Technical Standards

Candidates for the DMD degree must be able to fully perform all essential functions in each of the following categories: observation, communication, motor, intellectual, and behavioral/social.

We recognize that degrees of ability vary widely between individuals. Those with a disability are encouraged to discuss this with the College of Dentistry Associate Dean for Education so that they may consider technological and other facilitating mechanisms necessary to train and function effectively as a dentist. The UF College of Dentistry is committed to enabling its students to complete the course of study leading to the dental degree by any reasonable means or accommodations.


The candidate must be able to observe demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences, preclinical and clinical techniques. While working alone and with others, an applicant must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand, including settings where time available for observation is brief, such as emergencies. Observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision and other sensory modalities.


A candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with colleagues and patients. The focus of this communication is to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity, and posture, and perceive nonverbal communication. Communication includes not only speech, but reading and writing. The candidate must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form with all members of the health care team, including settings where time available is brief, such as emergencies.


The candidate must possess sufficient motor function to perform basic laboratory techniques, anatomical dissection, dental clinical and dental laboratory techniques. The candidate must possess sufficient motor function such that they are able to execute movements reasonably required to provide general and emergency treatment to patients within an acceptable amount of time. The candidate must possess the skills necessary to read radiographs, elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers. 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 basic life support procedures, including CPR and position and reposition themselves around the patient and dental chair either in a standing or sitting position. Candidates must be able to operate all dental equipment and tools commonly necessary to the effective treatment of patients, operate high and low speed dental movements of less than one millimeter and utilize hand instrumentation (including scalpels for surgical procedures).

Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative

These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis and synthesis. A candidate must have the ability to synthesize and apply complex information. The applicant must be able to comprehend three dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationship of structures. Because dental care must be rendered in a timely and orderly fashion, candidates must be able to demonstrate cognitive skills in specified time periods and settings. Candidates must be fully alert and attentive at all times in clinical settings.

Behavioral and Social Attributes

A candidate must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of his or her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relations with patients, staff and other health care practitioners. Candidates must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. A student must reasonably be expected to accept criticism and respond by appropriate modification of behavior. Compassion, integrity, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are all personal qualities that are assessed during the admissions and education processes. The candidate must be willing to interview, physically examine, and provide care to all patients regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, culture, religion, or sexual orientation.