Excel with a General Practice Residency
By Dr. Philip L.
There are many exciting directions and opportunities after dental school. As you begin to spread your wings and finish your formal schooling, consider participating in a general practice residency program. These programs are designed as an ideal stepping-stone toward many future goals. They may be limited in financial compensation compared to other avenues, but the long-term payoff is enormous.
- Ability to further develop the skills learned in dental school. This allows independent thinking and decision making with someone available to provide any needed consult.
- Experience with new and advanced techniques. Faculty can teach more sophisticated procedures to build on your dental school foundation. You also will experience tremendous diversity (trauma, complicated medical conditions) to help handle difficult situations during your career.
- Explore the various dental specialties. By interacting with various attending specialists and visiting their practices you can better decide if becoming a specialist is the right fit for you.
- Explore a new area of the country. Since there are no licensing requirements for dental residents, you are able to practice in any state. This allows you to live and explore an area where you may want to practice.
- Network with local dentists. Most residency programs have several local dentists/specialists on staff. This is a great way to meet local colleagues, explore practice options and find opportunities in your community. You will build many lifetime friendships and mentorships.
- Participate in a local dental society. Most local dental societies invite residents to their meetings/events and encourage participation. This is a great entry to involvement in organized dentistry.
Applications should be submitted in August or September to allow time for interviews in the fall. Applications to both the PASS and MATCH programs should be completed. When applying to residency programs, consider areas of the country where you want to live. Once determining a location, apply to several programs. All programs possess the core values dictated through an accreditation process, and all have many unique qualities that come across during the interview process.
PASS. The Postdoctoral Application Support Service allows a single application, which can be sent to all programs. The American Dental Education Association operates this service. It also allows all secondary materials to be included, such as national board scores and letters of recommendation.
MATCH. The Postdoctoral Dental Matching Program allows all applicants and programs to rank their choices in order. A computer then matches each candidate to the best available fit. Most programs participate through this service.
This is an exciting time in your life. You chose a career in a great profession with many options. Enjoy!