Preventive and Community Dentistry


  • Daniel Caplan



  • Daniel Caplan, Howard Cowen, Peter Damiano, Jed Hand, Raymond Kuthy, Steven Levy, Elaine Smith, John Warren

Associate professors

  • Marsha Cunningham, Teresa Marshall, Michelle McQuistan

Assistant professors

  • Jennifer Hartshorn, Leonardo Marchini

Adjunct assistant professors

  • Julie Eichenberger-Gilmore, Betsy Momany, Fang Qian

Professors emeriti

  • Henrietta Logan, Nelson Logan

Associate professors emeriti

  • Howard Field, Hermine McLeran, Lawrence Peterson, Jamie Sharp
Graduate degree: M.S. in dental public health
Web site:

The Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry educates future and practicing dental and oral health professionals, preparing them to understand and recognize:

  • conditions that compromise patients;
  • social, cultural, community, and political influences on dental practice;
  • principles of preventive dentistry for individuals, groups, and communities; and
  • considerations for preventing and treating oral disease in geriatric and special needs patients.

In addition to offering educational programs, the department provides patient care at the College of Dentistry and in a variety of off-campus settings. It also is home to research that advances dental public health.

D.D.S. Student Training

Predoctoral training in preventive, community, and geriatric dentistry is designed to increase Doctor of Dental Surgery students' awareness of preventive dental practices, aspects of dental practices affected by community factors, and care of compromised adult patients.

Community dentistry programs give students opportunities to interact with health care teams and the public in Iowa and around the world. The department conducts off-site community programs statewide, nationwide, and worldwide. It also operates the Special Care Clinic, which is housed in the Dental Science Building.

Using the community dentistry programs as the classroom, D.D.S. students observe and participate in a variety of activities that nurture their awareness of the societal obligations they must assume in order to become effective practitioners.

Graduate Program of Study

  • Master of Science in dental public health

Master of Science

The Master of Science program in dental public health requires 40 s.h. of course work and is designed to be completed in two academic years of full-time study. It prepares dentists and dental hygienists to be specialists in dental public health. The program emphasizes research and requires a research project culminating in the completion and defense of a thesis. Successful dentist graduates meet the educational requirements for eligibility to take the certifying examination of the American Board of Dental Public Health.

Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College.


For D.D.S. Students

The department offers courses in preventive and community dentistry for D.D.S. students.

PCD:8116 (111:116) Fundamentals of Clinical Dentistry1 s.h.
Identification of health and disease in the mouth; practical methods of disease control, philosophy of preventive dentistry; patient assessment, clinical diagnosis.
PCD:8117 (111:117) Cariology and Preventive Therapies2 s.h.
Multifactorial etiology of dental caries; support data for use of fluorides, sealants, antimicrobials, and plaque control mechanisms in prevention of caries. Prerequisites: PCD:8116 (111:116).
PCD:8118 (111:118) Preventive Dentistry Assessment and Patient Care3 s.h.
Patient oral assessment, communication, patient management skills; preventive dentistry risk assessment, oral hygiene instruction for collegiate recall patients; skills in instrumentation for detection, removal of calculus deposits. Prerequisites: PCD:8116 (111:116) and PCD:8117 (111:117).
PCD:8245 (111:145) Clinical Preventive Dentistry0,2 s.h.
Experience providing complete prophylaxis and preventive services for college patients; application of nutrition principles and communication skills in a clinic setting. Prerequisites: PCD:8118 (111:118).
PCD:8360 (111:160) The Practice of Dentistry in the Community I1-2 s.h.
Issues related to the role of the dental professional at a local and state level, including dental public health, health literacy, cultural competency, and forensic dentistry; the role of the state dental director.
PCD:8361 (111:161) The Practice of Dentistry in the Community II1-2 s.h.
Factors that affect the profession and practice of dentistry, including basics of health care systems in the U.S. and in other countries; health care reform; Medicaid; dental insurance; health care delivery systems; legal and malpractice issues; dental utilization and dental workforce; quality of care.
PCD:8485 (111:185) Broadlawns Medical Centerarr.
Dental care to low‑income patients in a metropolitan hospital‑based clinic; community‑related assignments; student team experience in Des Moines.
PCD:8486 (111:186) Colorado Migrant Programarr.
Experience providing primary dental care and outreach services to a migrant population; broad understanding of needs, resources for migrant, low‑socioeconomic populations.
PCD:8487 (111:187) Community Health Care: Davenportarr.
Experience providing dental care at medical‑dental ambulatory health care facility serving Scott County; community‑related assignments.
PCD:8488 (111:188) St. Lukes Dental Health Centerarr.
Experience providing clinical and outreach services for low‑income children and adults with developmental disabilities at St. Luke's Hospital, Cedar Rapids; operative and behavioral dental problems, hospital protocol, special needs of low‑socioeconomic clients.
PCD:8489 (111:189) Geriatrics and Special Needs Programarr.
Experience in Special Care Clinic and Geriatric Mobile Dental Unit; comprehensive care for medically, physically, cognitively compromised adults, including frail elderly nursing home residents with portable equipment, other underserved populations.
PCD:8491 (111:191) Private Practice Preceptorshiparr.
Development of skills and knowledge necessary for day‑to‑day practice of dentistry; experience at selected preceptor sites in Iowa.
PCD:8494 (111:194) Special Field Clinicarr.
Extramural experiences developed according to student needs, extramural opportunities.
PCD:8496 (111:196) Siouxland Community Health Centerarr.
Experience providing dental care at medical/dental ambulatory health care facility; community‑related assignments.
PCD:8497 (111:197) ADEAGies/AADR-ADCFP Fellowship4 s.h.
Window into day‑to‑day experiences of dental school faculty members for oral health professional students; exposure to ultifarious educational experiences at dental institutions including academics, clinical practice, and biomedical, clinical, educational research, and administration.

For Graduate Students

The department offers courses in dental public health for graduate students.

DPH:5000 (111:200) Introduction to Dental Public Health2 s.h.
Science, philosophy, practice of dental public health.
DPH:5001 (111:201) Literature Review Methods: Dental Public Health2 s.h.
Concepts and process of literature review, particularly in area of student's interest.
DPH:5005 (111:205) Administration of Public Dental Programs2 s.h.
Application of general management concepts; practical aspects of planning, financing, staffing, implementing, operating, evaluating dental public health programs at federal, state, local levels.
DPH:5006 (111:206) Preventive Programs in Dental Public Health2 s.h.
Prevention, control methods for major dental conditions, primarily dental caries, periodontal diseases; clinical efficacy, cost‑effectiveness; development of comprehensive preventive oral health plan for a community.
DPH:5008 (111:208) Field Experience in Dental Public Healtharr.
Arranged with public and voluntary health agencies according to students' and agencies' needs.
DPH:5009 (111:209) Advanced Field Experience in Dental Public Health1-3 s.h.
Opportunity to research, develop, and implement programmatic objectives with local, state, national, and/or federal agencies and organizations on an issue that is both relevant to the student and the agency; may require off‑site visits to agencies or organizations. Prerequisites: DPH:5008 (111:208).
DPH:5014 (111:214) Dental Care Policy and Financing2 s.h.
Dental financing and policy issues: payment mechanisms for health care service providers, third‑party prepayment plans, salaried and public‑financed programs, Medicaid and Medicare programs, dental insurance systems, and care of the underserved.
DPH:5031 (111:231) Geriatric Care II2 s.h.
Issues and problems related to oral health care in older adults, especially the frail or functionally dependent.
DPH:6002 (111:202) Research Protocol Seminar2 s.h.
Development of a master's thesis protocol; identification of thesis topic, review of relevant literature, development of research methods, writing.
DPH:6003 (111:203) Independent Study: Dental Public Health1-3 s.h.
DPH:6004 (111:204) Principles of Oral Epidemiologyarr.
Retrospective, prospective, cohort study designs; validity and reliability; distribution and determinants of oral diseases—caries, periodontal diseases, oral cancer, malocclusion, fluorosis, HIV infection, tooth loss, edentulism.
DPH:6011 (111:211) Thesis: Dental Public Healtharr.
Protocol preparation; data collection, analysis, organization; writing, defense of research.
DPH:6017 (111:217) Teaching Methods and Evaluation2 s.h.
Philosophies of dental education, teaching methodologies, evaluation; focus on learning to write educational objectives, writing and analyzing exam items.
DPH:6018 (111:218) Clinical Teaching Practicum: Preventive Dentistryarr.
Teaching experience in preventive dentistry clinic setting with first‑year dental students; outcomes focused on methods in clinical teaching, evaluation, and remediation.