Department of Dental Public Health


Dental Public Health is the specialty of dentistry that promotes oral health as well as the prevention and control of dental diseases. The American Association of Public Health Dentistry identifies several ways that public health dentists can promote oral health: by assessing the oral health needs of the community, developing and implementing oral health policy, and providing programs and services that address oral health issues.

Almost all oral diseases can be prevented, however diseases such as caries or “cavities” remain the most common chronic disease of children ages five through 17 in the U.S. and around the world. With increasing links between oral health and systemic health, it is of increasing importance for public health dentists to educate the community about oral health issues.

The Department of Dental Public Health has three objectives: providing high quality education, conducting scholarly research, and acting as a resource service unit in public health dentistry. Through these objectives, the department plays a crucial role in support of the SDM’s teaching and service mission.

The department educates residents and predoctoral students with a curriculum that is rooted in critical thinking, evidence-based care, and clinical competence. This innovative and relevant curriculum prepares students for the practice of dentistry in the 21st century. Visit the Courses page for details on the department’s current course offerings.

Over the past five years, the department has witnessed marked increases in research productivity, as well as nationally recognized community service. Faculty in the Department of Dental Public Health are engaged in high-quality research, such as the Center for Dental Informatics, which conducts research on computer applications in dental practice, education, and research. Through such research, the Department of Dental Public Health advances knowledge in dentistry. In addition, the department acts as a resource service unit through the School of Dental Medicine, the University of Pittsburgh, and in the community. Through its extensive program of community service, the department contributes to the expansion of frontiers in oral health.

Goals of the department include:

  • The further expansion of teaching electives to include the following courses: Informatics, Computer Applications for Research, Issues in Rural and Minority Dental Health;
  • The expanded support of community-oriented dental public health programs;
  • The further strengthening of the SDM’s interaction with the community and the support of community-oriented programs;
  • Expansion of the research program within the Center for Oral Health Research in Appalachia.

The faculty in the Department of Dental Public Health are proud of their contributions to teaching, service, and research, and are committed to pursuing these activities to further support departmental missions.

Dr. Robert J. Weyant
University of Pittsburgh
School of Dental Medicine
346A Salk Hall
3501 Terrace Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Phone: (412) 648-3076