GPR and AEGD Programs with Strong Oral Surgery and Implant Placement Experience - An Overview

futdoc99

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Jun 2, 2016
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Hi everyone, I know a hot topic on this forum is people looking for advice on AEGD and GPR programs that are heavy in oral surgery and implant experience. This is exactly what I was looking for when applying to residency programs. It’s hard to find information online, so I thought I would share what I learned throughout the application cycle. Please understand that just because a program was not right for me does not mean it will not be right for you. My ratings and descriptions are based on what I was looking for in a program. This is only one person’s opinion (mine lol) and obviously biased, but I will try to be as objective as possible in my review of the interview and overview of the program. It is impossible for me to give a true feel of what the program is like without having been a resident there, but hopefully I can shed some light from what I learned during the interviews and talking to current/former residents since there is not a ton to find online. I only applied to programs that I thought were the most competitive and would provide me with the best clinical and educational experience. Granted, there are other programs out there too that are similar, but I didn’t apply to them or know much about them; it was hard picking the ones I wanted to apply to.



Things that played into my decision when ultimately accepting a position at one of the following residencies:

  • Number of implants surgically placed
  • Ancillary procedures learned for implants (grafting and sinus lifts)
  • Sedation
  • Stipend
  • Percentage of patients seen that are medically compromised
  • Optional 2nd year
  • Full mouth rehab cases
  • Third molar exodontia experience
  • Digital dentistry
  • VA program (pro – no need to pay for treatment; con – if there is another shutdown due to Covid, the VA programs are going to be hit hardest)


These are the 10 programs I applied to and received interview invites to (the top 5 listed being the ones I was ultimately deciding between):



The Foundry AEGD (10/10) – both Match and Non-match positions available

You can apply to both the non-match and match portions of this program. They typically give out half the spots before the match and then the rest on match day. This was an in-person interview that was very casual. You’re allowed to wear scrubs or business professional because the entire day (8-ish hours), you’re observing the surgeries in clinic and talking and mingling with the residents. There is a 30-min or so period where you speak with Dr. McCracken for the “interview” but once again it is very casual. He is a prosthodontist with great clinical experience. If you’re not from the area, it would be a good idea to stay for more than just one day so they can really get to know you and you can get a feel for the clinic style. You’re also competing against applicants from UAB that go there all the time. This is a program where you should really only consider if you want to spend the majority of your time doing surgical procedures. You get good training in both vertical and lateral sinus lifts, sedation, grafting, and implant placement. As a resident you will likely place 100+ implants in the year here. Overall, extremely solid program if this is the type of training you are looking for.



Augusta GPR (10/10) – Non-match

This was a virtual interview where you interviewed with Dr. Pruitt and Dr. Coleman and for thirty minutes, and then you interview with two residents for thirty minutes. On their website, the descriptions for the Augusta GPR and the Augusta AEGD are very similar, so it was a little hard for me to figure out which one was which. The AEGD takes four residents and is much more prosth focused, and the GPR takes 12 residents and is much more surgery focused. Dr. Pruitt is a wealth of knowledge. He teaches both a sedation and implant CE course. The implant CE course is a MAXI course where the residents teach the dentists that are taking the course. This program is heavy on implants and sedation. Wide range, but most residents will place between 50-75 implants in the first year and do many sedation cases (way more than the minimum number needed to get a license). Good grafting and vertical sinus lift training. This program also allows you to focus on areas you want more experience (i.e. endo or esthetic cases). There is an optional second year where you do way more complex procedures (i.e. All-on-X hybrid implant procedures and FMR). There is a lot of digital dentistry, and you have the ability to go to a lot of dental conferences with Dr. Pruitt. The residents currently there are not doing much third molar extraction because with covid last year, the residents could only see emergency procedures, so they spent a few months just extracting thirds instead of doing implants. They are now screening patients again, but the third molar experience is likely not what it used to be (for the time being at least). Overall, seems to be a phenomenal program without many downsides that I could pick out. The residents seemed extremely happy to be here and had nothing but good things to say about the program and attendings.



San Antonio VA (10/10) – Non-match

Going into the application cycle, this was my number one program. This was a virtual interview, and I did end up getting accepted here, but ultimately turned down my acceptance as I thought it was not the best fit for me. Dr. Douglas is the program director; he is a wealth of knowledge and he absolutely pours his heart into this program. He is extremely intense, and this program and the residents are what he lives for. This is probably the busiest residency program in the country. You get in everyday at 7am for an hour lecture and then clinic starts at 8. The residents usually leave sometime between 5 and 8 (it seemed rare on days they left at 5). You spend the workday seeing patients and then after 5 you spend time planning cases and doing stuff like that. Dr. Douglas stays after a lot to help the residents plan cases. He really cares about the residents and wants to push you to be the absolute best clinician you can be. You don’t do much simple bread and butter dentistry as you are seeing the most complex cases. Each resident has their own operatory and their own assistant who you are paired with for the entire year. This is a very comprehensive program where you learn pretty much everything in a busy year. You do upwards of 100 sedation cases (basically all surgeries you do are under sedation and you do 1-2 a week at least). Surgeries learned include vertical and lateral sinus lifts, hard and soft tissue grafting, esthetic and functional crown lengthening, open flap debridement, and some others. Residents typically place between 50-100 implants. Dr. Douglas is very up to date with everything in dentistry and has all the latest digital technology (3D printers, scanners, CBCT, CAD/CAM, etc). The residents mentioned that the program can be really stressful at times. Dr. Douglas is incredibly intense; the interview process was less conversational and more just drilling you with questions one after the other for an hour. This had nothing to do with me turning down the program, I was looking for something intense that would push me. The residents mentioned that for the lectures each morning, there are no handouts or slide decks, you just have to remember everything. I ended up deciding against this program because, while it would teach me basically everything, there were certain things I didn’t care as much about learning and thought my time could be better utilized elsewhere (example: 2 hours of ortho lecture every other week with a lot of bracket and wire ortho placement in clinic). I also didn’t get quite the same vibe from the residents as other programs where they really seemed to be passionate about the program and loved going there. There wasn’t as much of a cohesive “family” type feel that I was looking for. There was nothing quantitative about this, it was just a gut feeling I got. Ultimately, this would be a fantastic program to go to, it just wasn’t the right fit for me.



Long Beach VA AEGD (?/10) – Match

I ended up turning down this virtual interview due to having already accepted a position elsewhere. From what I can tell, this is also a very strong program with a large emphasis on implants, oral surgery and perio surgery, as well as endo. The clinics are very modern with good digital dentistry incorporated into it. Dr. Shen is the program director and she sent a video to the interview applicants telling a bit about the program. She seems GREAT! Super sweet and seems like a great person to learn under. I can’t comment much more on this program because I didn’t talk to any residents, but I had high hopes and was disappointed to turn it down.



Kings County Hospital GPR (?/10) – Match

I ended up turning down this virtual interview due to having already accepted a position elsewhere. From what I can tell, this seems like a very strong program that is incredibly busy (which is what I was looking for in a program). It is a part of the OMFS residency at the hospital. I spoke with a former resident from a few years ago. Implants are there if you want them. He said the average resident does 10-15, but there was one girl in his class that did 40. You work alongside OMFS residents every day so you get a lot of good oral surgery experience, but that it’s extremely busy so you’ll get a lot of experience in everything. He mentioned that the residents are treated equally to the OMFS residents and there isn’t a power dynamic worth worrying about. He said the GPR residents will do more implants than the first year OMFS residents. You take call in house and have to spend every 10th night or so in the hospital. Overall, seems like it would have been a good residency, but I did not interview here so these are just thoughts and things I learned otherwise.



UT San Antonio AEGD (9/10) – Non-match

Overall this seems like a very solid program. Dr. Sabbah is very talented and a great mentor/teacher from what I can tell and from those I have talked to. I believe the residents here place between 15-25 implants in the first year, but there is a lot of good perio surgery experience with grafting. There are assistants, but they are only with you on the big cases. The bread and butter dentistry is done without an assistant like in dental school. This is because they have a lot of residents. There are 16 this year and I think the next year’s class will have 19. There is an optional second year where you do a lot more complex procedures. You do get good sedation training here. The big kicker was that for the next class, there was going to be no stipend. That was a deal breaker for me. Overall, great clinical training, though. The interview was virtual, and I spoke with Dr. Sabbah and two other attendings for a total of 20 minutes.



George E. Wahlen VA – Salt Lake City (8/10) – Non-match

This was a virtual interview. The interview was 1 hour with the program director and that’s it. A couple weeks after the interview I got to join a resident panel to talk to the residents. Overall, this seems like an extremely solid program. The residents place 40-70 implants (all non-guided) and are very busy. They had nothing but good things to say about the program director and were very happy they were here. They all will finish the program with enough sedation cases to have a certificate, but one said she still wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it in private practice because they don’t do it often enough (whereas another resident said he would). You always have an assistant here. Nothing is digital, but they say by the time the next class starts they should have a digital scanner up and running. SLC seems to be a great place to live if you like outdoorsy stuff. They mentioned they do things together all the time. Overall, this would have been a program I would be more than happy to go to.



Birmingham VA AEGD (?/10) – Non-match

I turned down this interview because it did not fit within my schedule. From talking to someone that had previously completed the program, she said that she placed around 70 implants in the year long period, did 10 molar endo cases, not many thirds, learned vertical sinus lifts, and had three big esthetic cases. Main strengths are surgery experience and the freedom to make the program what you want. The weaknesses mentioned are that it can be difficult to get help with cases due to other providers being busy with their own patients, you have to proactively manage your schedule and hunt for things you want to do, and the curriculum wasn’t well executed and there weren’t many lectures after the first two months. I heard from someone that accepted a spot here that the interview was great, and all the faculty and residents seem phenomenal. Sedation training is there if you want it (I think?) but it’s not guaranteed for all residents.



UVA GPR (7/10) – Non-match

This was a virtual interview where there was an hour long presentation in the beginning, then you spent 15 minutes interviewing with 4 different faculty each and then interviewed with the residents as well. The faculty here are AMAZING. Dr. Mor is the program director, and she is so sweet and intelligent. The attendings really care about the residents and it felt like if this is where I ended up, I would really be part of a family as they all do things together. Overall vibe and camaraderie feel, I would give a 10/10. The faculty all have different strengths, but some of the major ones were implant dentistry, digital dentistry, and perio surgery. The major strengths of this program are the oral surgery and pediatric dentistry experiences. They do a lot of peds work. After talking to the residents, they all seem great and really enjoy their time there. This program is a one year program with an optional second year. That being said, they reallyyyyy like to pick two residents as first years that will continue onto the second year to mentor the next class’s first years (4 residents total). From talking to the second years, they stated that at the time, they had each placed about 8 implants and were expecting to finish the two years having placed around 20-25. The sedation training is a part of this program, but you do not have enough experience to get the certificate until you are done with both years. Call is every other day. This seems like a very well-rounded program, it was just not quite for me due to the fact that I felt that I could learn all they are learning in two years at some other programs in one year.



Olin E. Teague VA AEGD (6/10) – Non-match

This was an in-person interview. Temple, TX is about an hour from Austin, which is where I stayed. Austin was phenomenal, the food was great, and it really did seem like a great city. The interview had four applicants at a time. There were three different interview groups: two faculty, the assistants, and the residents. The interview day itself was a bit disorganized, and there wasn’t much structure to it. There is a new program director. When I asked how it was transitioning to a new director, both the assistants and residents stated that “well… he’s still learning”. The assistants were PHENOMENAL. Great to talk to. The residents hadn’t been seeing patients yet due to COVID so that might have played into their attitudes, but they didn’t quite seem thrilled to be there. The residency director guaranteed about 20 implants, which he stated is more than enough to be able to competently place them in private practice. You do get sedation certified at this program. There is no digital dentistry. You will always have an assistant and it seemed like the perio surgery aspect of this program was one of its strengths.
 
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Grinz

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Jun 15, 2016
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Your stats must be pretty stellar for you to secure interviews from these programs during this competitive year! Great write up thank you!
 
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futdoc99

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Your stats must be pretty stellar for you to secure interviews from these programs during this competitive year! Great write up thank you!
What was your class rank?

I'm honestly not sure what my class rank is but I'm in the top 15-20% I'm pretty sure. Yes, you need to be competitive academically, but that's not the whole picture. One of my classmates did not get an interview to two of the five programs listed in my top five and she was ranked number 1 in our class. Extracurriculars don't really matter that much for applications to these programs. These are what I think are most important in applying:

1. Rank/GPA
2. Rec letters. This is really important. You need to have good rec letters that highlight your work ethic and clinic abilities. These programs want residents that are there to work hard and already have good clinical skills in the basics of dentistry. These are general dentistry residencies where you are looking to gain skills in all areas, so I got a rec letter from a general dentist as well as three different specialists, all of whom knew me very well and can attest to how well I treat patients.
3. Personal statement
4. EC's highlighting dental experiences
5. Research
6. EC's (other)
 

gunner4ever

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Does it make sense to apply to both match and non-match? If so, should you set it up so you put your stronger programs non-match, and weaker more "safety" programs ad match, because you don't want to hear from them until hearing from the stronger non match programs?

Also, can you get letters of rec only from school faculty? Or can you get it from outside dentists? is that frowned upon? I was thinking of starting to shadow a dentist on weekend, or even using the dentist I got my dental school LOR from to do another one.
 

futdoc99

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Does it make sense to apply to both match and non-match? If so, should you set it up so you put your stronger programs non-match, and weaker more "safety" programs ad match, because you don't want to hear from them until hearing from the stronger non match programs?
Others may have different opinions on this so they’re welcome to chime in. Me personally, I didn’t much care whether a program was match or non match or AEGD or GPR. I mainly just applied to programs that I thought would provide me with the best clinical skills upon completion of the program.

The difficulty is that you run into a bit of a sticky situation once you get accepted to a non match program since you agree upon signing the match agreement that I'd you accept a spot elsewhere, you must withdraw from the match. So this is kind of a bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush scenario. You need to figure out if it's worth turning down a guaranteed acceptance in order to have a chance at another program. I didn't apply to any safety or weaker programs, only programs I thought would be worth going to (some of which I would have turned down an acceptance to in order to work in private practice instead had they been my only acceptance).
 
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futdoc99

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Also, can you get letters of rec only from school faculty? Or can you get it from outside dentists? is that frowned upon? I was thinking of starting to shadow a dentist on weekend, or even using the dentist I got my dental school LOR from to do another one.
I don't think you should get a letter from someone you've shadowed. If the outside dentists are ones you're referring to that you've worked under and done an externship with or something then for sure. But if they can't comment on anything other than your personality and interest in dentistry then I feel like it would be weak. You really want letter writers that can attest to your work ethic, academic ability, and clinical skills.
 

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