Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
See below for frequently asked questions.
Q: What is the Hospital like here?
A: The Birmingham VA Medical Center is a 313-bed acute tertiary care facility located in the historic Southside district of the city. The facility provides acute tertiary medical and surgical care to veterans of Alabama and surrounding states. We provide health care services to eligible veterans in the VA Southeast Network Veterans Integrated Service Network [VISN 7].
The medical center serves as a referral center for this population area with 136 operating beds currently. Recent construction provides state-of-the-art facilities and equipment in all clinical programs. Care is provided in practically all medical and surgical specialties and subspecialties. Most staff physicians have joint appointments with VA and its primary affiliation, University of Alabama at Birmingham. The BVAMC operates eight Community Based Outpatient Clinics in North Alabama.
Q: What is the length of the program?
A: 12 months (July 1 to June 30)
Q: Does a general dentist cover clinic for specialty procedures?
A: A staff Endodontist, Periodontist, Oral Surgeon, and 3 Prosthodontists cover specialty procedures. There are 3 full time General Dentists involved with resident training and available for consults and instruction, who may cover procedures within their approved privileges.
Q: Do residents do cleanings on their own patients?
A: Rarely on their comprehensive care patients. There are hygienists that support the residents and staff dentists for other cases.
Q: What materials and supplies are available in the residency?
A: We do have standardized materials but we order materials so that residents can try out new products in the residency before they go to the private sector. A nearly complete list of materials is available, but a few products include: Filtek Supreme Ultra, Beautifil Giomers, Activa Bioactive – Restorative, Panavia, Rely-X: luting, Calibra and Unicem cements, Aquasil and Regisil PVS products, etc… If there is a certain product desired, a request can be submitted.
Q: Are there dental assistants available for the residents?
A: Yes. Each resident is assigned an assistant and operatory daily. Assistant duties include set-up and clean-up, as well as helping with scheduling patients, among other things.
Q: How often are the AEGD residents on call for emergencies after hours?
A: Our AEGD residents do not participate in emergency after hours call here at the Birmingham VA Medical Center.
Q: On average how many dental implants do residents place?
A: Residents typically place between 30-40 implants during the program.
Q: What other certifications are available?
A: Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certification is taught at the beginning of the year.
Q: How many hours do you work per week? Not just clinic time but studying also?
A: Official Hours are 7:30 am to 4:00 pm, but there are some lectures during clinic hours- average 60 hours per week – including studying and projects- lab work/cases. At the beginning of the year there is much more studying to get you ready for the kind of procedures done in clinic – ie, surgeries, ACLS course, full mouth rehabs, etc. Some lab work will be needed on your part as well as some on call duty.
Q: How much of your own lab work do you do? Do you use an outside lab?
A: It is required that you mount your cases for proper planning, that you do mounted diagnostic wax ups of rehabilitation cases and implant cases as well. You are responsible for mounting your own lab cases for presentations to staff and patients. You are responsible for implant stents, die trimming, prosthodontic surveying and design. Also, provisionals can be milled for fixed prosthodontic cases. The rest of the lab work is done in house or at Central Dental Lab or at local contract lab. We have good results with all our labs.
Q: What is the pediatric experience like?
A: Due to patient population, this is limited to lectures and / or outside rotations that may address that area of Dentistry.
Q: What are the strengths and weaknesses of the program regarding procedures?
A: Strengths = prosthodontics, implants, endodontics, oral surgery, and digital dentistry.
Weaknesses = no pediatric patients, Limited trauma patients and very limited orthodontic exposure.
Q: How much aesthetic dentistry do you do? Veneers? All porcelain crowns? Etc…
A: There is a substantial amount – if the patient is a good candidate for the procedure. The Prosthodontics section is always available for consultations.
Q: Can your patients afford the best work or are you always dealing with payment and Medicare limitations?
A: There are no charges at the VA-if the patient is eligible for dental care. This decreases no-show rate and increases good clinical experiences. There is no shortage of treatment availability.
Q: Is there parking for residents?
A: There are assigned lots for parking for all doctors and staff. The VA provides a free shuttle to and from the parking decks.