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Patients: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why Choose UCSF Dental Center?

Commitment to Patients.  As a health professions university, the UCSF School of Dentistry's major public service is in the area of patient care. We provide a comprehensive approach to the delivery of dental and oral health services, allowing us to meet the diverse needs of our patients. We take pride in providing the highest-quality care to our patients, and have been doing so for 130 years - since the establishment of the UCSF School of Dentistry in 1881. Our reputation for excellence and unparalleled expertise brings patients to us from throughout the western United States. Our services range from routine dental and oral health care to the every specialty in the oral and crainiofacial sciences.

Affordable.  If you are accepted into the UCSF Dental Center Predoctoral Dental Clinic and have a flexible schedule, allowing for multiple appointments to complete a treatment plan, you will save approximately half the cost of what you would pay for treatment in a private dental practice.  Dental Resident and Dental Post Graduate specialty clinics save approximately 25% over what the service would typically cost in a private specialty office in the area.

Technology. UCSF Dental Center is a leader in dental and oral health research and related technologies. We offer digital radiography, which significantly reduces patient radiation exposure compared with previous technology.

Convenience. Public transportation delivers you to UCSF Dental Center. Muni Line 43 Masonic and 6 Parnassus drop you right at our door.

How do I make an appointment? Please visit our Patient Services page for a map and contact information for the two main UCSF Dental Center clinic locations, or the Directory of Clinics page for a listing of clinics by specialty with links to detailed clinical information, including contact information. 

Patient Care

What kind of services are provided at the student clinic? Third and fourth year dental students, under direct supervision of attending faculty, provide general dental care (exams, fillings, crowns, dentures, teeth whitening, implants, root canals, etc.) to patients without serious medical conditions.

May I be treated by a faculty member? Yes, at the Faculty Group Practice and at the Buchanan Faculty Practice. Patients receive state-of-the-art dental care from dental school faculty members, including several general practitioners, dental specialists, and dental hygienists. Our patients may select their own provider to maintain continuity of care with one dentist. The fees charged are similar to those in private practice in the San Francisco area.

What is the difference between Student, Resident (Post-Graduate) and Faculty Dentists?

  • Dental Student - providers overseen by faculty (DDS) working in a large clinical setting
  • Residents/Post-Graduates - Dentists pursuing further specialty training in areas such as Endodontics, Orthodontics, Oral Surgery, Pediatrics, Periodontics, Prosthodontics, and Hospital Dentistry
  • Faculty Dentists - providing full service dentistry in a private practice setting

Do students do dental implants? The student clinic at UCSF Dental Center is offering affordable dental implants to our community. Please schedule a New Patient Visit if you wish to be evaluated for your eligibility for this program.  For more information, please visit the page of our Student Dental Implant Program.

How do I request a copy of my dental records? To request a copy of your dental records, call (415) 476-1891, option 3. There is a small administrative fee for the duplication of records.

Cost and Billing

How can I pay for my treatment? We accept cash, checks, cashiers checks, VISA, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express in all our clincs. Many of our clinics are Delta Dental Providers, but check specifically when you make your appointment in the Specialty Clinics or Faculty Group Practice.

Who do I contact about my billing issues? As a patient at the UCSF Dental Center you may receive a bill from one of several offices.  Please visit the Patient Billing Questions page for additional information, including a list of contact numbers.

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Glossary of Dental Terms

  • Endodontics. Treatment of teeth with root canal problems
  • General Dentistry. General dental care including exams, cleanings, fillings, crowns, dentures, teeth whitening, implants, root canals, etc
  • Hospital Dentistry (GPR). General dentistry in hospital under general anesthesia
  • Implant Dentistry. Replacement of missing teeth with implants
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Extraction of teeth, removal of diseased tissue, treatment of injuries and developmental malformations of the mouth, jaws, and related structures of the face
  • Oral medicine. Diagnosis and treatment of diseases involving oral soft and hard tissues, as well as orofacial pain
  • Orofacial Pain. Management of head and neck pain related to the jaw
  • Orthodontics (Braces). Alignment of teeth and treatment of problems related to growth and development of the face and jaws
  • Pediatric Dentistry. Prevention and treatment of dental diseases in children (under the age of 15)
  • Periodontics (Gums). Prevention and treatment of diseases of the gingiva (gums) and the bone surrounding and supporting the teeth and placement of implants to restore missing teeth
  • Prosthodontics (Dentures). Fixed: Restoration of natural teeth with crowns and replacement of missing teeth with fixed bridges or implants; Removable: Design and fabrication of complete, immediate and partial dentures to replace missing teeth
  • Radiology (X-ray). The projection of an image onto photographic film using radiation
  • Restorative Dentistry. Restoration of faulty, missing, or diseased parts of natural teeth