"This is an exciting and challenging time to be a dentist. Innovative new techniques are coming to the forefront with increasing speed and we are gaining an ever-growing appreciation of the importance of oral health in maintaining and improving a person's systemic health."
- Dr. John J. Sanders
Dean, James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine (2005-2016)
Patricia Blanton, D.D.S., Ph.D., Interim Dean
Tariq Javed, D.M.D., MSD, MS., Vice Dean for Academic & Student Affairs
J. Mark Barry, D.M.D., MBA., Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs
Elizabeth S. Pilcher, D.M.D., Associate Dean for Institutional Effectiveness
Martin B. Steed, D.D.S., Associate Dean for Hospital Affairs
The James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine educates individuals as dentists who have not only the fundamental knowledge of the profession, but also the qualities and characteristics required of dentists as leaders of dental teams and members of community health teams. The college has both full- and part-time faculty members with a wide variety of backgrounds and experience who have generated a scholarly and self-critical educational environment. Teaching takes precedence and faculty members are rewarded for achievement. The associated activities of dental education, the treatment of patients, and service to the public are practiced to the highest standards. The physical facilities, the clinical and technical procedures, and the efforts of faculty and auxiliary personnel are directed toward treating each patient competently as a whole person.
Research is an integral part of our education program as it trains our students to think critically, be curious and become life-long learners, which fundamentally makes them better clinicians. Although all students in the College of Dental Medicine are required to perform some research during their education, multiple opportunities exist with varying length and intensity of the research. These opportunities include: literature research, a 10 week summer program, a one year clinical research program leading to a Master’s degree, and a D.M.D./Ph.D. as part of the NIH funded Dental Scientist Training Program. Approximately 295 students are currently enrolled in the College of Dental Medicine’s four-year program leading to a Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.) degree. Before receiving their degrees, dental students must be able to recognize and assess disease as it affects the oral cavity and to appreciate the systemic effects of oral disease, to understand the effects of systemic and local therapy on oral health, and to treat or refer for treatment not only the disease but the patient as a whole. A dentist must be capable of preventing oral disease and maintaining and restoring oral health. A dentist must also be aware of his or her professional limitations, be motivated to seek the patient’s best interests, and have the self-confidence to ask others to participate in the treatment of patients.
Throughout their professional lives, dentists must add to their knowledge by evaluating their own observations and those of others, this ability having been engendered by a critical approach to learning and cultural competence. Dentists must work closely with medical and paramedical colleagues and must adapt to a rapidly changing practice environment. For this reason, the College of Dental Medicine encourages critical thinking through a critical thinking initiative for the faculty and activities focused on critical thinking through case studies and discussion.
The educational goals of the College of Dental Medicine are to
· assure that the student possesses an in-depth knowledge of the basic dental subjects, with an understanding of the evidence based dentistry,
· assure that the student possesses a fundamental knowledge of the basic sciences and medical sciences needed to understand the relationships between oral and systemic health, disease, and treatment,
· assure that the student has the technical knowledge and skill to perform fundamental dental treatment procedures with a high degree of quality,
· provide the academic foundation and motivation for the individual to continue his/her education throughout professional life, and
· provide post-doctoral education programs to meet current and future needs in the area of dental health care.
The College of Dental Medicine is fully accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association.
In 1952, the South Carolina Dental Association sponsored a study of South Carolina’s needs in dental education. The result indicated a growing need for a school of dentistry within the state and it was recommended that one be established as an integral unit of the Medical College of South Carolina. In 1953, the General Assembly of South Carolina passed an act which was signed into law, authorizing the development of a school of dentistry as part of the Medical College of South Carolina, but it was not until the 1964 session that the legislature was able to implement the 1953 authorization. At that session, the legislature passed an act providing funds for the purpose of developing a school of dentistry in association with the Medical College.
In May 1964, by action of the Board of Trustees of the Medical College, a dean was appointed for the school of dentistry. Within a short time, planning went forward on the new seven-story Basic Sciences/College of Dental Medicine Building. By using existing basic science facilities and temporary dental clinic facilities, it was possible to admit the first class of dental students on September 5, 1967. The new building was ready for occupancy in December 1970, and the first class of students graduated and received their DMD degrees in June 1971. In 2009 the name of the College was changed to James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine in honor of Dr. Edwards, Oral Surgeon, former Governor of the State of South Carolina, U.S. Secretary of Energy and President of the Medical University of South Carolina.
In addition to the state of the art and technologically advanced clinical facilities located on campus, dental students have an opportunity to participate in programs at the following South Carolina facilities: Palmetto Health Richland, Volunteers in Medicine, East Cooper Community Outreach, Greenville Tech, The Coastal Center, Our Lady of Mercy and Horry Georgetown Technical College.
In order to ensure communication between the students in the College of Dental Medicine and the students in the other five colleges of the University, dental students have class organizations and elect class officers. They also elect representatives to student organizations, the Honor Council and the Student Government Association. The latter maintains purview over all social functions and serves additionally as a means of communication between administration and students.
Other College of Dental Medicine student organizations include the American Student Dental Association, National Student Dental Association, American Association of Women Dentists, Omicron Kappa Upsilon, Psi Omega, Delta Sigma Delta, and the American Dental Education Association.