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University of Colorado Denver

University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine
Doctor of Dental Surgery

Doctor of Dental Surgery Degree

Introduction to the Program

The University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine (SDM) enrolled its first class in 1973. Since then, the program has evolved as ongoing research and practice have advanced the field of dentistry. The School of Dental Medicine’s mission and progressive vision allow the Doctor of Dental Surgery Degree program to flourish and provide quality educational experiences that are personalized for each of its successful graduates.

Student and Academic Life

The school’s relatively small class size (80) contributes to a positive teaching and learning process. The School’s location on the Anschutz Medical Campus provides students with unique opportunities to participate in inter-professional education and clinical activities to prepare dental graduates to be an integral component of tomorrow’s primary care workforce.  The wealth of research activities on the campus also provides interested students with research opportunities that position them to contribute to the ever-changing evidence base in the profession.
The University of Colorado inaugurated a Comprehensive Care Program in the fall of 1996 that is the primary intramural six semester clinical curriculum for all pre-doctoral dental students. Early clinical experiences include observing and assisting upperclassmen in patient treatment. Following this first year, students begin to treat patients on a limited basis, performing primarily oral diagnosis, periodontal and operative dental procedures. After accumulating a “family” of patients, students are responsible for their comprehensive care during their 3rd and 4th years. During these final 2 years, students continue to comprehensively treat patients and rotate through the Oral Surgery, Emergency and Pediatric Clinics.
Additionally, all 4th year dental students participate in the Advanced Clinical Training Service (ACTS) program while continuing to treat patients in the Comprehensive Care Clinic. This nationally recognized service-earning program, which is a cooperative effort between the School of Dental Medicine and community-based providers, emphasizes external programs in the urban clinics and rural public health centers across the state to care for Colorado’s underserved populations. The ACTS program provides direct dental services to underserved communities in Colorado.
Students at the SDM also participate in campus-wide interprofessional education programs that aim to increase collaboration across health disciplines and improve patient outcomes.  Please learn more about the interprofessional education curriculum.
When you walk through the SDM’s hallways and explore the spacious classrooms and laboratories, an invigorating energy fills the air. First and second year students may be found in the simulation and technical laboratories, where they learn dental procedures and laboratory techniques along with the proper ergonomic positions that should be used during treatments. Students may also be found treating patients in the state-of-the-art clinics found through the school. The SDM is set up for clinical functions that include general dentistry, endodontics, orthodontics, periodontics, oral surgery, radiology, and esthetic dentistry. The clinic also contains specialized areas designed for the treatment of pediatric, adolescent, geriatric, Veteran and special needs patients.


The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is accredited by Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). The last NCA site visit for the AMC was completed in September 2008. In their report, the NCA site visitors concluded that the AMC excelled at performing its missions and had no recommendations for the school. The SDM is fully accredited by the American Dental Association with the highest category of accreditation status, accredited “without reporting requirements."

Career Opportunities

A career in dentistry is a great fit for individuals with:
  • an interest and aptitude for scientific study
  • a desire and commitment to help people
  • an interest in becoming a team member of one of the healing professions
  • a desire to dedicate themselves to promoting and restoring health
As a general dentist or dental specialist, dental graduates have the potential to positively impact local and global communities, to change lives and futures.

Prematriculation Health Standard

Applicants for the Doctorate of Dental Surgery program at Anschutz Medical Campus must be able to demonstrate the physical and mental skills that are necessary for rigorous education and training that prepares those successfully completing the program with the knowledge and skills required for the practice of general dentistry.
If you are an internationally trained dentist and interested in becoming a dentist in the United States, please proceed here.

Considering a Career in Dentistry?

A Dental Surgery Degree may be right for you if:
• You have an interest and ability in science
• You have good manual dexterity
• You like the idea of providing health care to people
• You are a hard worker and are interested in owning your own business
• You want to be a part of profession that continuously expands its scope of services and develops new methods to care for diverse populations
• You want to be part of a profession that has prestige and respect