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The Ohio State University College of Dentistry  

Predoctoral Periodontology

“Periodontics is that specialty of dentistry which encompasses the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases of the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth or their substitutes” (American Academy of Periodontology).

The predoctoral (dental student) program in Periodontology at Ohio State has many educational facets, including didactic courses, clinical experiences, surgical assists, board reviews, competency exams, a periodontal rotation and an elective course.

Clinical students work closely with periodontal faculty, especially in their third year. An emphasis is placed on accurate measurements, periodontal diagnosis, and treatment planning.

Lecture Course: The didactic courses introduce students to:

  • periodontal anatomy
  • periodontal examination
  • periodontal pathology
  • periodontal diagnosis
  • evidence-based periodontal treatment
  • periodontal surgery

Clinical Experiences

  • Students gain clinical experiences by working with periodontal faculty, postdoctoral and dental hygienists.
  • Students are exposed to an interdisciplinary approach to dental treatment when they see patients in the comprehensive care clinic and in the graduate (postdoctoral) periodontal clinic

Clinical Requirements

  • The philosophy for clinical requirements is to place an emphasis on periodontal evaluation, diagnosis and re-evaluation because general dentists frequently must make crucial decisions on referring patients to periodontal specialists (periodontists)
  • Dental students are also required to assist during periodontal surgery, which provides first hand experiences on the specialty of periodontics.

Competency Examinations

  • Near the end of their third year, students must complete a manikin-based competency exam on periodontal measurements and instrumentation.
  • During their fourth year, there is patient based competency exam on periodontal examination, a mock regional clinical board exam and a comprehensive written exam, which prepare them for the periodontal portions of clinical and National Board Exams. Students are also given board review sessions.

Periodontal Rotation

  • In their fourth year, students also attend a periodontal rotation
        • emphasis on periodontal topics relevant to
           practicing general dentists.
        • Students also attend a postdoctoral student
           case presentation.

Periodontal Surgery Elective

  • A periodontal surgery elective for interested 4th year dental students is offered on a competitive basis.
  • The course includes:
        • seminars on periodontal surgical procedures
        • a laboratory exercise allows
  • participating students may perform certain surgical procedures on their patients

The periodontal surgical elective includes a laboratory session where students are exposed to several procedures.


The multidimensional nature of the periodontal curriculum prepares students well for both clinical board exams and the National Board Examinations, where they have consistently performed well.