If you’ve received dental care in Iowa, odds are your dentist trained at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. Eighty percent of Iowa’s practicing dentists graduated from the college, the state’s only source for dental education.
This spring, the UI College of Dentistry celebrates its 125th anniversary. Founded in 1882 with four unpaid faculty and a few borrowed barber chairs, the college has become one of the nation’s top dental schools.
It’s the only school in the United States with programs in every dental specialty; a leading center for research on tooth decay, fluoride, cleft palate, and other topics; and a source of innovative patient care.
UI dental students spend their first two years learning both critical thinking and technical skills. Soon they go from the college’s Simulation Clinic—where they practice procedures on mannequins in a realistic clinical setting—to helping real people.
By their fourth and final year, students treat patients full-time, providing comprehensive care, working with dental assistants, and tracking their time just like they will in practice. This merger of clinical experience and practice management skills has caught other schools’ attention—three recently incorporated it into their own curricula.
Iowa’s dental student research program also is a national model, and its Training Program in Oral Health Research—which supports research at all levels, dental students through junior faculty—has earned funding from the National Institutes of Health since 1985. It is no surprise that UI grads have gone on to dental faculty positions around the world, including at least 15 deanships over the last 25 years.
UI dental clinics log more than 150,000 patient visits every year. But the College of Dentistry also has pioneered programs that deliver care where people need it. The Geriatric Mobile Unit—recipient of top honors from the American Dental Association—serves area nursing homes, while a new outreach clinic in Muscatine, Iowa, cares for children from low-income families.
This service ethic has inspired generations of Iowa-trained dentists. The UI College of Dentistry has helped revolutionize the profession, always with the patient in mind.