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A History of the UNM Department of Dental Medicine

The Department of Dental Medicine was formed within the UNM School of Medicine in 1999. The department consists of the Division of Dental Hygiene and the Division of Dental Services. 

Both divisions previously were housed in the Department of Surgery. The formation of this new department has enabled the creation of new specialty programs, featuring our Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency.

These new programs and the recent construction of a new 17,000-square-foot dental clinic are helping the UNM Health Sciences Center fulfill its commitment to improve oral health in New Mexico.  

Speakers

Interested in having a dental hygienist speak at a career day, provide education to your class or staff a dental booth at a health fair? Please contact our recruitment coordinator to schedule a visit.

Division of Dental Hygiene

The Division of Dental Hygiene, founded in 1961, prepares students to provide preventive oral health services in a wide variety of settings, including private practice, public health, school systems, hospitals, long-term care units, research, industry, government agencies, the armed forces, universities and colleges, and international clinics and schools.

Mission and goals

The Division of Dental Hygiene’s mission is to educate dental hygienists through the transmission of dental science knowledge acquired from research and patient care; to improve the health of the people of New Mexico through academic and clinical training of highly qualified dental hygiene professionals; to provide the highest quality oral health care services to the community; to advance the art and science of dental hygiene via research and other scholarly/creative activities and to provide, sponsor and/or participate in activities and services that validate the educational programs of the university as integral and vital parts of the entire health care spectrum.

The following goals of UNM’s Division of Dental Hygiene are integral to accomplishing this mission.

  • Education: Prepare students through appropriate academic and clinical education to be qualified dental professionals using a competency-based curriculum.
  • Patient Care: Provide comprehensive dental hygiene treatment and referrals to those individuals served by the university through a complete, sequential and fully monitored system of oral health care delivery.
  • Professional Development/Research: Create a positive environment by providing development programs that facilitate continued growth and enrichment of all students and faculty.
  • External Programs: In the interests of personal development, use local and national resources to foster opportunities for faculty and students to engage in service activities that promote dental health as a key component in the community’s overall health and welfare.
  • Recruitment: Recruit the highest quality of student.

The Division of Dental Hygiene is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Dental Association. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will be eligible for national, regional and state board licensure examinations.

Division of Dental Services

The Division of Dental Services was created in 1999 within the UNM Department of Dental Medicine to provide quality preventive patient care in an educational environment and share information concerning community-based dental programs throughout New Mexico.

We provide comprehensive dental care at the faculty and residency practice clinics at Camino de Salud and the Novitski Hall clinic on UNM's North Campus). Our clinical care emphasizes treatment to underserved populations in various public health arenas.

As the home of New Mexico’s only dental residency program, UNM Dental Services offers the highest level of care and advanced dental techniques in the greater Albuquerque area in a state-of-the art facility.

Faculty practice and residency clinic dentists practice side-by-side with senior faculty, for a total of 17 practitioners. The residency clinic is staffed by recent dental school graduates who are pursuing advanced training before entering private practice. They typically graduate in the top half of their dental school class and are overseen and mentored by Dental Services faculty. A new group of residents cycles through each year for the 12-month program.

The faculty practice is staffed by full-time Dental Services faculty with many years of experience, allowing patients at the Camino De Salud clinic to continue their dental care with the familiarity of a traditional private practice. 

UNM is a member of the National Health Service Corps. If you need financial assistance with your patient care, please inquire at the front desks of the dental clinics.