The Dental Board of California (DBC) granted the status of provisional approval to the College of Dental Medicine (CDM) at Western University of Health Sciences on Aug. 5.

The California Dental Practice Act requires that the DBC approve dental schools that continuously maintain a high-quality standard of instruction. Final approval is granted when the program is fully operational with classes in each of the four academic years. This process is similar to accreditation by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, and the Board relies in part on WesternU’s accreditation by that agency.

The College of Dental Medicine’s inaugural class of 74 students started school Aug. 3 with Orientation Week. Classes begin Aug. 10.

WesternU’s Patient Care Center (PCC), currently under construction, will open in early 2010 to provide realistic patient simulation experiences for first-year dental students as they begin to practice their skills under the supervision of licensed faculty.

According to College of Dental Medicine Founding Dean James Koelbl, DDS, MS, MJ, the College would not be able to operate or to treat patients in the PCC without Board approval.

“”Along with approval by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), and accreditation by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA), approval by the Dental Board of California is one more milestone in the development of our new College of Dental Medicine,”” said Koelbl. “”The processes involved in gaining approval by each of these important agencies provide assurance to students and patients that our program is operating at the highest standards of quality. We appreciate the diligence of the members of the Dental Board in reviewing and approving our application.””