Does it Matter that My Dentist Did (or Didn’t) Complete a Residency Program?


You have probably heard about residency programs for doctors following their completion of medical school. But are you familiar with residency programs for dentists? Probably not, and that may be because it is not a required step toward becoming a dentist in most states. Therefore, not all dentists complete one. But dentists who choose to take this extra step with an advanced education through either a “General Practice Residency” (GRP) or a “Advanced Education in General Dentistry” (AEGD) offer much more care and expertise to their patients.

So, what does a residency program offer a dentist (and ultimately, their patients)?

  • Improved competency
  • Improved confidence
  • Additional knowledge

More specifically, residency programs give aspiring dentists a chance to develop their efficiency, accuracy, maturity, and grants them more experience beyond what they learned in dental school. They are given additional time and practice in handling advanced oral surgical procedures, implants, advanced dental procedures, special needs patients, and emergencies. Most of these programs are taught in a semi-private, practice setting, unlike dental schools, so they can really hone their expertise.

Following her graduation from the Medical College of Virginia School of Dentistry, Dr. Mary Lewis knew she wanted to continue her education to become the best possible dentist to her patients. She was accepted to the prestigious UNC Chapel Hill Dental Residency program – the top ranking program in the country. There she worked in the UNC Hospital dental clinic on many medically compromised patients, rotating through the ER, OR, and Oral Surgery departments as well as the local Veterans Affairs medical center in Fayetteville, NC.

As noted on the UNC School of Dentistry website, their program serves to “train dental residents to deliver humanistic and comprehensive dental care as part of a health team, with full consideration of the patient’s medical, psychosocial and dental needs.”

Choosing a residency program shaped Dr. Lewis into a better dentist. Considering that most dentists do not complete this additional 1-2 years of education, Dr. Lewis is better suited to handle her patients’ needs, no matter what their circumstance may be.

Find out for yourself why choosing a dentist who has completed a residency program makes a difference, and schedule your next dental exam today by calling VB Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, conveniently located off Great Neck Road in Virginia Beach: (757) 631-9200.