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School of Dental Medicine—Graduate Programs

The School of Dental Medicine has been an integral part of the University of Pittsburgh’s growth for nearly a century. Established in 1896 as an independent institution named the Pittsburgh Dental College, the school was incorporated into the University in 1905.

A member of the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), the School of Dental Medicine is fully approved and accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association (ADA).

For information on the first-professional program in Dental Medicine, leading to the DMD, see the School of Dental Medicine listing under Professional Programs.

Vision: The vision of the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine is to be a leader in high-quality dental education, scientific discovery, and oral health care.

Mission: The mission of the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine is to improve orl health through teaching, research, and service.


  • To offer an educational program in its predoctoral, postdoctoral, dental hugiene and continuing education progrqms, that draws on current best evidence and that allows students to demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to meet the oral health care needs of a diverse patient population;
  • To engage in research and knowledge transfer that will contribute to the advancement of oral health care;
  • To provide oral health care to the patient populations of the region;
  • To maintain an environment that supports the defined educational, research, and service goals.

Contact Information

Joseph F.A. Petrone, DDS, MSD, MPH
Director, Residency Education
University of Pittsburgh
School of Dental Medicine
Office of Residency Education
440 Salk Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Fax: 412-648-8219

The School of Dental Medicine offers the following programs within the Residency Training Programs leading to certificates/certification in:


Anesthesiology (Dental)
Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics*
Pediatric Dentistry*
*The Master of Dental Science (MDS) degree is available in Endodontics, Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics, and Prosthodontics.


Residency training programs are also available for advanced education in general dentistry and oral and maxillofacial surgery specialties.

These programs are designed for dentists already in possession of a DMD or DDS degree from an accredited dental school in the United States or Canada who desire additional training in a recognized dental specialty. For information on specialty residency training programs, see the School of Dental Medicine Web site at

Admission Information

The University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine utilizes both the Postdoctoral Application Support Service (PASS) and the self-managed application process for applying to the postdoctoral programs.

Application deadline dates vary depending on the program into which entry is being sought. Each program application deadline is strictly enforced. Successful applicants will be notified by the MATCH Program or by the specific program director.

Core Curriculum

The core curriculum for all residents in the various specialties includes, but is not limited to, the following subjects:

  • Orientation program, clinical operations, BLS certification, infection control policies and procedures, introduction to computing services, and review of library services
  • Conferences in Advanced Oral/Maxillofacial Pathology; Applied Head and Neck Anatomy; Chemical Dependency; Clinical Pharmacology; Comprehensive Implant Program; Hospital Protocols and Procedures; Intravenous and Inhalation Sedation; Management of Medical Emergencies; Multidisciplinary Treatment Planning Grand Rounds; Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology and Imaging Pathobiology; and Immunology, Statistics, and Research Design Methodology
  • Anesthesiology (Dental)

    The Dental Anesthesiology Program is a two-year dental school/hospital based certification program that prepares residents in dental anesthesiology. The program requires the completion of a minimum of 18 credits. For the first six months of the program, the resident is introduced to the clinical applications of anesthetic modalities for dental patients being treated at the School of Dental Medicine. Because management of medical emergencies is an important aspect of the resident’s training, the resident enrolls in an American Heart Association (AHA) Advanced Cardiac Life Support course. Concurrently, the resident begins classes in medicine and physical diagnosis at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and attends all conferences for postgraduate first-year anesthesiology residents at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). A one-month rotation is devoted to treating patients in the intensive care unit of UPMC Montefiore Pavilion.

    The program also trains the resident as an educator. The resident becomes acquainted with fundamental teaching techniques through completion of an AHA Basic Life Support Instructor course. Teaching classes in Basic Life Support and the management of medical emergencies gives the resident a practical opportunity for instruction.

    After completing these six months, the resident begins a one-year rotation in general anesthesia at UPMC Presbyterian. During this rotation, the resident becomes familiar with the various phases of anesthetic management for patients undergoing all forms of cranial, otologic, dental, and head and neck surgery. During the last month of this rotation, the resident devotes time to treating patients in a pain clinic.

    The resident spends the final six months in a School of Dental Medicine rotation. For approximately one month during this rotation, the resident devotes time to developing skills in delivering spinal and epidural anesthesia at Magee-Womens Hospital in the obstetric unit. The resident also supervises first-professional dental students in the use of pain and anxiety control techniques in various clinics. During this rotation, the resident is encouraged to complete a paper for publication, preferably on a research project of interest to the resident.


    This is a two-year residency program preparing specialists in conventional and surgical endodontics including implants. Residents are directed to identify and pursue avenues of interest in relevant clinical and basic science areas and are required to complete a related research project. Graduates are required to take Part I of the American Board of Endodontics before graduation and encouraged to complete the American Board of Endodontics certification process. The Certificate Program requires a minimum of 24 credits and Master's Program 30 credits.

    The program’s overall goals are as follows:

  • To prepare the specialist in areas of diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of pulpal and periapical pathology.
  • To emphasize surgical endodontics and implants
  • To provide an essential biological understanding of the clinical procedures and problems encountered by endodontists thus enabling resolutions of the problem.
  • To provides opportunities in research as it related to pulpal, dentinal, periapical and related areas
  • To prepare the resident for teaching responsibilities
  • To prepare the resident for board certification
  • Endodontic Curriculum

    The curriculum, designed to encourage students to explore a wide range of topics while pursuing specialty training, includes (1) the core curriculum for all specialty residents and (2) endodontic specific conferences in:

  • Classic and Current Literature Reviews
  • Endodontic Case Reviews
  • Endodontic Surgery
  • Endodontic Clinic
  • Hospital Externship
  • Pulp Biology
  • Special Work
  • Teaching Practicum
  • Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics

    Goals are to provide excellent education in the specialty of orthodontics, provide high-quality clinical care, and conduct research designed to advance knowledge of the specialty. The curriculum reflects this mission and provides residents with necessary knowledge and experience to enter the specialty well prepared for practice. The curriculum is based upon a solid foundation of scientific principles and methods that residents may use as a rational framework for understanding treatment and evaluating future changes. The application of basic and clinical scientific knowledge to the practice of orthodontics is the fundamental tenet of the curriculum. Successful completion of the program enables graduates to participate in the American Board of Orthodontics certifying examination.

    The Orthodontic Program is made up of complementary components designed to produce well-rounded orthodontists. The components are as follows:

  • Clinical training, which prepares the resident for specialty board certification
  • Education from a broad curriculum that provides residents with greater insight on the nature of orthodontics
  • Research, which enriches the profession and develops critical thinking
  • The curriculum for the Orthodontic Program is designed to be taught on the postdoctoral level. The path of study followed by the residents comprises a core curriculum of graduate level basic sciences followed by a broad course of study in craniofacial biology, clinical sciences, and orthodontic techniques. A significant portion of the curriculum is devoted to clinical orthodontics, allowing the resident to attain proficiency developed through a broad and diverse experience in patient care. Conferences involving growth and development, dental statistics, occlusion and malocclusion, development of the dentition, dentofacial abnormalities, biomechanical orthodontics, genetics, bone biology, cephalometrics, diagnosis and treatment planning, evidence-based care, oral physiology, surgical orthodontics, practice management, and orthodontic technique provides an excellent foundation in the basic and clinical sciences. Orthodontic conferences and literature review sessions provide opportunities for critical analysis of historical and current literature, with application to contemporary orthodontic principles in case diagnosis and treatment planning.

    Scholarly activity in the form of basic or clinical research is a fundamental component of the curriculum. Residents design, implement, and complete a research project that provides new knowledge of the specialty and allows residents to develop the ability to apply the scientific method.

    Pediatric Dentistry

    The program offers a two-year advanced training in the specialty of pediatric dentistry. The program trains residents in the advanced diagnostic and clinical techniques necessary to provide specialty and preventive dental care to children, adolescents, and individuals with disabilities. The program’s didactic and clinical components are designed to advance the resident’s knowledge in all aspects of pediatric dentistry. Upon successful completion of the program, residents will be eligible to participate in the board certification examinations of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. The certificate program requires a minimum of 18 credits and the degree option requires a minimum of 24 credits.

    Pediatric Dentistry Curriculum

    The multifaceted pediatric dentistry curriculum integrates scientific principles and methods with the clinical application of pediatric dentistry. Ample time is provided for either basic science or clinical research. Emphasis is also given to community and dental public health clinical experiences. In addition to the core curriculum for all specialty residents, the following pediatric dentistry-specific conferences are offered to the residents:

  • Behavior Management
  • Board Review
  • Cleft Palate/Craniofacial Abnormalities
  • Clinical Pediatric Dentistry
  • Community Dentistry Off-Site Rotations
  • Craniofacial Anomalies
  • Diagnosis and Case Presentation
  • First-Professional Teaching
  • Growth and Development
  • Hospital Inpatient Treatment
  • Interceptive Orthodontics
  • Literature Review
  • Operating Room Dentistry
  • Pediatric Medicine
  • Pharmacological Patient Management
  • Pulp Therapy
  • Special Needs Patients
  • Traumatology
  • Periodontics

    The Periodontic Program, a three-year program that prepares specialists in all facets of periodontology. The program provides residents with the skills and knowledge needed to master clinical periodontics. The curriculum incorporates the scientific and biological background needed to critically evaluate current and future therapies in the clinical practice of periodontics. Successful completion of the program enables graduates to participate in the board examination of the American Board of Periodontology. The certificate program requires a minimum of 18 credits and the degree option requires a minimum of 24 credits.

    The resident will become thoroughly familiar with the periodontal literature and will participate in broad clinical experiences in examination, diagnosis, and all accepted modes of periodontal therapy, including regenerative modalities, dental implants, intravenous sedation, and hospital dentistry. The program sets the stage for lifelong learning and provides residents with the training necessary to meet the present and future challenges of periodontal practice.

    Following are the specific conferences in periodontics:

    • Advanced Periodontal Concepts
    • Dental and Periodontal Research
    • Hospital Periodontics
    • Implant Dentistry
    • Interdisciplinary Conferences
    • Periodontal Literature Review
    • Periodontics and Occlusion
    • Periodontics Journal Club
    • Periodontics Treatment Plan
    • Principles of Periodontal Education
    • Scientific Basis for Clinical Therapy


    The Prosthodontic Program is an advanced three-year course of study in all phases of prosthodontics, with special emphasis on total prosthetic rehabilitation of the patient. The completion of a minimum of 85 credits is required for the certificate program and a minimum of 95 credits is required for the degree option. The program’s didactic and clinical components are designed to train and equip the graduate to transfer new knowledge and approaches, to implement evidence-based prosthodontic knowledge in clinical practice, and to prepare for certification by the American Board of Prosthodontics.

    The program’s didactic aspects complement and advance the resident’s knowledge in prosthodontics, related disciplines, and research methodology. Residents enrolled in the prosthodontic program must complete the prescribed advanced prosthodontic curriculum detailed below. Additionally, research involvement and submission of a publication in peer-reviewed journals are required.

    The program’s clinical components focus on diagnosis, treatment planning, and treatment of dentulous, partially edentulous, and totally edentulous patients. Fixed, removable, and implant prosthodontics constitute the major portion of the clinical training, with occlusion, TMD, and geriatrics as integral components. Residents are required to manage and treat patients requiring complete dentures, removable partial dentures, fixed partial dentures, and implant restorations. Residents are also trained in all aspects of implant treatment including implant placement. The program emphasizes the resident’s involvement in the treatment of patients with congenital and acquired defects.

    Prosthodontic Curriculum

    The prosthodontic curriculum comprises (1) the core curriculum for all dental residents and (2) prosthodontic specialty specific conferences. Didactic and clinical curriculum components include the following:

    • Advanced Fixed Prosthodontics
    • Advanced Removable Prosthodontics
    • Biomaterials
    • Implant Prosthodontics
    • Implant Dentistry Review
    • Literature Review
    • Maxillofacial Prosthetics
    • Multidisciplinary Treatment Planning
    • Occlusion
    • Prosthodontic Laboratory Procedures
    • Prosthodontics Conferences
    • TMD Management

    School of Dental Medicine Faculty

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