The University of Louisville School of Dentistry's origin can be traced to 1887. A Department of Dentistry was created by Central University which is now known as Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, KY. Dental schools were lucrative businesses and for that reason among others would have been an attractive addition to a University's operation.

Because Central University needed capital, it sold its "franchise" to a group of medical and dental educators. We can thank Steve and Ford Grant's ancestors for that move. They reorganized the institution under the name of Louisville College of Dentistry and became associated with Centre College in Danville, KY. In 1918, the college became affiliated with the University of Louisville, the oldest municipal institution west of the Alleghenies. Renaming the institution the University of Louisville College of Dentistry, the institution moved into "modern" facilities which had been built at 129 East Broadway. That building at Brook and Broadway still stands and lives in the memories of the thousands of dentists who participated in the "rigorous" education experiences offered there.

In 1887, the total dental curriculum consisted of two terms, each one lasting five months. Eighteen students began their quest for the Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) degree in January of that year and they were eagerly greeted by the department's two faculty members.

Interestingly, ten additional men, who had completed their first term at other colleges, finished their second term in Louisville to become the institution's first graduates in June of 1887. Since that time, they have been joined by the approximately 8,000 additional men and women educated at the School of Dentistry.

The D.D.S. degree was conferred by the University until 1939. Before the next graduation date, the faculty changed the degree to D.M.D., the first letters of the Latin words, which translate, "Doctor of Dental Medicine." They believed that this designation more accurately and appropriately described the modern concepts required in the practice of dentistry.

In 1952, the School of Dentistry began its Dental Hygiene Program with a Certificate in Dental Hygiene. Many of those graduates went on to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Dental Hygiene through the University's College of Arts and Sciences.  In 2007, the University ended the Certificate program and began awarding the Bachelor of Science Degree through the School of Dentistry. Of all the Dental Hygiene programs in the United States, only a few grant the baccalaureate degree. The University of Louisville School of Dentistry is proud to be in that number.

In 1970, the School of Dentistry expanded into its present facility and became an integral component of the University's Health Sciences Center. Over the years the School has benefited from a rich heritage in dental education. It can boast of an illustrious roster of living alumni, practicing in every state and several foreign countries. Its reputation for clinical excellence and its history of graduates' contributions to the profession and the public have been continuous since its founding. That is still the case.


More than 100,000 patient visits occur each year at the Dental School.  Under the leadership of the School's Community Dental Health program, our faculty, staff and students provide millions of dollars of dental services to the underserved each year and participate in a myriad of initiatives to promote oral health.

Innovation in Clinical Education

The University of Louisville School of Dentistry is a leader in computer-assisted education in both classrooms and clinics. Students can practice clinical skills on computerized, lifelike patient mannequins in the Simulation Clinic. The dental clinics and classrooms were completely renovated in 2012.  The design provides flexibility and improved patient flow to further enhance students' clinical education.


The University of Louisville School of Dentistry is a leader in oral and craniofacial research with world class faculty members recognized for their contribution to advancing the disciplines that complement the profession.  The research programs embrace the etiology and basis for birth defects through the interdisciplinary Birth Defects Center; immunology and infectious diseases; biomaterials development and translation in conjunction with the University's Speed School of Engineering; and the relationships between oral health and systemic diseases.

Former dental school
Former Dental School located at 129 East Broadway

UofL School of Dentistry
Original entrance to the Dental School located at 501 South Preston

New East Entrance
New entrance to the renovated Dental School