted, sequenced learning experiences; and (b) to make transparent to students and faculty the goals of the educational program.   The glossary is a critical component of the Competency Statement document.    

Behavioral science:  a branch of science that studies human action and investigates decision-making processes and communication strategies that occur within and between organisms in a social system.  Familiarity with major concepts of the discipline may provide solutions to an array of individual, family, and community challenges.

Bioethics:  the shared discipline of reflective examination of ethical issues and implications in health care, health science, and health policy.

Biomedical science:  the scientific knowledge base of human biology required for the treatment and prevention of oral and systemic disease.  This includes knowledge of anatomy, biochemistry, molecular and cell biology, epidemiology, embryology, genetics, histology, immunology, microbiology, nutrition, pathology, pharmacology, physiology, and related knowledge domains.
Competence (competency):   knowledge, skills, abilities, and values essential to the beginning practice of oral health care that are performed consistently and independently in natural settings. Competence is observable over time and therefore can be measured and assessed to ensure acquisition.  

Goal of the Educational Program

Second Goal of the Educational Program

Complex needs:  patients with moderate to severe medical, developmental, and/or psychosocial conditions that require of the practitioner additional information or knowledge to manage the patient’s health.

Critical thinking:  the ability to interpret, evaluate, and draw sound conclusions in sometimes complex situations where all information may not be present or apparent.  In professional practice, critical thinking is the application of rational analysis to patient assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning.  The practitioner must be able to identify pertinent information, make decisions based on deliberate review of options, evaluate outcomes of diagnostic and therapeutic tests or decisions, and assess his or her own competence and ability.  

Empathy:   to understand the thinking, perspectives, and feelings of others.  To be done correctly, empathy requires interest in others and a set of skills.

Evidence-based dentistry (EBD):  an approach to oral health care that requires the judicious integration of clinically relevant scientific evidence relating to the patient's oral and medical condition and history, the dentist's clinical expertise, and the patient's treatment needs and preferences.  (American Dental Association).

General dentistry:  (a) the evaluation, diagnosis, prevention, and surgical and non-surgical treatment of diseases, disorders and conditions of the oral cavity, maxillofacial area, and the adjacent and associated structures, and their impact on the human body; (b) a service provided by a dentist within the scope of his/her education, training, and experience; and that is (c) in accordance with the ethics of the profession and applicable law.  A general dentist is an integral part of the healthcare system and is the primary oral health care provider for patients of all ages. (adapted from ADA House of Delegates, 1997).  

Identity:  the belief that a subject, person, or thing is the same as it is represented or claimed to be.   Identity can encompass race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, ability, and other personal characteristics.  

Interprofessional education:  When students from two or more health professions learn about, from, and with each other to enable effective patient care collaboration and improve health outcomes.   Interprofessional collaborative practice exists when providers from different health backgrounds work together with patients, families, caregivers, and communities to deliver quality care (adapted from the World Health Organization, 2010).

Oral health: a functional, structural, aesthetic, physiologic, and psychosocial state of well-being that is essential to an individual’s general health and quality of life (ADA House of Delegates, 2014).

Oral health care team:  generally composed of the dentist, specialist dentist, dental therapist or dental health aide therapist, dental hygienist (with or without expanded function), dental assistant (with or without expanded function), office support staff, and the dental laboratory technician.  Physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other medical professionals are increasingly a critical component of the team.

Patient experience:  all elements of the care experience that contribute to patient satisfaction:  scheduling, reception, treatment and care, sensitive and empathetic interactions with staff and providers, billing, and follow up.  

Prevention:  procedures, processes, or strategies that reduce risk, promote disease prevention, and result in improved patient health.

Professionalism (see also 2017 ADEA Statement on Professionalism in Dental Education):  the habitual and judicious use of communication skills, knowledge, technical skills, clinical reasoning, empathy, values, and reflection in daily practice for the benefit of the individual or community being served.  (Epstein RM, Hundert EM. Defining and assessing professional competence. JAMA 2002: 287: 226–235).  Professionalism is the foundation of the doctor-patient relationship.  It requires integrity and a high level of skill.  The professional assumes an obligation to sharpen and develop skills and judgment throughout a career.

Quality assurance: systematic and ongoing assessment and evaluation of the quality and appropriateness of a service, product, process, structure, or outcome.  The process involves identifying strengths and weaknesses, designing and implementing solutions or strategies to improve performance, and careful monitoring to determine the effectiveness of a change or intervention.  
Reflection:  the active process of reviewing, analyzing, and evaluating experiences, drawing upon theoretical concepts or previous learning, to inform future action (Reid, 1993).
Scientific method:  the foundation of the natural sciences that comprises some or all of the following: (a) systematic observation, measurement, and experimentation; (b) induction and the formulation of hypotheses; (c) the making of deductions from the hypotheses; (d) the experimental testing of the deductions; and (e) the modification of the hypotheses, if necessary.  

Scope of practice:  procedures, treatments, and actions that a practitioner is allowed to undertake as prescribed by professional licensure and that are within the practitioner’s competence.  

Self-Assessment:  the evaluation of one’s performance against current, defined, evidence-based standards and, ultimately, without external input.

Self-Care:  activities and practices that are engaged in regularly that aim to reduce stress and to maintain and enhance health and well-being.  Prioritizing emotional, physical, intellectual, occupational and environmental wellness is necessary to honor professional and personal commitments.  Healthy self-care includes a realization of when to reach out for help or support.  

Stages of life:  pediatric (14 years), adult (15-65 years), and geriatric (>66 years), including the frail elderly and patients with complex needs, older adults (65-84), and oldest old (>85).

Stakeholder:  any person or party in the healthcare setting with an interest in the financing, implementation, or outcome of a service, practice, process, or decision made by another.  Stakeholders include patients, care givers, family members, faculty and other practitioners, specialists, the dental school, and others consulting on or providing care.  

Please note: Courses are taught on a permanent or interim (continuing) basis. Course numbers followed by the letter 'I' indicate interim courses which are taught over two or more quarters. Units assigned to interim courses build upon each preceding quarter's unit value and culminate in a final and permanent unit value. The final unit value is transcripted with the permanent course while interim courses and corresponding unit values can be found on report cards.

Year 1
Summer Quarter (1)Didactic UnitsLab/Clinic Units
BMS 110Clinical Pharmacology10
DS 102IIntegrated Clinical Sciences I Concepts: Orientation to the Clinical Practice of General Dentistry50
DS 107Intergrated Clinical Sciences I Lab: Orientation to Clinical Practice in General Dentistry04
DS 160IDental Radiology10
EN 253Basic Endodontics10
OS 121Differential Diagnosis10
PRD 137ILocal Anesthesia01
PRD 173IIPS I: Operative Dentistry and Fixed Prosthodontics Concepts40
PRD 175IIPS I: Operative Dentistry and Fixed Prosthodontics Technique06
PRD 230IIPT II Concepts: Removable Prosthodontics10
PRD 235IIPT II Technique: Removable Prosthodontics03
Autumn Quarter (2)Didactic UnitsLab/Clinic Units
COH 216IPatient Management and Productivity I01
COH 217IClinical Oral Diagnosis and Treatment Planning01
COH 218IClinical Management and Judgment I01
DS 102Integrated Clinical Sciences I Concepts: Orientation to the Clinical Practice of General Dentistry90
DS 160Dental Radiology20
EN 254Endodontics10
EN 249Preclinical Endodontics02
OS 134Basic Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery10
OS 139Preclinical Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery01
PR 251IPeriodontics10
PR 256IClinical Periodontics I01
PRD 137Local Anesthesia02
PRD 173IPS I: Operative Dentistry and Fixed Prosthodontics Concepts80
PRD 175IPS I: Operative Dentistry and Fixed Prosthodontics Technique011
PRD 230Integrated Preclinical Concepts II: Removable Prosthodontics20
PRD 232Integrated Preclinical Concepts II: Implant Dentistry10
PRD 235Integrated Preclinical Technique II: Removable Prosthodontics05
PRD 237Integrated Preclinical Technique II: Implant Dentistry01
PRD 279IClinical Restorative Dentistry I01
Winter Quarter (3)Didactic UnitsLab/Clinic Units
BMS 120Genetics10
COH 216IPatient Management and Productivity I02
COH 217IClinical Oral Diagnosis and Treatment Planning02
COH 218IClinical Management and Judgment I02
DS 166IDental Radiographic Technique02
PR 251Periodontics20
PR 256IClinical Periodontics I02
PRD 174IPS I: Advanced Restorative Dentistry Concepts20
PRD 176IPS I: Advanced Restorative Dentistry Technique06
PRD 231Integrated Preclinical Concepts II:: Occlusion20
PRD 239Integrated Preclinical Technique II: Clinical Occlusion02
PRD 277Local Anesthesia01
PRD 279IClinical Restorative Dentistry I02
Spring Quarter (4)Didactic UnitsLab/Clinic Units
COH 216Patient Management and Productivity I03
COH 217Clinical Oral Diagnosis and Treatment Planning30
COH 218Clinical Management and Judgment I03
DS 166Dental Radiographic Technique02
DS 203Integrated Clinical Sciences II: Application of Foundational Knowledge40
DS 211Ethics and Professionalism Interactive Seminar10
DS 303IIntegrated Clinical Sciences III: Multidisciplinary Case Based Seminars20
OR 244IOrthodontics10
PD 146Preclinical Pediatric Dentistry00.5
PR 256Clinical Periodontics I05
PRD 279Clinical Restorative Dentistry I04
PRD 281Dental Implants10
Year 2
Summer Quarter (5)Didactic UnitsLab/Clinic Units
COH 316IPatient Management and Productivity II02
COH 318IClinical Management and Judgment II02
COH 368IEmergency Dental Care01
DS 200Practice Management I10
DS 266IClinical Radiology01
DS 302IClinical Care of Complex Needs Patients10
DS 303IIntegrated Clinical Sciences III: Multidisciplinary Case Based Seminars40
DS 307IExtramural Patient Care01
EN 359IClinical Endodontics II02
OR 244Orthodontics20
OR 348IApplied Orthodontics01
OS 339IClinical Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery II01
PD 240IPediatric Dentistry20
PR 356IClinical Periodontics II01
PRD 379IClinical Restorative Dentistry II05
PRD 396IClinical Removable Prosthodontics03
Autumn Quarter (6)Didactic UnitsLab/Clinic Units
COH 316Patient Management and Productivity II04
COH 318Clinical Management and Judgment II04
COH 368IEmergency Dental Care01
DS 266IClinical Radiology01
DS 302IClinical Care of Complex Needs Patients20
DS 303Integrated Clinical Sciences III: Multidisciplinary Case Based Seminars60
DS 307IExtramural Patient Care01
DS 394Personalized Instructional Program20
EN 359IClinical Endodontics II04
OR 348Applied Orthodontics01
OS 339IClinical Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery II01
PD 240Pediatric Dentistry30
PR 356IClinical Periodontics II02
PRD 379IClinical Restorative Dentistry II011
PRD 396IClinical Removable Prosthodontics06
Winter Quarter (7)Didactic UnitsLab/Clinic Units
COH 317IPatient Management and Productivity III02
COH 319IClinical Management and Judgment III02
COH 368IEmergency Dental Care01
DS 266IClinical Radiology01
DS 300Practice Management II30
DS 302Clinical Care of Complex Needs40
DS 307IExtramural Patient Care01
EN 359IClinical Endodontics II06
OS 339IClinical Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery II02
PD 346Dental Auxiliary Utilization01
PD 347Clinical Pediatric Dentistry01
PR 356IClinical Periodontics II03
PRD 379IClinical Restorative Dentistry II017
PRD 391IPreparation for State Licensure Lecture10
PRD 395IPreparation for State Licensure Lab02
PRD 396IClinical Removable Prosthodontics09
Spring Quarter (8)Didactic UnitsLab/Clinic Units
COH 317Patient Management and Productivity III04
COH 319Clinical Management and Judgment III04
COH 368Emergency Dental Care03
DS 266Clinical Dental Radiology02
DS 301Jurisprudence10
DS 307Extramural Patient Care04
EN 359Clinical Endodontics II08
OS 339Clinical Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery II02
PR 356Clinical Periodontics II04
PRD 379Clinical Restorative Dentistry II023
PRD 391Preparation for State Licensure Lecture1.50
PRD 395Preparation for State Licensure Lab03
PRD 396Clinical Removable Prosthodontics012