About the School


Founded in 1905, The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston was the first dental school in Texas and continues to lead dental education today, with a vision of enriching the lives and health of our community and the world through patient care and research — our foundation in the pursuit of excellence in education.

As part of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), the School of Dentistry’s three-part mission of education, patient care and research aims to advance human health by providing high-quality education, patient care and research in oral health for Texas, the nation and the world.

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  • Diagnostic and Biomedical Sciences

    With its eclectic blend of specialists, generalists, clinicians and basic scientists, the Department of Diagnostic and Biomedical Sciences is focused on teaching and patient care in the areas of oral examination and diagnosis, oral medicine, oral pathology, oral radiology and treatment planning. The department is also dedicated to discovering new information through clinical, translational and basic science research for the prevention and treatment of oral diseases.

    An Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology Preceptorship Program is available for dentists who have attained a significant level of oral and maxillofacial pathology training/experience at institutions outside the U.S., and who wish to improve or sharpen their pathology/histopathology diagnostic skills. Currently, the department does not offer a residency program in oral and maxillofacial pathology.

  • Endodontics

    The Department of Endodontics teaches biology of the normal pulp; the etiology, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases and injuries of the pulp; and associated periradicular conditions.

    UTSD’s endodontic clinic was the first in the country equipped with microscopes for every student, and it is one of the few clinics with a dedicated cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) unit. The microscopes feature integrated networked video cameras, digital radiography, and electric handpieces for nickel-titanium instrumentation.

    The department’s 26-month Advanced Education Program in Endodontics leads to a certificate and Master of Science in Dentistry (MSD) degree. A one-year, noncredit Preceptorship in Endodontics is also available.

  • General Practice and Dental Public Health

    UTSD’s largest department, General Practice and Dental Public Health, teaches behavioral sciences, general dentistry, community dentistry, preventive dentistry, operative dentistry, patient assessment, diagnosis and treatment planning, as well as practice relations and management.

    In addition to five undergraduate DDS program clinics, this department also staffs the Special Patient Clinic, the Urgent Care Clinic, the Assessment Clinic, the Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology Clinic, two mobile dental vans, and the Treatment Planning Clinic.

    The department also offers two postgraduate certificate programs: General Practice Residency and Advanced Education in General Dentistry. A one-year, noncredit preceptorship is also available in either program.


  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

    The Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery educates undergraduate students and residents in the full scope of oral and maxillofacial surgery, and outpatient anesthesiology. The department offers both a Residency Program and an Externship Program. The residency program prepares practitioners to treat both benign and malignant diseases, injuries, and acquired and congenital defects of the oral and maxillofacial region. Treatment emphasizes the restoration of function and esthetics.

    The UTHealth Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Program is the largest in the nation, based in the world's largest medical center, and is the only training program in Houston — the fourth-largest city in the U.S. As a result, the scope of training is broad and the number of cases significant.

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  • Orthodontics

    The Department of Orthodontics teaches students and residents how to deal with skeletal and dental discrepancies (malocclusions) caused by genetic and environmental factors. Malocclusions may present on a wide scale— from minor tooth irregularity to severe malformation of the jaws. Orthodontics also involves managing and treating skeletal, dental and soft-tissue growth of the face and jaws.

    The Advanced Education Program in Orthodontics is a 26-month graduate program leading to a certificate and optional master’s degree.

  • Pediatric Dentistry

    The Department of Pediatric Dentistry educates dental students and residents to provide comprehensive preventive and therapeutic oral health care for infants, children, adolescents, including those with special health needs. Instruction covers childhood growth and development, psychology, disease etiology, and behavior guidance.

    UTSD offers pediatric specialty treatment that includes comprehensive prevention and treatment of dental disease, interceptive orthodontics, and both basic and advanced behavior management techniques including the use of nitrous oxide, minimal to moderate “conscious” sedation, intravenous deep sedation in a clinical setting and general anesthesia in a hospital setting.

    The department offers a two-year Advanced Education Program leading to a certificate with an optional Master of Science in Dentistry degree. A one-year, noncredit Preceptorship Program is also available.

    Students, residents and preceptors work alongside with the faculty and help provide care to the children with the goal of easing fear, improving communication and laying the foundation for lifelong oral health.

  • Periodontics and Dental Hygiene

    The Department of Periodontics and Dental Hygiene prepares students to care for the tissues that surround and support the teeth, including the gums, bone of the jaw, and the ligaments and substances that hold the teeth in place.

    The Advanced Education Program in Periodontics is a 36-month graduate program leading to a master’s degree. Six-month or one-year Preceptorships in Periodontics are also available.

    Dental Hygiene Program

    The Department of Periodontics and Dental Hygiene offers the fully accredited, two-year Dental Hygiene Program leading to either a post-degree certificate or Bachelor of Science Degree in Dental Hygiene. UTSD is the only Houston-area school offering a BSDH.

    For dental hygienists who earned their certificates at UTSD, an online degree-completion program is available.

  • Restorative Dentistry and Prosthodontics

    The Department of Restorative Dentistry and Prosthodontics educates students in preclinical operative dentistry, dental anatomy, occlusion, biomaterials, esthetics and clinical restorative and esthetic dentistry, as well as fixed, removable and implant prosthodontics. The department is also home to the Houston Center for Biomaterials and Biomimetics.

    The three-year Advanced Education Program in Prosthodontics provides specialty training in removable, fixed, implant and maxillofacial prosthodontics. A one-year Prosthodontics Preceptorship is also available.

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About The Dean

John A. Valenza, DDS

With a background in hospital dentistry, private practice and both clinical and didactic teaching, John A. Valenza, DDS ’81, is the first graduate of The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston to serve as dean since the school opened in 1905.

Under Valenza’s leadership, the School of Dentistry built and moved into a new, 300,000-square foot facility in 2012 — a triumph of planning and teamwork that created a superior setting for dental education, research and patient care. For the native Houstonian, it was the opportunity of a lifetime, and an example of what he likes best about being dean.

“It’s feeling like you’re making a difference,” said Valenza, who is a distinguished teaching professor and member of the prestigious University of Texas Academy of Health Science Educators.

Learn More

John Valenza, DDS

UTSD eFlash!

UTSD eFlash! is our electronic newsletter highlighting current news, announcements and events at UTHealth School of Dentistry and across the university.


Discover UTSD

Discover UTSD is the official magazine of UTHealth School of Dentistry, featuring news about alumni, students, employees, philanthropy and the school's three-part mission of education, research and patient care.



Your portal to the past! Search by month and date to find previously published news and feature stories.



  • School of Dentistry Careers

    School of Dentistry Careers

    Interested in joining our team? Check the many faculty, administrative and staff employment opportunities open at UTHealth School of Dentistry.

  • UTHealth Careers

    UTHealth Careers

    Want to expand outside of the School of Dentistry? View open positions for all of the schools and facilities in the UTHealth network.

  • External Practice Opportunities

    External Practice Opportunities

    Ready to work in a dental practice? Search positions available throughout our community and nation. Many listings are ideal for graduating DDS and dental hygiene students.

  • Academic Opportunities

    Academic Opportunities

    Want to move to the next level? Search for key faculty positions available at UTHealth School of Dentistry, as well notices shared by other U.S. or Canadian dental schools.