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Student Clinics

Care is delivered by students who are enrolled in the doctorate in dental surgery program (D.D.S.) and allied dental education programs (dental hygiene students and dental assisting). Dental services are provided in all areas of dental care including fillings, crowns and bridges, complete and partial dentures, implants, gum treatment, root canals, and extractions. Preventive care is also provided. Treatment is provided to both adults and children.

Treatment can be rendered within several months in some cases, but may take up to three years for more complex problems. In order to manage treatment in a timely fashion, patients are asked to be available for at least two three-hour dental sessions each month.

Treatment for patients having unusually severe or complicated dental needs may not be appropriate for treatment within the Student Dental Clinics. Patients accepted for treatment provide practical clinical experiences for students and receive high-quality care at greatly reduced fees relative to those found in private practice. Unfortunately, there are many more people seeking treatment in Student Clinics than we can accept.

How to Become a New Patient in the Student Clinics

Step 1:  Application

To receive an application, click HERE to enter your name, address and language preference or call (919) 537-3737. An application will be mailed to you within 10 days. Complete the application and return it to the address on the application. Original applications only will be accepted. (No photocopies).

For children under age 4, please call Graduate Pediatric Dentistry at (919) 537-3956. For children aged 4-14, please call Patient Admissions at (919) 537-3737 to request a pediatric application.

Step 2:  Monthly Drawing

A monthly drawing will be held at the beginning of each month. If your application is selected, your application will be reviewed to determine whether your needs satisfy the School’s educational objectives. If so, you will be placed on a waiting list for a screening appointment. If you application is not selected, it will remain active until the expiration date printed on the bottom of the application, such that you will automatically be entered into up to three consecutive monthly drawings. After the expiration date, you will need to complete a new application to be eligible for the monthly drawing.

Step 3: Screening Appointment

During the screening appointment, your basic oral health status and treatment needs will be assessed. Admission will be denied if the treatment needs are too simple, too complex for our students, or if your needs simply don’t meet our current educational objectives. Admissions may also be denied if the information you provided on the application varies greatly from what is observed during the screening visit. If you are admitted for treatment, necessary x-rays will be taken on the same day, time permitting. Therefore, you should allow 3 hours for this visit. You may be waiting up to 9 months after the screening visit to be assigned to your dental student to begin your treatment.

Estimated Cost of Treatment

During the screening appointment, the dentist will estimate the cost of treatment when possible. The prospective patient will need to commit to paying for treatment. If a patient later is not able to pay at least the estimated amount, dismissal from the school will occur.


In accepting patients, the School does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, age, or medical or physical challenges.

What Happens After Being Admitted as a New Patient

Meeting Your Assigned Dental Student

Your first appointment after being admitted will occur in the Diagnosis and Treatment Planning Service.  Here the patient meets the student dentist who will be providing care.  Requests to change student dentists will not be honored.  During this appointment, the student will perform a detailed examination under the supervision of faculty.   If needed, consults will occur with specialists.  Patients are encouraged to ask questions and openly discuss treatment options, the number of appointments required and the costs involved.  A patient who does not present for this scheduled appointment will not be allowed to continue as a patient.

Treatment Planning

Following these discussions, a properly sequenced treatment plan will be developed so that the patient clearly understands how the treatment will proceed.  Patients who are not able to afford the recommended treatment need to state this, so that alternatives can be provided.  Patients who begin planned treatment and later cannot pay for care will be subject to dismissal.


The student dentist will schedule appointments to begin treatment.  Most dental appointments are 3 hours in length.  If a patient does not show or cancels with less than 24 hours notice for any two appointments, that patient will be dismissed from the School (see Patient Responsibilities).

Completion of Care for Adult Patients

Upon completion of all active care, patients receive a final treatment assessment and generally are entered into the recall system of the School.  It is the patient’s responsibility to contact the Preventive Recall Clinic (919-537-3928) to schedule periodic recall visits (usually every 3-6 months).  Recall procedures, including preventive care, will be provided by dental or dental hygiene students under the supervision of faculty.  A patient who develops new treatment needs may be assigned to a student on a limited-care basis for treatment.   Patients who fail to schedule a recall visit within two years will be dismissed from the School (see Patient Responsibilities).

Completion of Care for Pediatric Patients

Upon completion of all active care, patients receive a final treatment assessment. There is no recall pool for patients to be reassigned, but rather the child will continue to be followed for as long as the student is at the Dental School. Upon student graduation, the child patient will be reassigned to a new dental student.