Skip to content
Print Page Email Page PDF Version of Page

General Practice Residency Certificate Program

Curriculum and Clinical Experiences

Residents will gain confidence in treating a wide variety of patients through actually caring for them under the guidance of a diverse and well-qualified faculty. Approximately 92% of program time is spent engaged in hands-on clinical care and education, with 8% in didactic and interdisciplinary conferences. A large majority of clinical care (85%) is delivered for ambulatory outpatients, with 15% or less for hospital inpatients and operating room care.

Clinical Dental Experiences: Clinical experiences are provided in all phases of general dentistry except orthodontics. Strengths of the clinical program are in diagnostic, restorative, prosthodontic and oral surgical areas. An additional clinical experience is provided in maxillofacial prosthetics for the head and neck cancer patient. The resident is afforded the opportunity to meet the oral health needs for ambulatory patients of all ages, from children at the Health Department to older adults at the VAMC, under the tutelage of on-site dental educators at all facilities.

Dental Team Members and Four-handed Dentistry: Clinical sites are staffed to allow one dental assistant per resident. Sites also have dental hygienists to support active recall systems and allow the resident to interact with the dental hygiene member of the dental team by providing periodic oral exams on hygiene patients. The Durham VAMC has an in-house laboratory with three full-time dental laboratory technicians. UNC Hospitals uses commercial laboratories to support prosthodontic case needs and an in-house technician for complex maxillofacial cases.

Operating Room Experiences: Comprehensive dental care and dental extraction cases are completed at UNC Hospitals by the residents working side-by-side with GPR faculty. UNC Hospitals General Dentistry service runs an active OR case load averaging 18 cases per month. Patients with physical and mental disabilities such as mental retardation, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and dental phobias comprise the bulk of comprehensive care cases. Dental extraction and pre-prosthetic surgery patients are often being prepared for radiation therapy for head and neck cancer or for organ transplantation.

Interdisciplinary Team and Medically-Complex Care: UNC Hospitals has an active interdisciplinary consultation system where residents are called upon to provide their dental expertise in addressing dental consult requests from surgical, medical and psychiatric services. Residents participate in the weekly Head and Neck Tumor Conference. Residents gain significant experience with management of patients with medically complex conditions such as hemophilia and other bleeding disorders, end-stage organ failure (e.g. liver, kidney, heart, lung), oral and pharyngeal cancers, HIV/AIDS, systemic lupus, sickle cell anemia, and other rare disorders. At the Durham VAMC, patients often have hypertension, coronary vascular disease, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, post-traumatic stress disorder, end-stage organ disease and cancer.

Conscious Sedation: Residents will gain significant experience in use of nitrous-oxide/oxygen sedation. Training in intravenous conscious sedation is also accomplished at UNC Hospitals and the Durham VAMC.

On-call Emergency Dental Care: As a service the community, residents provide after-hours and weekend emergency dental coverage for UNC Hospitals, averaging one out of every three-four days. Call duty is taken by beeper from home, provided the resident is able to arrive at the hospital within 20 minutes. First year residents rotate as "first call", second year residents provide back-up as "second call", and UNC Hospitals attending dentists are also available for consultation and assistance with care as needed.

GPR Didactic Curriculum: All residents meet on Friday afternoons in Chapel Hill from 2:00 to 5:00 pm for Didactic Conference. The curriculum is composed of a series of seminars and lectures by faculty experts from the dental and medical schools and special outside guest speakers. Review of the current literature and resident presentations called the "Disease of the Month" series are also scheduled on a monthly basis. Residents also participate in the School of Dentistry’s Interdisciplinary Conference for Graduate Students/Residents.

Chief Residency at UNC Hospitals (2nd year):Residents serve as Chief Resident during the second year of the program. This provides an opportunity to participate in hospital clinic and program administration, clinical instruction of student externs and junior residents, and significant Operating Room dental care delivery.

Clinical Teaching (2nd year): The UNC School of Dentistry runs an active extramural rotation program sending 4th year dental students to hospital and community sites for 4 week blocks in the Summer and Fall Semesters. All General Practice Resident clinical training sites are also student rotation sites (maximum 2 students per site at a time), so opportunities exist for residents to share their growing clinical knowledge and expertise with students.

Research (2nd year): While there may be opportunities for the interested resident to participate in ongoing research projects with dental faculty, participation in research is not a requirement or an expectation of the program and is more likely to be accomplished with two years of training. Past residents in the 2-year program, interested in academic careers, have authored publications in the dental literature, ranging from case reports, to technique papers, review articles, and original research publications.

Last Modified: 05/27/2010