Dental Anatomy for the Medical Practitioner

Publication ID Published Version
9303 January 8, 2013 9


The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has launched an initiative to build a competency-based oral health in medicine model curriculum. It is postulated that this initiative may have been born from the results of a recent publication and others like it. The findings suggested that current medical curricula may be inadequate to prepare medical practitioners to engage in oral health promotion as part of the overall health professional team. This material represents a self-contained dental anatomy course that has a proven record of success in teaching dental anatomy using online technology. Through self-study, self-review and subsequent assessment, medical students will learn sufficient dental anatomy to do cursory oral exams, distinguish normal from abnormal eruption patterns, determine approximate age, read and interpret literature pertaining to oral health and in general distinguish normal from abnormal tooth structure. This will be the common basis for all discussions related to caries and periodontal disease detection, prevention, and understanding of the disease processes.

This material was originally developed to provide self-study material for first-year dental students. Student feedback had indicated that the students would rather not have this material presented in lecture format (Reference, below). Therefore, future class lectures were no longer given and the only source of instruction was this module and self-study. Six years of data (3 years of classes with lectures and 3 years of classes of self-study only) indicated that there was no difference in student performance on assessments between the lecture and self-study formats (p<.05), (Reference, below). This is evidence of the ability of this online resource to achieve its intended outcome. Also, this material was used to help dental students successfully pass the Dental Anatomy and Occlusion section of the National Board of Dental Examiners test.

Reference: DeSchepper EJ, Brady D, Mirowski G, Reifeis P, Hohlt W. New Teaching Aids Developed At Indiana University School of Dentistry Educational Booth at Annual Meeting of the American Association of Dental Schools, Vancouver, British Columbia, March, 1999


DeSchepper E. Dental Anatomy for the Medical Practitioner. MedEdPORTAL Publications; 2013. Available from:

Contains Information Suitable for Patient Education

Educational Objectives

  1. To identify and distinguish permanent and deciduous dentition from digital images.
  2. To identify individual teeth by name and Universal number from digital images.
  3. To appropriately use and understand dental anatomy and oral nomenclature.
  4. To identify and name major tooth structures.
  5. To determine biological age from eruption patterns.
  6. To distinguish normal from abnormal tooth structure.
  7. To describe the attachment mechanism of teeth to jaws and the major periodontal structures.


  • Dentin, Periodontal Diseases, Building Oral Health Capacity (BOHC) Collection, Caries, Enamel


  • Medical
    • Family Medicine
    • Internal Medicine
    • Pediatrics
  • Dental
    • Pediatric Dentistry
    • Preventive Dentistry


  • Knowledge for Practice
  • Patient Care
  • Practice-based Learning & Improvement

Professional Interest

  • Health Education
  • Instructional Materials/Methods
  • Oral Health

Instructional Methods

  • Assessment
  • Independent Learning
  • Tutorial

Organ Systems

  • Gastrointestinal system

Academic Focus

  • Basic Sciences
    • Gross Anatomy
    • Pathology
  • Clinical Sciences
    • Clinical Exam

Intended Audience

  • Professional School
    • Dental Student
    • Medical Student
    • Nursing Student


  • Reference
  • Virtual Patient

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Associated Content

Series (2)

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ISSN 2374-8265