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blankguy

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Has anybody here specialized in the military? I want to know what it is like and how tough it is.
 

MaxAnn

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I would like to know too. I am interested in a career in the military and want to know if I can specialize someday. Anyone who can help on this would be great.
 

blankguy

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From what I have dug up it seems to be "easier" but it operates in the same way (GPA, rank, board scores).
 
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SquidsLife

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From what I have dug up it seems to be "easier" but it operates in the same way (GPA, rank, board scores).

I've tried the specialization route in the Navy but found it "easier" in the civilian sector...at least for ortho. What specializations are you interested in?
 

blankguy

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I've tried the specialization route in the Navy but found it "easier" in the civilian sector...at least for ortho. What specializations are you interested in?

Since I'm not in the school yet. I was wondering how the process varies in the military (navy) in your case. Just for an example endo, and ortho. A lot of what I hear could be myth, speculation,etc...
 

SquidsLife

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Since I'm not in the school yet. I was wondering how the process varies in the military (navy) in your case. Just for an example endo, and ortho. A lot of what I hear could be myth, speculation,etc...

You can't apply for specialty training until you finish your first tour (not including AEGD/GPR time). The year before you PCS to your next duty station you can apply for programs. There are NO interviews but they still look at class rank, GPA, board scores, and research but one aspect that plays a BIG part of the application process are your deployments....as in, what have you done for the Navy lately? The specialty training board that reviews the applications also have their own personal agenda (did they have problems with any of the people who wrote your evaluations, have they heard of you before, were you at "easy" duty stations, have you been in the Navy long enough to "earn" a specialty spot). The "good ol' boy" system is alive and well in the military.

So to summarize...
If you don't have stellar grades and board scores, then specialty training in the military is definately an option if you concentrate on getting stellar evals and multiple deployments or hard to fill billets.

Last year, there were 24 people who applied for 2 ortho spots. At the civilian program where I was accepted, there were 189 applicants for 16 spots. Do the math and my odds were about even for either route. However, I think if you apply through the Navy these days and don't do your time in the sandbox then your pretty much lagging behind the other applicants.
 

blankguy

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Okay that makes sense. The military having a different agenda than the civilian, why should they invest in you if you are not doing your all for them.
I take it isn't that different in other branches.
 

SquidsLife

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The other thing you'll want to keep in mind is that you can ask your recruiter about getting a deferment from your payback so you can apply for specialty programs during your third year. If you get into a program and you get the ok, you can go to the program (on your own dime) and then do your payback after your done specialty school. If you don't get into a program, then no big deal and you start your payback after graduation.
 

MaxAnn

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Squid this is great information. I had no idea such a maneveur was even possible. Are there any others you can think of that are worth sharing? I would really like to know.
 

SquidsLife

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Just ask your recuiter about applying to specialty schools. You can actually apply to the military specialties while in school but this route is a little harder since you haven't "done your time" with the Navy. They have actually picked up a couple people for endo last year straight out of dental school. Several of my ortho buddies in the Navy went the route I mentioned before...apply to civilian schools and then get a deferrment on your payback. Worked out great for them. If this is something you want to do then you better have some solid board scores and a top 5-10% class rank
 

MaxAnn

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It sounds like it would be better to get in done after you payback, but then again I am not so sure. Since most specialization would be competitive anyway, are the class rank and top board scores what you would recommend for the service or specialization in general?
 

SquidsLife

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This is the order of importance...

1. Board scores
2. Class Rank
3. Research
4. other stuff to separate you from everybody else with good boards, class rank, and research (graduate school, military experience, etc...)
5. Personality (at the interview)
 

edyizme

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I met with the Navy recruiter a few days ago coming in very skeptical about the whole deal but I guess she did a great job b/c I came out of there pretty amazed at the Navy benefits and the possible experiences I can have. However, I realize that what she told me is a bit biased and that she may have left some very important things out, so thank you, Squidlife, for sharing your experiences. There's almost no "insider" info about the dental corps to be found on the internet!

Anyway, my question right now is: If you do the AEGD, GPR, or any other dental residency, do they add on a year for every year of residency? I was not aware of this but heard this somewhere. Can you tell me if it's true?
 
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SquidsLife

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I met with the Navy recruiter a few days ago coming in very skeptical about the whole deal but I guess she did a great job b/c I came out of there pretty amazed at the Navy benefits and the possible experiences I can have. However, I realize that what she told me is a bit biased and that she may have left some very important things out, so thank you, Squidlife, for sharing your experiences. There's almost no "insider" info about the dental corps to be found on the internet!

Anyway, my question right now is: If you do the AEGD, GPR, or any other dental residency, do they add on a year for every year of residency? I was not aware of this but heard this somewhere. Can you tell me if it's true?

You'll owe a minimum of 3 years if you do a residency on the Navy's dime. However, if you get the deferment (because of specialization training when applying while in dental school) then it's on your dime so you you only owe your initial obligation. I believe the deferment does not work with a GPR or AEGD but i'm not too sure. Always press this issue with the recruiter....it's to their advantage to play dumb about certain things....you're just quota filler to them!

Also, make sure you do the GI Bill. I declined to do it because someone told me "hey, if you're just going to get out and not specialize than why let them take out all that money". Well, now that i'm specializing I wish I had the
$$ I put in and the $$ the Navy put in from the GI Bill to help pay for my post-grad education.
I got some bad advice...so young..so foolish:(
 

Tooth

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I met with the Navy recruiter a few days ago coming in very skeptical about the whole deal but I guess she did a great job b/c I came out of there pretty amazed at the Navy benefits and the possible experiences I can have. However, I realize that what she told me is a bit biased and that she may have left some very important things out, so thank you, Squidlife, for sharing your experiences. There's almost no "insider" info about the dental corps to be found on the internet!

Anyway, my question right now is: If you do the AEGD, GPR, or any other dental residency, do they add on a year for every year of residency? I was not aware of this but heard this somewhere. Can you tell me if it's true?

My HPSP contract specifically says that if I want to do an AEGD or GPR, they will be counted as a neutral year. That is, no year accrued but no year added. That is also only for the Navy's AEGD/GPR not just any old one anywhere.

I have a question about the FAP program. Can we do that program after doing the HPSP or is it just for those who didn't do the HPSP?
 

Tooth

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Also, make sure you do the GI Bill. I declined to do it because someone told me "hey, if you're just going to get out and not specialize than why let them take out all that money". Well, now that i'm specializing I wish I had the
$$ I put in and the $$ the Navy put in from the GI Bill to help pay for my post-grad education.
I got some bad advice...so young..so foolish:(

I never understood this topic at OIS. I always thought that the GI Bill was just for the enlisted guys. Even though I became an officer through direct commission, can I still qualify? Can I seriously have a specialty residency covered through the GI Bill? If so, that seems like more incentive to do a residency after getting out of the military, especially since many residencies are charging these days. Tell me more.
 

shamrock2006

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as far as the AEGD/GPR's are concerned.....my dentist was telling me not to do them. He did 2 yrs w/ the Navy (late 70's) and was stationed somewhere that had a bunch of specialists and he really got to do/see a lot. I dont know if he's just trying to cut my payback short b/c he really wants me in his practice (which he does...and assuming he's around for 8 more yrs). but according to him doing that residency really wont make that much of a difference...that still you are going to get the bulk of your education when you are out practicing. I'm going w/ the USAF, not the Navy..but I would assume that you'd get ample experience just coming out and practicing right? I only say this b/c I have family in the AF..and according to them...not every base has a dental clinic..they have them at the bigger ones...not the little ones where you only have a few hundred people stationed so you are bound to get the experience you are looking for. I hope my dentist was telling the truth and doesnt have some hidden agenda...i mean if i knew for certain he would still be there in 8 yrs...i'd def. not do it
 

shamrock2006

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The AEGD and GPR residencies just give you an added year of more complex cases. It helps in the sense that before you get thrown into action as the dentist in charge of your skills, you get a little more training and guidance. I am not sure about the Navy, but the Air Force has an AEGD2 program as well as the AEGD. The AEGD2 is for more experienced dentists, but I believe a few dentists have gone through it out of dental school. I had the opportunity to assist and do some training with the residents at Lackland Air Force Base in the AEGD2, Endo and Pros residency programs. I was impressed with the quality of the education and the complexity of the cases they were able to treat.

By having the additional training, you can feel a little more comfortable in treating complex cases if you are stationed where there are no specialists available.

If you are planning on makign a career out of the military, I would advise doing the AEGD or GPR. If you are just in for 4 and out, then you need to figure out what is best for you.


thats the thing...there's a lot of uncertainty right now. If i knew for a fact my dentist would be there 8 yrs from now...knowing the type of practice he has, the fact that it's in my hometown (which sucks but the practice booms and he lives in a great area)...i would def. put in my 4 yrs and go. but I dont know that.....I know the more education you get cant hurt you...I've been thinking that i'll just do as well as I can so that I have options open to me (i.e. USAF AEGD program) and then see what happens. But it is good to hear that the AF offers good education...I actually want to get stationed at Lackland...I love texas, its a HUGE base so ur bound to be busy w/ patients...the best of all worlds! thanks a bunch!
 

SquidsLife

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If you're planning on being a GP in private practice, then do an AEGD, not a GPR...you'll gain more valuable experience in an AEGD.

If you feel you're up to speed in all aspects of general dentistry, then forget the AEGD. So....

Can you prep a quadrant of two surface restorations in an hour?
Can you finish a molar endo, post and core in 1 - 1.5 hours?
Are you confident and experienced enough to handle all types of extractions?
Do you feel you can handle subluxations of #8 and #9 with secondary soft tissue lacerations?

An AEGD will get you up to speed, work closely with specialists so they can give you guidance on treatment decisions, and build your confidence. It's not for everybody but I think it's a great benefit.

It also puts you behind the curve compared to your fellow dental officers who did do an AEGD or GPR when it comes time for promotion opportunities.

Oh yeah, you'll also get 250 CE toward your fellowship in the AGD!
 

walangij

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Does the military regard all specialization valid for military purposes? I really would love to do the HSPS in the Army, but my plans are to specialize in Pediatric Dentistry. I don't know if the Army would approve of this, would they actually have much use for that or do you think I should do a civilian program after payback (but I might like a career in the military too)?
 

SquidsLife

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It's just a level of achievement for you as a general dentist....another couple of initials to put after your name.

This is from the AGD website...

"Become an AGD Fellow If you're seeking the best opportunity to distinguish yourself professionally through quality continuing education, consider Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry. Attaining Fellowship is a rigorous process that requires three years of membership in the AGD, passing an exam and culminates with your receiving an award at the convocation ceremony held each year at the Annual Meeting & Exposition."

Basically, after 3-5 years of membership, 500 CE hours and passing the exam, you become a Fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry (FAGD). Not something I'll be pursuing anymore since i'm going the ortho route but if i was still a general dentist, i'd do it.
 

SquidsLife

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Does the military regard all specialization valid for military purposes? I really would love to do the HSPS in the Army, but my plans are to specialize in Pediatric Dentistry. I don't know if the Army would approve of this, would they actually have much use for that or do you think I should do a civilian program after payback (but I might like a career in the military too)?

There's a need for military pediatric dentists for our service members families overseas. You can forget about being stateside as a pediatric dentist in the military unless you end up at Bethesda (again, navy perspective only).

Not sure what you mean by "does the military regard all specialization valid". All specializations are recognized but the only one i can think that the military doesn't really have a real use for is public health. The military actually has their own specialization called comprehensive dentistry (there's also operative dentistry and exodontia too). I personally don't really hold these in high regard and it isn't recognized as a specialty in the civilian world but they do get you more $$ in the military.
 

walangij

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To clear things up, when I said "all specializations valid", I was just reinforcing the question about the pediatric speciality. I should have stated it clearly from the get go. So I assume that there is a military specialization program for it. Glad to find out that there's a need for Pediatric dentists overseas and I assume that this need expands into both the Air force and Army bases abroad.

Just to figure out the timeline though, would it look like:
4 years dental school--->3 years specialization for Pediatric---->4 years payback (likely spent overseas)

and then I can start accumulating years for retirement? (the timeline assuming that I get accepted into the specialization right after dental school [is that possible?])

or would a timeline be more like:

4 years dental school--->1st tour---> 3 years specialization ---> 4 years payback minus 1st tour?
 

SquidsLife

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To clear things up, when I said "all specializations valid", I was just reinforcing the question about the pediatric speciality. I should have stated it clearly from the get go. So I assume that there is a military specialization program for it. Glad to find out that there's a need for Pediatric dentists overseas and I assume that this need expands into both the Air force and Army bases abroad.

Just to figure out the timeline though, would it look like:
4 years dental school--->3 years specialization for Pediatric---->4 years payback (likely spent overseas)

and then I can start accumulating years for retirement? (the timeline assuming that I get accepted into the specialization right after dental school [is that possible?])

or would a timeline be more like:

4 years dental school--->1st tour---> 3 years specialization ---> 4 years payback minus 1st tour?

You can apply for a Pedo specialty during your 3rd year in dental school. However, you must request deferment of your scholarship and there must be a current need for pedo. You'll then go to school on your own dime and pay back your 3-4 years after your done.

If you're applying after your 1st tour, the Navy will usually select 2 dentists among the dozens of applicants for out-service specialty training. The navy pays for it and you'll owe 3 years payback on top of what you already owe.

so, both of your "timeline"s are correct depending on which route you choose.
 

shamrock2006

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It's just a level of achievement for you as a general dentist....another couple of initials to put after your name.

This is from the AGD website...

"Become an AGD Fellow If you're seeking the best opportunity to distinguish yourself professionally through quality continuing education, consider Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry. Attaining Fellowship is a rigorous process that requires three years of membership in the AGD, passing an exam and culminates with your receiving an award at the convocation ceremony held each year at the Annual Meeting & Exposition."

Basically, after 3-5 years of membership, 500 CE hours and passing the exam, you become a Fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry (FAGD). Not something I'll be pursuing anymore since i'm going the ortho route but if i was still a general dentist, i'd do it.


this AGD sounds awesome, like it could really help you not only w/ the military but if you come out could really really up your credentials. How easy is it to go through all of that when you are doing your payback though? Say if this fellowship is something I wanted to do...would it be better to do that AEGD? or just stick w/ the 4 yrs of payback?
 

Lesley

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this AGD sounds awesome, like it could really help you not only w/ the military but if you come out could really really up your credentials. How easy is it to go through all of that when you are doing your payback though? Say if this fellowship is something I wanted to do...would it be better to do that AEGD? or just stick w/ the 4 yrs of payback?

I joined the AGD on my commanding officer's excellent suggestion. When you are in the military you are afforded a lot of continuing ed opportunities. If you are a member of the AGD while you are in the military all of these credits go towards your fellowship. You can continue membership when you get out and continue to earn credits. When you reach 500 or before you can take the fellowship exam. It's all day as I remember it. (It seemed like two, but I took it quite a while ago!) It's not too difficult, and the passing grade is very reasonable. There are different sections and you get a grade for each one, but as I recall the grades are averaged together for a passing score, something like 70. It's nice to be able to put FAGD after your name. I would join the AGD as early as possible so that you can count every credit toward fellowship. If you are interested, after you receive your fellowship, you can pursue a MAGD "mastership?" I was never interested to go that far. At the fellowship ceremony held during the annual meetings, you'll get to wear a cap and gown again and receive a diploma! It's fun and worthwhile. Also, the AGD serves as record keeping for all the courses you have taken. So, when you go to renew your license and need information about your courses, you can contact them and they will forward you, by fax, e-mail or snail mail, your course list, including the category, number of credits and dates. Good Luck.
 

Lesley

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I just wanted to add that doing a general practice residency while you are in the military would be beneficial. I didn't do one per say, but because our base was large and we had a specialist on base in every speciality and we had a lot of young lieutenants and a commanding officer who cared, he rotated all of us around all the specialities for a period of time. We each spent significant one-on-one time with the specialists. Each specialist had some required reading which they reviewed with us. We were then allowed to perform procedures in their speciality under their direction. The AGD is also great, but fellowship is not necessarily the same kind of hands on experience. Fellowship won't give you the same clinical experience that rotations in the military will unless you specifically choose hands on courses. Both the military and the AGD are beneficial, but the rotations in the military were an invaluable experience. The specialists I had the opportunity to learn from really knew their stuff. Very Best Wishes.
 
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