Minimum Technical Standards

5D Dentist in Action

Technical Standards for Admission and Matriculation

The University of Louisville School of Dentistry is committed to the principle of diversity in all areas. In that spirit, the School is open for admission to all qualified individuals and complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1993).

The School recognizes the award of a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree carries with it the full authority of the institution and communicates to those who might seek the services of the bearer that he or she is competent to practice dentistry. The DMD degree is unique in that the graduate is prepared and, upon licensure, is allowed to practice all disciplines of the dental profession. This requires that the student master didactic knowledge as well as developing learning skills and attitudes essential to the profession. The student requires both cognitive and technical skills to successfully negotiate the curriculum.

The School is aware of the unique nature of the dental curriculum. Applicants must possess the skills and abilities that will allow them to successfully complete the demanding course of study and receive the full benefit of the education.  As part of this process the student is required to manage and perform supervised treatment on the patients of the School. All involved are responsible for  the well-being of patients. This includes treatment planning, the safe delivery of treatment within a reasonable time frame. With this in mind, the student must be able to meet technical standards with or without reasonable accommodation.

Motor Skills

Candidates must have sufficient motor function to evaluate patients through such diagnostic procedures as palpation, auscultation, and percussion. Candidates should be able to execute motor movements that are reasonably required to provide oral health care and emergency treatment to patients. Examples of such emergency treatment are: cardiopulmonary resuscitation, application of pressure to stop bleeding, the opening of obstructed airways, the suturing of simple wounds, and uncomplicated oral and maxillofacial surgical procedures. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.


Candidates must be able to perform visual and tactile dental examinations and treatment including use of visual acuity and color vision, to discern differences and variations in color, shape, and general appearance between normal and abnormal soft and hard tissues. Use of tactile senses may be either by direct palpation or indirect through instrumentation.


Candidates must have sufficient mastery of the English language to:

  1. Retrieve information from texts and lectures and communicate concepts on written exams and patient charts;
  2. Communicate effectively with patients in order to develop a health history, identify problems presented, explain alternative solutions, and give directions during treatment and post-treatment; and
  3. Coordinate patient care and treatment with all members of the health care team. In any case where a candidate’s ability to communicate through these sensory modalities is compromised, the candidate must demonstrate alternative means and/or ability to acquire and communicate essential information.


Candidates must be able to comprehend three dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures. Problem solving, a critical skill demanded of dentists, requires all of these intellectual abilities. Candidates must be able to perform these problem solving skills in a timely fashion.


Candidates must be able to tolerate physically-taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admissions and educational process. Further, candidates must be able to manage apprehensive patients with a range of moods and behaviors in a tactful, congenial, personal manner so as not to alienate or agitate them. Candidates will be expected to accept criticism and respond by appropriate behavior modifications.

The School will consider for admission any applicant capable of acquiring the necessary knowledge and having the ability to perform, or learn to perform, the skills specified in these standards. These skills are essential to the program of instruction.

Reasonable Accommodation 

Although the School may not inquire whether an applicant has a disability prior to making a decision on admission, an applicant may disclose during the admissions process a disability for which he or she wishes accommodation during the admissions process or upon admission. If this occurs, the School will request that the applicant provide documentation of the disability to the Director of Admissions. The Admissions Committee will consider the applicant based on the published criteria for admission of all applicants. The Admissions Committee will make a determination as to whether the applicant can perform the essential functions of the educational program, taking into account the accommodations that the applicant has requested or alternative reasonable accommodations that the institution can offer.

After admission, a student who discloses a disability and requests accommodation may be asked to provide documentation of his or her disability for the purpose of determining appropriate accommodations, including modification to the program. The School will provide reasonable accommodations, but is not required to make modifications that would fundamentally alter the nature of the program or provide auxiliary aids that present an undue burden to the School. The student must be able to perform all of the technical standards with or without accommodation to matriculate or continue in the curriculum.

Requests for accommodation should be initiated with the Office of Student Affairs.