Parnassus campus aerial view

Facts and History

Fostering oral and dental health since 1881

Since its founding in 1881, the School of Dentistry has evolved from the lone outpost of dental education west of the Mississippi into an international leader in the education of oral health practitioners and scholars, comprehensive dental care and breakthrough research.


In addition to our DDS and dental hygiene programs, we offer PhD and master’s degree programs in oral and craniofacial sciences, a combined DDS-PhD program and a combined PhD-dental specialty training program. Other graduate programs include craniofacial and mesenchymal biology and bioengineering.

Patient Care

The School of Dentistry operates 22 clinics at three sites, handling more than 125,000 patient visits per year. The clinics provide comprehensive dental care services, including complex oral and maxillofacial surgery, and care for special-needs patients.

Science and Research

One of the preeminent oral and craniofacial research enterprises in the world, UCSF has ranked as the top U.S. dental school in research funding from the National Institutes of Health for 25 years (2016-17). While we have excellent programs in the areas of craniofacial biology, oral cancer, orofacial pain, cell/developmental biology, children's oral health, caries management, oral health disparities and biomaterials, we also host several leading cross-campus translational research programs:

  • Center to Address Disparities in Children's Oral Health (CAN DO)
  • Program in Craniofacial Biology (PCB)
  • Center for Children's Oral Health Research (COR)
  • Global Oral Health Program, Biomaterials and Bioengineering Correlative Microscopy Core (BBCMC)
  • Programs focused on Sjogren's syndrome and oral HIV/AIDS


Since 1881, the School of Dentistry has evolved, thrived and witnessed a number of notable events.

1881 - Dental College organized and established by the University of California Regents September 7. Initial capital budget: $510. Despite fears of meager interest, the school receives an overabundance of applicants, including many who have been practicing lay dentistry for years in the gold-mining camps.

1882 - The first class of 25 men and one woman begins study. Fees are set at $130.

1892 - Dental Clinic moves to downtown San Francisco to be closer to patients.

1896 - First Scientific Session sponsored by the Dental Alumni Association.

1900 - Completion of the first buildings on Mount Sutro. The buildings house the School of Medicine, the College of Pharmacy and the College of Dentistry.

1906 - The dental clinic moves to Mount Sutro after earthquake and fire destroys its home downtown. The dental clinic helps minister to the city's refugee population, camped out in a tent city in nearby Golden Gate Park.

1914 - Guy S. Millberry, DDS, becomes dean of the College of Dentistry. Over his 25 years in that position, he modernized the curriculum and developed a dental hygiene program.

1918 - One-year dental hygiene program established at the College of Dentistry.

1929 - Pre-dental requirements established. Prior to this time, students could enter dental school directly from high school.

1934 - Clinical sciences building completed to provide outpatient dental and medical care to the community.

1939 - Willard C. Fleming, DDS, becomes dean of the School of Dentistry.

1950 - Three-year graduate program in oral surgery established. Two-year program in periodontology established.

1954 - Establishment of the Coordinated Consultative Cleft Palate Panel, now called the Center for Craniofacial Anomalies.

1954 - Continuing dental education, called Postgraduate Dental Education, established at UCSF.

1959 - Oral and Facial Pain Clinic established.

1965 - Ben W. Pavone, DDS, becomes dean of the School of Dentistry.

1967 - Establishment of the School of Dentistry Oral Pathology Laboratory.

1968 - Postgraduate certification in pediatric dentistry begun.

1969 - Two-year program in orthodontics established.

1970 - Campus is officially named the University of California San Francisco. Post-graduate certificate in dental public health begun.

1979 - Opening of community dental clinics at Buchanan Street and San Francisco General Hospital.

1980 - Dedication of the Dental Clinics Building at 707 Parnassus Avenue. New building provides state-of-the-art clinical teaching facilities.

1981 - UCSF School of Dentistry celebrates its 100th anniversary.

1981 - Assistant U.S. Surgeon General John C. Greene, DMD, becomes dean of the School of Dentistry and embarks on a campaign to strengthen basic and applied research at the school.

1982 - UCSF AIDS Specimen Bank established in the department of stomatology.

1984 - School of Dentistry selected to participate in strategic planning and implementation phases of Pew National Dental Education Program.

1986 - Establishment of the Oral AIDS Center in the department of stomatology.

1991 - Establishment of the Pain Center within the department of oral and maxillofacial surgery.

1992 - Establishment of the Research Center in Oral Biology.

1995 - Charles Bertolami, DDS, DMedSc, becomes dean of the School of Dentistry, and continues to deepen and broaden dental education at the School. Dean Bertolami establishes programs to encourage applied research and technology transfer as a critical component of the UCSF School of Dentistry's mission.

1995 - Creation of the School's first endowed professorship (Lee-Hysan). Eleven years later, the School of Dentistry possesses four Distinguished Professorships (each endowed at $1.78-$2.5 million) and five Endowed Chairs (each endowed at $310,000 - $1.5 million).

1996 - Oral Cancer Research Center established.

1996 - 100th Scientific Session sponsored by the UCSF Dental Alumni Association.

1998 - The Postbaccalaureate Program, aimed at preparing disadvantaged students for entry into oral health care higher education, created.

1999 - Predoctoral Clinics Modernization completed. The effort is the culmination of a $2.8 million, two-year effort that saw the predoctoral clinics overhauled, remodeled and upgraded.

2001 - The newly created International Dentist Program enrolled its first class of students.

2004 - School of Dentistry named recipient of a nearly $12 million, five-year contract with the NIH to create an international registry for the study of Sjögren's Syndrome.

2004 - Revised curriculum implemented for the School of Dentistry, creating all new interdepartmental courses developed around five thematic streams that emphasize and reinforce the integration of basic sciences and clinical sciences in dental education.

2005 - School of Dentistry re-aligned into four departments: Cell and Tissue Biology, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Orofacial Sciences, Preventive and Restorative Dental Sciences.

2005 - School receives 17 commendations and 0 recommendations at its Commission on Dental Accreditation site visit.

2006 - Axium digital patient records system deployed.

2008 - John D.B. Featherstone, MSc, PhD, named dean of the UCSF School of Dentistry, having served as Interim Dean since 2007.

2009 - Digital radiography deployed throughout UCSF Dental Center.

2009 - Pre-Clinical Lab completely renovated, re-dedicated and named in honor of former UCSF Dentistry Dean and UCSF Chancellor Willard Corwin Fleming.

2009-10 - UCSF Dental Center patient reception areas modernized and Pediatric Dentistry Clinic expanded.

2010 - New Craniofacial and Mesenchymal Biology (CMB) lab opened.

2011 - UCSF Dentistry Global Oral Health Initiative launched.

2011 - The UCSF School of Dentistry celebrates its 130th anniversary.

2013 - Online CAMBRA course led by Dean Featherstone on Coursera: first dental MOOC (massive, open, online course).

2013 - UCSF Dentistry hosts 10th anniversary Research and Clinical Excellence Day.

2014 - UCSF Dentistry Dean John D.B. Featherstone reappointed to additional five-year term.

2014 - The UCSF School of Dentistry joins all UCSF schools in a historic #1 in National Institutes of Health funding

2017 - John D.B. Featherstone retires after serving 10 years as dean of the School of Dentistry. Mark Kirkland, DDS, is named interim Dean.

2018 - Michael Reddy, DMD, DMSc, of the University of Alabama - Birmingham, is named dean of the School of Dentistry.