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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. Residents will gain significant experience in use of nitrous-oxide/oxygen analgesia and use of anxiolytic agents. 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. Outpatient UNC Hospitals Dental Clinic strives to provide residents with:

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.

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/Oral Medicine service runs an active OR case load averaging 24 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 also 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.

On-call Emergency Dental Care: As a service to the community, residents provide after-hours and weekend emergency dental coverage for UNC Hospitals, averaging one out of every three-four days on first or second call. Call duty is taken by beeper from home, provided the resident is able to arrive at the hospital within 20 minutes. Trained staff dental assistants assist with on-call care delivered in the outpatient clinic. UNC Hospitals attending dentists are also available for consultation 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 resident literature reviews. Residents also participate in the School of Dentistry's Interdisciplinary Case 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 additional Operating Room dental care delivery. Past residents 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: 10/06/2014