Why Iowa: Clinical Experience

Dental students discuss the large amount and high quality of their clinical experiences, especially early in their dental education.

D1 and D2 Clinical Experiences

  • Students begin patient care in multiple courses with various peer patient experiences including local anesthesia, nitrous oxide, start IV, rubber dams, scanning, alginate impressions, diagnostic tests, extraoral & intraoral exams, probing, prophylaxis and polishing.
  • D2 students provide patient care in Operative and Preventive clinics and gain additional clinical exposure shadowing in Oral Diagnosis and Radiology.

D3 Clerkships

  • The clerkship clinical educational model allows students to focus learning and practice of clinical skills in clinic areas referred to as discipline-based or specialty areas. Iowa’s distinct departments with over 12 specialties allow students to learn from and work alongside renowned faculty that have national and international presence.
  • At Iowa, students provide the majority of  patient care. With a robust patient pool, students have ample opportunities to perform numerous procedures rather than assisting or shadowing. 

D4 Clinical Experiences

Extramural Sites
  • Students spend five-weeks at an extramural site to experience community-based dentistry, different oral health care delivery models and take care of underserved patient populations. Sites are located in Iowa and across the nation in Federally Qualified Health Centers, Indian Reservations, and private practices in underserved areas.
  • Students also get the unique opportunity to spend 4 weeks in our specialized Geriatrics & Special Needs clinic learning skills to take care of the aging population and medically complex and/or comprised patients. 

Patient Clinics

The south half of the Dental Science Building is dedicated to the patient clinics and is large enough to accommodate 165,000 patient visits each year. Clinics provide students with the opportunity to practice dentistry in specific fields as there are clinic areas specific for Operative, Preventive, Radiology, Oral Pathology, Oral Surgery, Prosthodontics, Periodontics, Endodontics, Orthodontics, and Family Dentistry.

Students begin working in the clinic near the end of the first year. Second year students place sealants, composite and amalgam fillings, and also do cleanings for patients. Third year students rotate through each area of the clinic. Fourth year students work mainly in the Family Dentistry clinic, which is designed to simulate private practice