Postdoctoral education programs

Expand your knowledge with courses that keep you on the cutting edge of dentistry.

Ongoing education for success

Did you know that nearly 40% of all dental school graduates take postdoctoral courses that build on their career goals and interests? As the practice of dentistry becomes more complex, continuing education can be crucial. Explore the tools and perspectives you need to chart your personal course for continuous learning and growth.

Accredited postdoctoral courses

Full-time postdoctoral courses that can help you expand your skills in many areas. Explore course content here to see which programs might be right for you.

Advanced Education in General Dentistry

The Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) program provides advanced training in clinical dentistry and applied basic sciences. It is a planned, sequential postdoctoral training program specifically designed to meet the needs of recent graduates who want to enhance their skills as general practitioners. The program is an advanced supplement to the predoctoral dental curriculum, not a continuation of that training. The majority of AEGD programs are one year. Several programs offer two-year positions with a primary objective of training academic professionals.

The major distinction between the AEGD and GPR programs is the emphasis that the AEGD program places on clinical dentistry in contrast to the emphasis on medical management in the GPR program.

The specific objectives of the program are to enhance competence and confidence in the various clinical disciplines that are integral components of dentistry. AEGD graduates should have a broader base of knowledge and experience to facilitate judgments in diagnosis, treatment planning and decision-making during treatment. Completion of an AEGD program can help to better prepare the dentist to evaluate patients' total oral health needs, provide a full range of general dental care, and refer patients, when indicated, to appropriate specialists. The AEGD program also increases the understanding of practice administration through hands-on experience in this area.

Learn more about this field of study from the American Dental Education Association.


Oral medicine

These are educational programs designed to provide training beyond the level of pre-doctoral education in oral health care, using applied basic and behavioral sciences. They are designed to expand the scope and depth of the graduates' knowledge and skills to enable them to provide comprehensive oral health care to a wide range of population groups. Education in these programs is based on the concept that oral health is an integral and interactive part of total health.

These programs prepare graduates to act as a primary care provider for individuals with chronic, recurrent and medically related disorders of the oral and maxillofacial region and to provide consultative services to physicians and dentists treating patients with chronic, recurrent and medically related disorders of the oral and maxillofacial region. In addition, graduates will be trained to manage the delivery of oral health care by applying concepts of patient and practice management and quality improvement that are responsive to a dynamic health care environment and to function effectively and efficiently in multiple health care environments and within interdisciplinary health care teams.

Learn more about this field of study from the American Academy of Oral Medicine.


Dental anesthesiology

These educational programs are designed to train the dental resident, in the most comprehensive manner, to use pharmacologic and non-pharmacological methods to manage anxiety and pain of adults, children, and patients with special care needs undergoing dental, maxillofacial and adjunctive procedures, as well as to be qualified in the diagnosis and non-surgical treatment of acute orofacial pain and to participate in the management of patients with chronic orofacial pain.

These programs prepare the graduate to deliver anxiety and pain control services for emergency and comprehensive multidisciplinary oral health care and to plan and provide anesthesia-related care for the full range of dental patients, including patients with special needs. In addition, graduates will be prepared to manage the delivery of oral health care by applying concepts of patient and practice management and quality improvement that are responsive to a dynamic health care environment. The training will prepare graduates to function effectively within the hospital, dental office, ambulatory surgery center, and other health care environments and within interdisciplinary health care teams.

Learn more from the American Society of Dentist Anesthesiologists.


Orofacial pain

These programs are designed to provide training beyond the level of predoctoral education in oral health care, using applied basic and behavioral sciences to treat patients with orofacial pain. Education is based on the concept that oral health is an integral and interactive part of total health. The programs are designed to expand the scope and depth of the graduates' knowledge and skills to enable them to provide care for individuals with orofacial pain.

These programs prepare the graduate to plan and provide interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary health care for a wide variety of patients with orofacial pain as well as to provide education in orofacial pain relating to the basic mechanisms and the anatomic, physiologic, neurologic, vascular, behavioral and psychosocial aspects of orofacial pain. In addition, graduates will learn to interact with other health care professionals to facilitate the patient's total health care and to manage the delivery of oral health care by applying concepts of patient and practice management and quality improvement that are responsive to a dynamic health care environment. Graduates of these programs will be able to function effectively and efficiently in multiple health care environments and within interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary health care teams and will be trained to encourage the development of multidisciplinary teams composed of basic scientists and clinicians from appropriate disciplines to study orofacial pain conditions, to evaluate current therapeutic modalities and to develop new and improve upon existing procedures for diagnosis and treatment or management of such conditions, diseases and syndromes.

Learn more about this field of study from the American Academy of Orofacial Pain.


Endodontics

Endodontics is the branch of dentistry which is concerned with the morphology, physiology and pathology of the human dental pulp and periradicular tissues. Its study and practice encompass the basic and clinical sciences including biology of the normal pulp, the etiology, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases and injuries of the pulp and associated periradicular conditions. In addition, these specialists are involved in the use of magnification modalities and non-surgical and surgical endodontics treatment and retreatment.

Most programs offer two or three years of advanced training, which leads to a certificate or Master of Science degree in Endodontics.

Learn more about this field of study from the American Association of Endodontists.


Dental public health

Dental public health is the science and art of preventing and controlling dental diseases and promoting dental health through organized community efforts. It is that form of dental practice which serves the community as a patient rather than the individual. It is concerned with the dental health education of the public, with applied dental research, and with the administration of group dental care programs as well as the prevention and control of dental diseases on a community basis.

Most programs are dental public health residency programs that require a Master's in Public Health (MPH) degree or equivalent degree prior to admission. A MPH degree is usually earned at a School of Public Health, though equivalent programs are offered in some medical schools and health science centers. Graduate studies may be concentrated in health policy and administration, epidemiology, biostatistics, health behavior and education. Dentists and hygienists may enroll in most MPH programs.

Dental Public Health residency programs, based in academic and health department settings, are available to dentists who have completed a MPH degree program and desire applied, supervised field experience.

Learn more about this field of study from the American Association of Public Health Dentistry.


General practice residency programs
The General Practice Residency (GPR) program is designed for advanced clinical and didactic training in general dentistry with intensive hospital experience at the postdoctoral level. GPR programs provide instruction and experience in the delivery of care to a wide range of ambulatory and hospitalized patients. This training and exposure prepares dentists to obtain privileges at local hospitals once in private practice. Most GPR programs are sponsored by either a hospital or a hospital affiliated institution such as a dental school.

Like the AEGD programs, the demand for GPRs has increased. GPR programs can be one or two years in length, the majority being one year. Both AEGD and GPR award a post-graduate certificate upon completion. Fellowships are sometimes available to serve as a third non-accredited year of training in a specific field of interest. GPR residents rotate through a variety of services including general medicine, general surgery and anesthesiology. Each program also includes advanced training and clinical experience in preventive dentistry, periodontics, restorative dentistry, endodontics, and oral surgery. Training in orthodontics and pediatric dentistry is desirable but not mandatory for GPR programs. The majority of the resident's experience is gained in the direct delivery of oral health care to ambulatory patients. The remaining time may be spent in the operating room involved with inpatient services, as well as the emergency room. Time is also devoted to non-dental services, such as lectures, conferences, and seminars.

Learn more about this field of study from the Special Care Dentistry Association.



Oral and maxillofacial radiology
Oral and maxillofacial radiology is the specialty of dentistry and discipline of radiology concerned with the production and interpretation of images and data produced by all modalities of radiant energy that are used for the diagnosis and management of diseases, disorders and conditions of the oral and maxillofacial region.

Graduate training programs produce oral and maxillofacial radiology specialists for positions of responsibility in institutions of higher dental education, research, or in the private practice setting. Participants gain experience in oral and maxillofacial radiologic practice; acquire background information in radiation physics, biology, and protection; and enhance their teaching and research skills. Length of programs must be a minimum of 24 months full-time or its equivalent. Several programs offer the opportunity to obtain Ph.D. training in a related discipline.


Learn more about this field of study from the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology.



Oral and maxillofacial pathology
Oral pathology is the specialty of dentistry and discipline of pathology that deals with the nature, identification, and management of diseases affecting the oral and maxillofacial regions. It is a science that investigates the causes, processes, and effects of these diseases. The practice of oral pathology includes research and diagnosis of diseases using clinical, radiographic, microscopic, biochemical, or other examinations.

The oral pathologist acquires diagnostic and treatment skills through completion of a three year specialty training program. Many programs are also affiliated with hospitals. Graduates from these programs obtain either a certificate and/or a Master of Science degree in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology.

Learn more about this field of study from the Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology.

Oral and maxillofacial surgery

Oral and maxillofacial surgery is the specialty of dentistry which includes the diagnosis, surgical and adjunctive treatment of diseases, injuries and defects involving both the functional and esthetic aspects of the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons will study the four major surgery areas defined in the training standards: 1) trauma 2) pathology 3) orthognathic surgery and 4) reconstructive surgery. A DDS or DMD degree from an accredited dental education program are among the entrance requirements for OMS programs. Currently the minimum requirement for OMS training is four years. An additional two to four years may be spent obtaining a joint MD or a PhD degree, depending on individual career goals.

Also there are accredited programs for fellowship training (a fellowship is a post-residency experience focused on a specific area) available in oral and maxillofacial surgery.

Learn more about this field of study from the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.


Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics

Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics is the dental specialty that includes the diagnosis, prevention, interception, and correction of malocclusion, as well as neuromuscular and skeletal abnormalities of the developing or mature orofacial structures.

Most programs are two or three years in length and offer a certificate and some offer an advanced degree option coupled with the certificate. Several programs offer a combined MS/PhD option. Most programs balance didactic, clinical, and research components. Training is also required in applied and radiographic anatomy, biomechanics, physics, biostatistics, research design, orthodontic technique, diagnosis, treatment planning, growth and development. Clinical experience is often supplemented by participation with interdisciplinary teams that provide care to patients with cleft palate and related craniofacial anomalies.

Learn more about this field of study from the American Association of Orthodontists.


Pediatric dentistry
Pediatric Dentistry is an age-defined specialty that provides both primary and comprehensive preventive and therapeutic oral health care for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health care needs. Pediatric dentists are dedicated to improving the oral health of infants, children, adolescents and patients with special health care needs.

All programs offer a certificate in the pediatric dental specialty, which is a necessary credential to practice and pursue board certification in the specialty. Approximately half the programs offer master's degrees, which are awarded for completion of a university sanctioned research program. Program length must be a minimum of 24 months of full-time formal training. Due to the ever increasing knowledge on the topic, there is a trend in program length extension. Some trainees combine graduate study in pediatric dentistry with other postdoctoral studies, such as a master's degree program in oral biology or public health. Other trainees pursue doctoral training in a basic science.

Learn more about this field of study from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the Southwestern Society of Pediatric Dentistry.



Periodontics

Periodontics is that specialty of dentistry which encompasses the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth or their substitutes and the maintenance of the health, function and esthetics of these structures and tissues.

Most programs are three years in length and offer a certificate. Other advanced degrees may be coupled with the certificate program, either on an optional or required basis upon completion of the program. In fact, by accreditation requirement, periodontic programs must be three consecutive academic years with a minimum of 30 months of instruction. The graduate training includes the basic biological sciences and clinical procedures. Many of the training programs have significant research activities associated with the curriculum.

Learn more about this field of study from the American Academy of Periodontology.


Prosthodontics

Prosthodontics is the dental specialty pertaining to the diagnosis, treatment planning, rehabilitation and maintenance of the oral function, comfort, appearance and health of patients with clinical conditions associated with missing or deficient teeth and/or oral and maxillofacial tissues using biocompatible substitutes.

Maxillofacial Prosthetics is an option that graduates of a prosthodontic training program may wish to pursue. Maxillofacial prosthetics training equips the prosthodontist with the skills to meet the needs of certain medically compromised patients. For example, patients who require surgical resection of diseased facial bones and/or portions of the mouth are fitted with prostheses to replace these tissues or structures. Maxillofacial prosthodontists design and construct these more intricate appliances, which may also include prostheses to replace a missing ear, eye, or nose. Frequently, this specialist performs part of the practice within the hospital setting.

Most prosthodontics training programs are located in dental schools, hospitals, or government service facilities. Some programs are clinically focused, while others are focused on research. The preferred program places equal emphasis on fixed and removable prosthodontics, and includes some experience in maxillofacial prosthodontics. All accredited prosthodontics programs will be a minimum of 33 months in length. Some programs offer a certificate in prosthodontics; many offer both the certificate and the Master of Science degree.

Most maxillofacial prosthetics programs are one year in length, and based at dental schools or hospitals. Applicants must have successfully completed a training program in Prosthodontics.

Learn more about this field of study from the Academy of Prosthodontics, the American College of Prosthodontists and the American Prosthodontic Society.


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