UKCD Names Thornton Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs

Dentistry Today


The University of Kentucky College of Dentistry (UKCD) has named David Thornton, DMD, its associate dean for clinical affairs. Previously, Thornton served as chief of the Division of Comprehensive Care and assistant dean for clinical affairs at UKCD.

“I plan to focus on each of the clinics that make up the College of Dentistry as a whole. Each clinic should be able to perform in as an efficient manner as possible to best support our mission to help treat the dental needs of not only Kentuckians but anyone who wishes to seek care from UKCD,” Thornton said.

So far, two full-time hygienists have been hired to assist with the standard dental hygiene needs of regular DMD Student Clinic patients. By relying on additional staff for these needs, UKCD said, dental students proficient in performing this type of treatment can focus on the more involved restorative and prosthodontic treatment needs of patients.

“It’s important our students have enough time to experience treating the needs of more complex patients to help ensure they graduate being proficient and experienced in dental concepts being currently used in the private sector. Having the benefit of a digital surgical suite in the DMD Student Clinic and experienced faculty helps with this goal,” Thornton said.

“Our dental students are already working with our residents and faculty to take part in, for example, all-on-X cases that involved multiple surgically guided dental implants to be placed, which serve as a foundation for prosthetic teeth,” said Thornton. 

“We will continue to ensure the college’s pre-clinical teaching reflects what is happening in private practice and that students are able to be involved in a variety of treatment solutions such as these types of cases,” Thornton said.

Thornton graduated from UKCD in 2000 with a doctorate in dental medicine. After 12 years in private practice, he joined UKCD as a part-time faculty member. He was named chief of the Division of Comprehensive Care in 2017 and assistant dean of pre-doctoral clinics in 2018, where he oversaw expansion of the use of digital technology as a regular part of care.

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