UW School of Dentistry


Physical Examination II

Beatrice Gandara

2 Credits / Quarter 3 (Spring, First Year)

Course Description

This course consists of lectures, clinical practice sessions, clinical rotations, and seminars that address techniques of patient assessment including history- taking, physical examination, and interpretation of findings. Includes development of skills through participation in clinical sessions.

Educational Objectives

At the completion of this course, the student should be able to:

  • Apply appropriate techniques for obtaining problem histories and medical histories from patients seeking comprehensive and emergency dental care.
  • Perform a complete head, neck, and intraoral examination of the dental patient. This includes an EENT (eye, ears, nose and throat) screening.
  • Recognize normal versus abnormal findings.
  • Document findings in medico-legal records and in professional communications with other providers.

Course Outline

Physical Examination II provides instructional material and experiences so that students can become competent in performing a health history review and physically assess the general and oral health status of a patient. These skills are prerequisites for developing and delivering an appropriate plan of care for the patient. During this course students will attend/participate in:

  • 3 lecture sessions
  • 4 early morning clinical practice sessions (by rotation)
  • 3 clinical rotations (2 AM and 1 PM session) with written summaries of medical histories.
  • Clinical Competency Examination (final examination)

During clinical rotations, you will be working alongside senior and junior dental students enrolled in Oral Medicine 630 and 640.

At the end of the quarter, you will be tested for clinical competency in physical assessment procedures in a one-on-one observation by a faculty member.

Course Expectations

This course requires attendance at all lectures, seminars and clinical sessions. There will be 2 quizzes, 2 written medical history summaries and a clinical competency assessment/ final exam.

Effective Winter Quarter 2007, completion of on-line course evaluation is a requirement of this course. Failure to comply will result in an “Incomplete” grade being assigned.

Competencies Addressed

  • UWSOD Competency 1: Examine a patient using contemporary diagnostic methods to evaluate the head and neck region and to reach a diagnosis of the patient’s oral and craniofacial health status.
  • UWSOD Competency 7: Manage pulpal and periradicular disease.
  • UWSOD Competency 8: Manage dental emergencies.
  • UWSOD Competency 11: Diagnose and manage hard and soft tissue lesions and diseases of the orofacial complex.
  • UWSOD Competency 15: Assess the teeth and supporting structures and provide preventive services.
  • UWSOD Competency 22: Utilize critical thinking in assessing technical and scientific information for use in identifying patient needs and treatments.


Required Reading Assignments

  • Course Website
    You will need to enter your user ID and e-mail password to access the site. The website includes short video clips of examination techniques.
  • Syllabus for Oral Medicine 517, Physical Diagnosis. This written syllabus is based on the website.


Textbook: A Guide to Physical Examination and History-Taking by Barbara Bates, 6th edition or later, JB Lippincott Company, 1995

*last updated: 11/7/2011