Penn Dental Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

One of the oldest university-affiliated dental schools in the United States, Penn Dental Medicine is located on the University of Pennsylvania's Philadelphia campus. Penn Dental Medicine (PDM) excels in both research and patient care, assisting over 40,000 patients annually at its centers.

The University of Pennsylvania is one of the country's top universities. Graduating from it will open doors for you. When you're facing academic or ethical allegations, or if you're struggling with the coursework, you need a legal team experienced in student defense. The team at the Lento Law Firm can help you find a solution while still allowing you to focus on what matters: Your education and career.

Professionalism and Ethics

PDM follows both its own policies and the American Dental Association's Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct. The entire University of Pennsylvania system also has a Code of Student Conduct and Code of Academic Integrity. In addition to its student handbook (PDF), PDM provides a short overview of expected conduct Technical & Health Standards on its website.

PDM expects students, faculty, and staff to demonstrate the following:

  • Honesty in all interactions
  • Adherence to professional standards of behavior
  • Confidentiality regarding patients
  • Attendance at all assigned events
  • Compliance with all applicable codes and policies

Academic Code of Conduct

PDM requires students to refrain from engaging in any behavior that would be considered academically dishonest. Under the University of Pennsylvania's Code of Academic Integrity, this includes:

  • Cheating
  • Plagiarism
  • Fabrication
  • Misrepresentation of your academic record
  • Unfair advantage

PDM adds patient endangerment and research misconduct as behaviors that could lead to disciplinary actions.

Academic misconduct carries serious repercussions, even if when such actions were a mistake. Even in situations when you knowingly violated the academic code, you should still explain the reasons for your actions.

Allegations of academic dishonesty can affect not only your academic reputation but also your standing as a dentist. The dentistry profession values honesty, and if accused of academic misconduct, you need to minimize the risk to your future reputation.

Board of Professional and Ethical Conduct

At PDM, the governing body for reviewing and adjudicating ethical issues is the Board of Professional and Ethical Conduct. PDM requires that students and staff report, in writing, any potential misconduct or ethical violations to the Board.

After receiving a complaint, the Faculty Investigating Officer (FIO) will determine if the initial report has any merit. In consultation with other members of the Board, the FIO may either dismiss or resolve the complaint.


For serious allegations, a hearing will be scheduled. If an accused student is considered a potential danger to the PDM community, especially patients, that student may either be suspended or placed on a temporary leave of absence until the matter is resolved.

At the hearing, you will have the opportunity to present your case to the Hearing Panel. The FIO will also present the case against you. Members of the panel may question either you or the FIO during the hearing. The standard of proof in a PDM hearing is “clear and convincing proof,” which means it is more likely than not that the events at the center of a complaint occurred.

The panel makes its decision via a secret ballot with a simple majority vote. They then forward their decision, including any disciplinary action, to the Dean. While PDM provides a list of possible sanctions, ranging from a written warning to dismissal, the list is not exhaustive. The panel has the flexibility to determine disciplinary action appropriate to the violation.

Depending on the outcome, you may have the right to appeal the decision.

While PDM bans attorneys from attending the hearing, an accused student would benefit from using legal counsel to build their case. A team knowledgeable in student defense and academic and ethical issues at universities, such as the Lento Law Firm, can help you organize an argument and assemble relevant evidence.


Each course has its own remediation policies, which are listed in that course's syllabus. PDM does have some general requirements:

  • Mandatory peer tutoring
  • All remediation, including re-taking exams, occurs after the end of a semester
  • When a student fails a course, they will be put on academic probation until they have successfully remediated the failed course
  • If a student fails more than two classes or the same class more than once, PDM may use this as grounds for dismissal
  • When a student is remediating a course, they will not be involved in any hands-on patient care but must still attend scheduled rotations

Regarding the final point, being unable to work with patients may delay your ability to advance to the next year and potentially your ability to graduate. PDM requires students to graduate in four years, although they will allow an additional fifth year in certain, approved circumstances.

The Committee for Student Advancement

The Committee for Student Advancement handles all academic matters at PDM. The Committee has the flexibility to tailor its decisions to each individual student and that student's situation.

If you fail more than one course, you will need to provide the Committee with a written statement that explains why you failed courses and any extenuating circumstances. You should also include your plan for correcting the problem.

Within twenty days, the Committee will convene a hearing with at least five of its members in attendance. During the hearing, the student may present their case. Following the hearing, the Committee will inform the student, in writing, of their decision, which the student may appeal.


PDM follows the university's guidelines for students with disabilities. Students may request accommodations as necessary, which are approved or denied by the Weingarten Center. PDM places certain limitations on dental students regarding accommodations, especially in clinical settings.

If you have a disability, make sure you're receiving the support you need to succeed. That you require additional support in the classroom has little relation to your ability or fitness to practice as a dentist.

Experienced Student Defense Advisors

Whether you're facing accusations of misconduct or academic struggles, hire a qualified legal team. As a dental student, you've already completed most of the education you need to qualify as a dentist. Don't let an issue this close to the finish line derail your future career.

The Lento Law Firm has experience nationwide with student defense. We'll help you build a case and allow you to continue focusing on your education. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 or contact us online.

Contact Us Today!

If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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