The School of Dental Medicine was organized on June 21, 1892, as the Dental Department of Western Reserve University, and opened that September with 21 students. For the first 25 years of its existence, the school was located in downtown Cleveland, on East Ninth Street and St. Clair.
In 1917, the School of Dental Medicine became an integral part of the university, with a building on Adelbert Road.
In 1969, it moved into a building adjacent to the School of Medicine, the School of Nursing, and University Hospitals of Cleveland as part of a large University expansion project. This move made it one of the most complete and modern educational and research units in the country, with space for 368 DDS students, 70 graduate students, and 250 patient chairs. In 2003, the name of the school officially changed from the School of Dentistry to the School of Dental Medicine, and the degree offered changed from Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) to Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD). Since its organization, it has conferred degrees on approximately 4,900 graduates.
In 2019, the School moved to the Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilion and the Dental Clinic Building at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic. The 477,000-square-foot Samson Pavilion is home to dental, nursing, medical, and physician assistant students. Being under one roof, and having some classes that they’ll all take together, encourages the communication and collaboration that’s required in the fast-paced field of health care.