Tufts University School of Dental Medicine

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Tufts University
School of Dental Medicine
Tufts Dental Medicine logo.png
Motto Pax et Lux (Peace and Light)
Type Private
Established 1868
Dean Huw F. Thomas
Students 703
Location Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Campus Urban
Colors Brown, Blue          
Website dental.tufts.edu

Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (TUSDM) is a private, American dental school located in the Chinatown neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, and is connected to Tufts Medical Center. It is one of the 8 graduate schools that comprise Tufts University. Founded in 1868 as Boston Dental College by Dr. Isaac J. Wetherbee, the university is the second oldest dental school in the city, and one of the oldest in the country.[1] As of 2013, Tufts is the second largest dental school in the United States, with a class size of approximately 190 students per class.[2]

Tufts Dental Medicine is renowned as one of the most prestigious dental schools in the United States, and as a center for academic and clinical excellence. The student body is carefully selected for their academic abilities, personal character and community service experience.[citation needed] As with many medical and dental schools, acceptance to Tufts Dental Medicine is highly competitive, with a single digit acceptance rate of approximately 4%.[2]

Tufts Dental Medicine, the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine at Boston University comprise the three schools of dental medicine in the Boston metropolitan area.

TUSDM educates both pre-doctoral and post-doctoral students.[3] The majority of students pursue a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree. In addition to the DMD degree, TUSDM offers combined DMD/MS (Master of Science in Dental Research) and DMD/MPH (Master of Public Health) degrees. Post-doctoral students, who have already obtained a DMD or DDS degree, can specialize in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Endodontics, Periodontics, Orthodontics, Prosthodontics and Implant Dentistry, as well as certificate programs in Craniomandibular Disorders and Orofacial Pain, Advanced Dental Technology and Research Program, Implant Dentistry Fellowship, and Advanced Education in Esthetic Dentistry.[4]

In 2011, Dr. Huw F. Thomas, formerly Dean of the University of Alabama School of Dentistry was named the 16th Dean of TUSDM.[5] That same year, TUSDM was nationally recognized for leadership in teaching, research, community service, and diversity by the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) Gies Foundation with the 2011 William J. Gies Award for Outstanding Achievement by an Academic Dental Institution.[6]


Tufts College Dental and Medical Building 1907

Founded on June 3, 1868 as Boston Dental College by Dr. Isaac J. Wetherbee, a graduate of the first organized dental university in the United States, Baltimore College of Dental Surgery.[7] The college was incorporated into Tufts College in 1899 and was located at 416 Huntington Avenue in Boston. By 1929, Tufts Medical and Dental College began an affiliation with the Boston Floating Hospital for Infants and Children, as well as the Boston Dispensary. This merger resulted in the creation of an association known as the New England Medical Center (NEMC), which would be the name of the hospital attached to the current day Tufts Dental School until the 1990s. The union was partially caused by the fire, and subsequent destruction of the USS Boston Floating Hospital (ID # 2366), a mobile hospital for sick children on Boston Harbor.[8] In 1948, Tufts Medical and Dental College sold the Huntington Avenue buildings to Northeastern University, and relocated closer to NEMC at 136 Harrison Avenue. In 1954, Tufts Dental College became the "Tufts University School of Dental Medicine".[citation needed] The school would remain at the Harrison Avenue location until 1971, when it was moved to its current location, 1 Kneeland Street. The building was only 10 floors in height, but was designed with future expansion in mind. In 2009, the building was expanded by 5 floors, vertically. This was seen by the architectural world as unprecedented; the design and execution has won several architectural awards.[9] In 2013, the University announced plans to refurbish the third and fourth clinical floors, to match the newly renovated second floor.


For the 2010-2011 application cycle, 4,475 applications were received for the 184 seats available in the Class of 2015. The DAT Academic Average was 20, tied for 11th nationally, and a PAT Average of 20, tied for 20th nationally.[10] The average enrolled student had a cumulative GPA of 3.64, and a science GPA of 3.54.[11]

While in the past international applicants were considered for admission to the School of Dental Medicine, for the 2012-2013 application cycle those applicants without US citizenship or permanent residency will not be considered for the DMD program.[12]

Student class profile[edit]

Tufts Dental Building in Boston from the South

There are roughly 184 students per class, making it the second largest dental school in the United States. The Class of 2015 had an average age of 24; ranging from 21-38. The class was composed of students from 29 states.[4]

The School has over 7,000 alumni composed of individuals from all fifty states and thirty-nine countries.[13] Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (TUSDM) embraces diversity in all of its dimensions.TUSDM is one of the top 10 dental schools in the United States for enrollment of African-American/Black and Hispanic/Latino students, not including the Historically Black Colleges (HBC) of Howard and Meharry. Nearly half of the Class of 2015 identifies as Asian (45%) and 49% of the Class is female.[14]


The curriculum of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (TUSDM) is a competency based curriculum. It has been designed and modified over the years to reflect the changing needs of the dental profession and public. The school’s primary mission is patient centered. The goal is to develop dental practitioners who are able to utilize the basic principles of human biology and human behavior in conjunction with their technical skills in diagnosing, treating, and preventing oral disease. The TUSDM graduate should be able to integrate knowledge across disciplines and perform procedures with patient well-being in mind. They should understand the importance of lifelong learning to continually improve their knowledge and skill base. The D.M.D. program, which extends over a four-year period, consists of a series of:

  1. didactic (lecture and seminar)
  2. patient simulation (patient simulation clinic, introductory clinical experience, and workshop)
  3. clinical (group practice, rotations and Community Service Learning Externship) experiences.[15]


In 2009, Tufts Dental completed a $68 million, five-floor vertical expansion. The vertical expansion houses two new clinical patient floors, a new 108-chair simulation lab and teaching facilities for students, as well as a Continuing Education conference center and administrative offices.

Tufts University School of Dental Medicine pre-clinical simulation laboratory

The design for the five-story expansion, by ARC/Architectural Resources Cambridge, integrates contemporary forms and materials within the framework of the existing building. In contrast to the heavier forms of the existing structure, the vertical addition uses a glass and aluminum curtain wall system and white metal panels, which is extended to the street level. The existing egress stair at the corner of the building has also been transformed into a glass beacon that marks the gateway to the Tufts Health Sciences Boston Campus.

The expanded and improved facilities better position the Dental School to increase enrollment, hire more faculty, and deliver on its tradition of community service, benefiting more than 18,000 patients annually from the City of Boston and the greater New England community.

The project includes updates to the entire building’s infrastructure, incorporating new elevators and updated life safety systems, as well as a new generator.

Tufts University School of Dental Medicine five-story Vertical Expansion

Additionally, the expansion has helped different departments work together more effectively with the use of two internal stairs, one connecting the clinical floors and a second connecting the administrative and Continuing Education departments.[16]


Tufts Dental provides numerous opportunities in research through both their student and corporate research. The Student Research Fellowship Program provides predoctoral dental students with the opportunity to earn a stipend while performing research under the supervision of University faculty. The Deans Research Scholarship is a new initiative directed at incoming dental students to help them get involved with research as soon as they enter dental school.

Areas of research at Tufts Dental include: Bone Remodeling, Sjögren’s Syndrome: Dry Mouth and Dry Eye, Dental Materials, Division of Public Health Research and Oral Medicine, Public Health and Community Service, Craniofacial and Molecular Genetics, Integrated Tissue Engineering, Biostatistics, Prosthodontics and Operative Dentistry, TMD and Orofacial Pain.[17]

Student organizations[edit]

The School of Dental Medicine has over 20 student organizations. Some of the organizations present at Tufts Dental include: Delta Sigma Delta (DSD), American Student Dental Association (ASDA), and the Bates Student Research Group.[18]

Delta Sigma Delta (DSD)

Delta Sigma Delta is an internationally recognized dental fraternity and was initially founded in 1882 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Tufts hosts the Mu Chapter, which was instilled before the turn of the 20th century when the school was known as Boston Dental College.

As an active social organization, Delts are involved with continuous volunteering efforts in the Boston community, as well as regular health care and dental charity events.

View from Tufts Dental. Tufts' location in downtown Boston provides numerous opportunities for community involvement

Annually the Fraternity holds various recreational events to reward its members for their hard work and alleviate the strains of dental school. A fall barbecue, a winter holiday party, and a Senior Send-off are a few highlights of the larger social gatherings held. Other retreat style events such as ski trips and Bruins games are also scheduled throughout the year. A camaraderie among members assists in their education, as Delts are knowledgeable upper classmen and alumni faculty who help guide younger members with scholastic mentoring, as well as clinical assistance.

This highly prestigious organization is a great opportunity to hang out with members in your own class, mingle with upperclassmen, as well as meet members in other chapters during regional conventions.

American Student Dental Association (ASDA)

The American Student Dental Association was established in 1971 to represent, serve and support the needs and interests of dental students. As a national professional organization, ASDA provides a forum for expression of dental student concerns. ASDA currently has more than 14,000 predoctoral members at each of the 55 U.S. dental school chapters.

ASDA Tufts University School of Dental Medicine Organization Goals:

  • Promote welfare of dental students
  • Advocate just treatment of dental students
  • Represent needs, interests and welfare of association members
  • Identify and promote needed change in dental education
  • Introduce and promote organized dentistry
  • Disseminate pertinent information to dental students
  • Improve dental care and delivery to all people by identifying public dental needs

Bates-Student Research Group

The Bates Student Research Group (SRG) is a student-run organization that promotes student research in dentistry and its related disciplines. Our main purpose is to foster an environment whereby students interested in enriching their dental education through research are encouraged to do so.

Dean of the School of Dental Medicine[edit]

Dean Thomas received his B.D.S. (Dental Degree) from Guy’s Hospital, University of London, England, in 1975. In 1978, he received a Pediatric Dentistry Certificate from Eastman Dental Center, Rochester, NY, and M.S. (Dental Research) from the University of Rochester, Rochester, NY. From 1978 – 1980, he was appointed as Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatric Dentistry, at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. In 1980, he moved to the University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT, where he received his Ph.D (Biomedical Sciences) in 1986. From 1980 – 1992, he held appointments as Assistant and subsequently Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry, University of Connecticut Health Center.

From 1992 – 2003, he was Professor and Chairman, Department of Pediatric Dentistry, at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and held additional appointments as Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Department of Cellular and Structural Biology. He was appointed Dean, School of Dentistry at University of Alabama at Birmingham, in January 2004. On August 1, 2011, he was appointed Dean and Professor of Pediatric Dentistry at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine.[19]


  1. ^ "Boston of To-day: A Glance at Its History and Characteristics. With ... - Google Books". Books.google.com. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  2. ^ a b http://www.tufts.edu. "DMD Program – Admissions - Tufts University School of Dental Medicine". Dental.tufts.edu. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  3. ^ http://www.tufts.edu. "About - Tufts University School of Dental Medicine". Dental.tufts.edu. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  4. ^ a b http://www.tufts.edu. "Combined Degree Programs – Admissions - Tufts University School of Dental Medicine". Dental.tufts.edu. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  5. ^ http://www.tufts.edu. "Tufts University School of Dental Medicine names Dr. Huw F. Thomas as school’s 16th dean - Tufts University School of Dental Medicine". Dental.tufts.edu. Archived from the original on 2016-01-07. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  6. ^ "New Accolade for the Dental School – Tufts Journal". Tuftsjournal.tufts.edu. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  7. ^ "DMD Program | School of Dentistry | OHSU". Ohsu.edu. 2015-05-13. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-06-18. Retrieved 2012-08-09.  Archived copy at the Library of Congress (May 8, 2013).
  9. ^ "New Accolade for Dental Building". Tuftsjournal.tufts.edu. 2010-07-15. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  10. ^ [1] accessed July 11th, 2012
  11. ^ http://www.tufts.edu. "DMD Program – Admissions - Tufts University School of Dental Medicine". Dental.tufts.edu. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  12. ^ http://www.tufts.edu. "DMD Program Frequently Asked Questions – Admissions - Tufts University School of Dental Medicine". Dental.tufts.edu. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  13. ^ http://www.tufts.edu. "DMD Program – Admissions - Tufts University School of Dental Medicine". Dental.tufts.edu. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  14. ^ http://www.tufts.edu (2013-08-27). "Diversity - Tufts University School of Dental Medicine". Dental.tufts.edu. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  15. ^ http://www.tufts.edu. "D.M.D. Curriculum - Tufts University School of Dental Medicine". Dental.tufts.edu. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  16. ^ [2]
  17. ^ [3] Archived July 18, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ http://www.tufts.edu. "Student Organizations & Honor Societies - Tufts University School of Dental Medicine". Dental.tufts.edu. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  19. ^ http://www.tufts.edu (2011-08-01). "Dean’s Biography - Tufts University School of Dental Medicine". Dental.tufts.edu. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°21′00″N 71°03′47″W / 42.350°N 71.063°W / 42.350; -71.063