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Predoctoral Program

Predoctoral Program Director: Dr Mitchell Lipp, Clinical Associate Professor

Predoctoral Activities

The department of orthodontics is a leader in predoctoral orthodontic education. We developed a competency-based instructional model based on thinking skills and built the first program to provide clinical training and experiences to students in esthetic oriented orthodontic treatment using clear aligners.

Comprehensive care requires the general dentist to recognize, identify, and manage all aspects of oral and dental diseases and disorders, including orthodontic and dentofacial problems. General dentists must have an understanding of the etiology and management of acquired and developmental occlusal abnormalities and dentofacial deformities for patients of all ages. The general dentist should also be able to counsel patients and consult with specialists to coordinate total oral health care. The curriculum emphasizes critical thinking and problem-solving skills and the distinction between limited and comprehensive orthodontic treatment.

First Year
Foundational information concerning postnatal facial growth, tooth eruption patterns and timing is presented with clinical applications. This unit is integrated with the basic science curriculum.

Second Year
Foundational information concerning diagnosis is presented. Students begin to apply this in the context of patient examination toward developing sub-skills for competence:

  • Reporting: Recognizing normal and abnormal conditions, identifying, analyzing information
  • Interpreting: Synthesizing information, investigating etiology, making decisions/ judgments based in reason and/or evidence
  • Managing: Deciding care strategies in the best interest of the patient, including no treatment, observation, or treatment
  • Educating: Counseling the patient about problems, management objectives, care options, risks and benefits of care options

Foundational information and experiences support knowledge and skills in esthetic oriented orthodontic treatment using clear aligners.

Students are also presented with interdisciplinary controversies in dental healthcare and explore disagreements and make/ defend decisions.

Third Year
Students participate in a series of small group seminars where diagnostic topics introduced in the second year are further developed and reinforced. By reviewing the components of patient diagnosis in the context of simulated clinical case histories, students demonstrate competence in developing problem lists, treatment objectives, sequential treatment plans and alternative treatment plans. Specific attention is given to occlusal examination, evaluation of facial form and proportion, cephalometric analysis, diagnostic study cast analysis, and radiographic interpretation.

Foundational information concerning topics that pertain to concepts and practice are presented. Topics include: biology of tooth movement, biomechanics, mechanotherapy and a variety of appliances used during and after orthodontic treatment.

Students diagnose and treat patients who could benefit from esthetic oriented clear aligner therapy under faculty supervision.

Fourth Year
Students with patients who could benefit from esthetic oriented clear aligner therapy have active clinical experiences under faculty supervision.

Students are assessed for competence in management of malocclusion and skeletal problems and credentialed for graduation.

A select group of fourth year students participate in an Orthodontic Honors program. Through conferences, seminars, and clinical experiences, students develop more advanced knowledge and skills in managing orthodontic and dentofacial problems.