Points of Pride

Know what makes the School of Dentistry who we are.

School of Dentistry students

We are the state’s only dental school and the only dental school in the norther tier of states between Wisconsin and the Pacific Northwest. We are a regional resource to five states for dental education, consulting services, patient treatment and continuing dental education.

We educate dentists, dental specialists, dental therapists, dental hygienists, dental educators and research-scientists. We offer advanced degree programs in seven ADA-recognized specialties: endodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, prosthodontics and TMD and orofacial pain. We educate scholars in oral biology, dental hygiene and oral health for older adults. Dentists from other countries who wish to practice in the United States matric-ulate through our Program for Advanced Standing Students. Learners have the option to pursue a Masters in Public Health or a PhD alongside their DDS degree.

We are the only dental hygiene program in the state associated with a dental school. Offering programs at the baccalaureate and master of science level, our integrated program prepares oral health professionals to collaborate from their first day in the profession.

We became the first dental school in the nation to educate dental therapists in 2009. Dental therapists perform basic preventative services, drill and restore teeth for children and adults and remove primary teeth under the supervision of a licensed dentist. As of 2021, we have graduated 77 dental therapists from the program.

Our work affects virtually every person in Minnesota. We educate approximately 73% of the state’s practicing dentists, 68% of licensed dental therapists, and 49% of dental hygiene educators. Our researchers develop and test restorative materials used by dentists around the world. Each year, we complete more than 105,000 patient visits in our campus clinics, and an additional 47,5000 at outreach sites in underserved communities throughout the state. We provide continuing dental education for 7,1000 practicing dental professionals each year.

We operate four floors of dental clinics in Moos Tower, with 377 operatories. We staff the University of Minnesota Pediatric Dental Clinic, Made Possible by Delta Dental Foundation, for children and adults with special health care needs.

Our community outreach programs are an integral part of our education and service. Students spend eight to twelve weeks in these community service-learning experiences. The school has fourteen outreach sites, including:

  • two inner city clinics (NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center, East Side Family Clinic)
  • four Native American clinics (Cass Lake, Cloquet, Red Lake, Ogema)
  • three clinics in South Dakota (Howard, DeSmet, Washington Springs)
  • in Grand Forks, North Dakota
  • in Cook, Minnesota
  • at the Hibbing Community College Dental Clinic
  • at CentraCare Dental Clinic in Willmar
  • and on the Mobile Dental Clinic that travels the state

Our students are professional leaders. First in the nation to become full members of their state professional association, our students take part in the Minnesota Dental Association’s 8th District Dental Society. They participate on association committees and the District’s Board of Trustees. They also have voting privileges at the MDA House of Delegates.

Our accomplished graduates include the co-inventor of the Sonicare toothbrush, the first licensed dental therapist in Maine, past members of congress, three American Dental Association presidents and deans of schools as far away as Dubai and China.

We are a research leader in virology, biomaterials, the mechanisms of pain and bone development and the rela-tionship between oral and overall health. Our researchers discovered a “molecular motor” that provides clues to the ways viruses assemble and infect new cells. Our Minnesota Dental Research Center for Biomaterials and Biomechanics developed ART, a mechanical mouth capable of duplicating the effects of one year of chewing in a single day. ART is used to develop and test dental materials and study the impact of various foods on teeth, and it was displayed at the Smithsonian.

We are leading the way in digital dentistry. From investing in cone beam CT technology to renovating our Advanced Simulation Clinic to prepare the next generation of oral health professionals in the latest technological advances, we are making digital dentistry a priority.

We have received top honors. The school is a four-time recipient of the Gies Award for Vision from the American Dental Education Association. Our collaboration with 3M and Sumita Mitra resulted in her receipt of a European Inventor Award in 2021. Our researchers receive dozens of funded grants from National institutes each year to support their studies. We are home to an Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Oral Medicine, leaders of several specialty associations, the author of the second-most cited article in dentistry in 2020 and more.