University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

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University of Pennsylvania
School of Dental Medicine
Penn Dental Medicine.svg
Type Private
Established 1878
Dean Denis F. Kinane, BDS, PhD
Students 468 (DMD students)
65 (PASS students)
Postgraduates 99 (clinical specialty residents)
Location Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Campus Urban
also known as Penn Dental Medicine

The University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine (commonly referred to as Penn Dental Medicine) is the dental school of the University of Pennsylvania (Penn), an Ivy League university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. It is one of twelve graduate schools at Penn and one of several dental schools in Pennsylvania. It is part of the University of Pennsylvania Health System. Penn Dental Medicine has a history deeply rooted in forging precedents in dental education, research, and patient care. Since its founding, dentistry has been taught in a scientific environment as a specialty of medicine and under the multidisciplinary umbrella of the University of Pennsylvania. Its rich history of tradition and innovation have allowed Penn to remain at the forefront of dental education.


University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

Penn Dental Medicine is among the oldest university-affiliated dental institutions in the nation. Its historic ties trace back to the Philadelphia College of Dental Surgery, established in 1852. In 1856, the Philadelphia College of Dental Surgery became the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery, and in 1878, its Dean, Dr. Charles J. Essig, was asked to join the University of Pennsylvania, founding the School of Dental Medicine as the Dental Department of the University of Pennsylvania. He would serve as the School’s first Dean from 1878-1883. The Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery would eventually merge with the University of Pennsylvania in 1909.

The School’s first facilities were housed in Medical Hall (now Claudia Cohen Hall). The following year it moved into its own building, Dental Hall, which was designed and constructed for its particular needs.

Dental students observing in the Oral Surgery Clinic at the former Philadelphia General Hospital, 1910

In 1897, Thomas W. Evans, a Philadelphia native and innovative dentist, who became the dentist to the courts of Europe during France's Second Empire and confidant of Napoleon III, left his estate to create and maintain a dental school that would be "not inferior to any already established."[1] Evans' generosity made possible the construction of the Evans Building (officially called the Thomas W. Evans Museum and Dental Institute) which opened in 1915, the best-equipped dental building in the nation at that time. His boldness and spirit of leadership have continued to guide the School throughout its history of expansion and innovation both in curriculum and in clinical and scientific facilities.

Throughout its history, Penn Dental Medicine has grown in size and has consistently been at the forefront of dramatic changes that have characterized the profession of dentistry during that time. Nevertheless, Penn Dental Medicine has remained faithful to its original mission: “to prepare students for qualification for dental practice, to provide graduate training for qualified practitioners and to create the opportunity and facilities for scientific research in dentistry.”

Since its founding, the dental education program has maintained its leadership role in dental education and research by preparing distinguished graduates capable of functioning in the many roles the profession demands: scientist, diagnostician, clinician, artist, engineer, teacher, and business manager. The School is committed to offering an education that advances both the art and science of dentistry, and prepares its students for leadership in the profession


Penn Dental Medicine's educational programs include:

  • A four-year predoctoral DMD program. Through a competitive honors degree program, students with the interest, motivation, and required academic achievement can earn their DMD degree with honors in the areas or research, clinical dentistry, and community health.
  • Postdoctoral programs in the clinical specialties of Endodontics, Oral medicine, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Orthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics, Periodontics/Orthodontics, and Periodontal Prosthesis.
  • A Master of Science in Oral Biology (MSOB) program. The MSOB degree program is designed for students who are interested in integrating more extensive research into their postgraduate education. Enrollment in the MSOB program is limited to individuals concurrently registered in one of the postgraduate specialty training programs at Penn Dental Medicine. Candidates receive the MSOB degree after completion of both their specialty training and the Master’s curriculum, which consists of didactic, seminar and research practicum courses.
  • A Doctor of Dental Sciences (DScD) program. The DScD will prepare students to successfully enter the field of academic dentistry for careers as clinical or basic science researchers. The program combines the research and clinical strengths of the School, drawing faculty mentors from throughout the clinical and basic science departments. With the goal of providing the opportunity to pursue research across disciplines, students also have the option to work with researchers from Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, School of Medicine, School of Nursing, and School of Veterinary Medicine. Both rigorous clinical and research experiences are central to the DScD program and students devote from 40% to 80% of their time in each year of the program to research; clinical training also occurs in each year of the program to ensure maintenance of clinical skills throughout. The DScD program is open to students with a DMD/DDS degree or equivalent who are pursuing advanced training in the School’s Periodontics, Endodontics, Orthodontics, Periodontic/Prosthesis, Oral Medicine, or Pediatric Dentistry postgraduate programs. Candidates concurrently complete their clinical specialty training and DScD degree, engaging in an intensive research program that culminates in a thesis and oral defense.
  • The Program for Advanced Standing Students (PASS), which enables graduates of foreign dental schools to gain the training needed to practice in the United States. Successful completion of the two-year program leads to a DMD and allows dentists from overseas to take licensing exams in any state. PASS students are fully integrated into the predoctoral class where they take part in all academic and clinical experiences in the third and fourth years of dental school.
  • Dual-degree opportunities – Close ties between Penn Dental Medicine and other schools at the University of Pennsylvania allow for dynamic interdisciplinary learning opportunities in the form of dual-degree programs for those exceptional DMD students able to meet the rigorous application standards of both programs. Currently, the dual-degree options include as a Master of Science in Education with the Graduate School of Education; a Master of Public Health and a Master of Bioethics with the Perelman School of Medicine; a Master of Science in Bioengineering with the School of Engineering and Applied Science, a Master of Business Administration with Wharton, and a JD degree with Penn Law.
  • Biodental consortial programs – Qualified high school students may apply to accelerated programs leading to a combined bachelor’s and dental degree in seven years. Participating colleges include Hampton University, Lehigh University, Muhlenberg College, the University of Pennsylvania, and Villanova University. Accepted students enter Penn Dental Medicine after their third year of undergraduate study and receive a bachelor's degree from their undergraduate institution after completing the first year at Penn Dental Medicine.


Penn Dental Medicine views scholarship as a central component of excellence in instruction and patient care and places a high priority on research. With its own basic science faculty (unusual among dental schools nationwide), the school’s research enterprise is multidisciplinary, spanning both the basic and clinical sciences, concerned with the structures and functions of tissues and fluids and microbial flora in the oral cavity. Collectively, Penn Dental Medicine investigators contribute to the emerging science and practices shaping dental care. Investigations range from such areas as oral microbiology and virology, inflammation and immunity, tooth development, and the use of analgesics and sedatives, to the cellular biology of connective tissues and bone, the applications for state-of-the-art dental materials, and the causes and effects of periodontal disease. Interdisciplinary research is a hallmark of the University of Pennsylvania, and Penn Dental Medicine investigators collaborate extensively with faculty throughout the Penn campus. Recent Publications by Penn Dental Medicine faculty, staff, and students.

Clinical Care[edit]

Penn Dental Medicine is a major provider of clinical care to residents of the West Philadelphia community. A full range of general and specialty services are provided at Penn Dental Medicine within its teaching clinics. The teaching clinics include:

  • Predoctoral Comprehensive Care clinics – the Main Clinic, Myers Clinic, and Paletz Clinic
  • Brainerd F. Swain Orthodontic Clinic
  • Syngcuk Kim Endodontic Clinic
  • Oral Medicine Clinic
  • Oral Surgery Clinic
  • Pediatric Clinic
  • D. Walter Cohen and Morton Amsterdam Periodontal Clinic
  • William W.M. Cheung Advanced Dental Care Clinic

Penn Dental Medicine also operates three group practices of Penn Dental Medicine faculty through its Penn Dental Faculty Practices. These practice locations serve faculty and staff of the University of Pennsylvania and the Health System, as well as the general public from the surrounding communities. The offices locations include: Robert Schattner Center, 240 South 40th Street, 3rd Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6030; Bryn Mawr, 711 Lancaster Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010; and University City, 3401 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

School Facilities[edit]

The Robert Schattner Center (dedicated 2002)

The Robert Schattner Center

The main entrance to Penn Dental Medicine, the Robert Schattner Center connects all three buildings of the Penn Dental Medicine campus. Its clinical facilities, located on three levels, include the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Clinic (first floor), the Oral Medicine Clinic (second floor), the Admissions/Emergency Clinic (second floor), the William W.M. Cheung Advanced Dental Care Clinic (third floor), and the Robert Schattner Center location of the Penn Dental Faculty Practices (third floor), one of the School’s three faculty practices. Its Henry Schein Atrium welcomes clinic patients as the location of the Allan J. Olitsky Central Registration, Scheduling, and Cashiering Suite and is used to host many school and student events. The Robert Schattner Center bears the name of the visionary benefactor who made it possible – Penn Dental Medicine alumnus Dr. Robert Schattner (D’48), whose gift played a leadership role in successfully funding this major building project.

The Leon Levy Center for Oral Health Research (dedicated 1969) The largess of Dr. Leon Levy, a Penn Dental Medicine graduate of the Class of 1915, made possible this hub of the school’s research activities. While Dr. Levy spent most of his professional life in the communications field (buying WCAU radio in 1925 and helping to form the Columbia Broadcasting System, now CBS), he remained an avid supporter of Penn Dental Medicine and the importance of its research efforts. The Levy Center played a pivotal role in the growth of Penn Dental Medicine, providing a home for its basic science faculty and the facilities needed to support a world-class research program. Penn remains among the few dental schools in the country with its own basic science faculty and a leader in oral health sciences research.

The Thomas W. Evans Museum and Dental Institute (dedicated 1915) Penn Dental Medicine’s earliest benefactor, Thomas W. Evans, built a prestigious dental career on the other side of the Atlantic, becoming the dental surgeon and confidant of Napoleon III. Yet, he never forgot his native Philadelphia, leaving his fortune and the site of his family’s home at 40th and Spruce to create a dental institute and museum here that in his words would be “not inferior to any already established.” His bequest would become one with the University of Pennsylvania, resulting in Penn Dental Medicine’s Thomas W. Evans Museum and Dental Institute.

The collegiate gothic, Tutor-style building was considered the most advanced dental teaching facility in the nation when completed in 1915. It helped to establish new standards for teaching clinical dentistry in the United States, and today, the Evans Building remains the site of most of the school’s classroom instruction as well as much of its clinical training. Among its facilities:

  • Predoctoral Comprehensive Care clinics – the Main Clinic, Myers Clinic, and Paletz Clinic
  • Brainerd F. Swain Orthodontic Clinic
  • D. Walter Cohen and Morton Amsterdam Periodontal Clinic
  • Syngcuk Kim Endodontic Clinic
  • Pediatric Clinic
  • Virtual Reality Simulation Lab
  • Penn Dental Medicine CAD/CAM Ceramic Center – state-of-the-art restorative dentistry facility dedicated to the study and application of the latest dental technologies in computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing and all-ceramic restorative materials
  • Library
  • Student Lounge
  • Sig Seigel Alumni Center and Conference Room
  • Ed Shils Boardroom


School of Dental Medicine publishes Penn Dental Journal, a biannual magazine for the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine community.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hughes, Samuel (November–December 1999), The Pennsylvania Gazette, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 98 (2)  Missing or empty |title= (help); |contribution= ignored (help)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°57′10″N 75°12′12″W / 39.952704°N 75.203259°W / 39.952704; -75.203259