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General Practice Residency in Dentistry

VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System’s General Practice Residency is a one-year advanced dental educational program designed to meet the requirements of the Commission on Dental Accreditation. It prepares residents to manage total oral health care by providing instruction and clinical experience in the delivery of care to a wide variety of patients, including those with complex health needs. In a hospital setting, residents develop a thorough understanding of the relationship between oral and systemic health and work closely with other health professionals.

General Practice Residency Dentistry

About the Program

The residency begins on July 1 and ends the following year on June 30. 

Residents practice under the supervision of a dedicated attending staff of seven full-time general dentists, a full-time oral surgeon, full-time prosthodontist, and multiple part-time endodontists and periodontists. In providing comprehensive dental care to Veterans, residents gain clinical exposure to most aspects of general dentistry. 

The program offers advanced experiences in:

  • Endodontics (rotary instrumentation)
  • Periodontal Surgery (socket preservation, crown lengthening)
  • Fixed and Removable Prosthodontics (including digital dentures)
  • Implant Placement and Restoration
  • Oral Surgery (surgical extractions, alveoloplasty, tori removal, flap design, suturing)

Where clinical experiences are not available, such as in pediatrics and orthodontics, a strong didactic curriculum has been developed to supplement learning. Monthly literature reviews and patient care conferences also strengthen residents' decision-making abilities and clinical understanding. 

The required off-service rotations in general medicine and anesthesiology provide further opportunities to work with medically and psychiatrically complex patients. 

VA Pittsburgh emphasizes high-quality, patient-centered care and expects residents to enthusiastically support its mission to serve Veterans as part of an integrated health care team. 

Overall Program Goals

  1. Act as a primary care provider for individuals and groups of patients. This includes providing emergency and multidisciplinary comprehensive oral health care; providing patient-focused care that is coordinated by the general practitioner; and directing health promotion and disease prevention activities.
  2. Plan and provide multidisciplinary oral health care for a wide variety of patients, including patients with special needs.
  3. 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.
  4. Function effectively within a hospital and other health care environments.
  5. Function effectively within interdisciplinary health care teams. 
  6. Apply scientific principles to learning and oral health care. This includes using critical thinking, evidence or outcomes-based clinical decision-making, and technology-based information retrieval systems.
  7. Use the values of professional ethics, lifelong learning, patient-centered care, adaptability and acceptance of cultural diversity in professional practice.
  8. Understand the oral health needs of communities and engage in community service.

Salary and Benefits

  • VA Pittsburgh’s general practice residents (GPRs) receive salary and benefits through the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). The 2024 stipend for GPR PGY 1 is $65,258. Salary determinations are made annually. Residents are paid monthly. 
  • Residents are enrolled in health (including vision and dental), disability and life insurance through UPMC. 
  • UPMC provides hospital malpractice insurance and liability protection for any incident arising out of a resident’s participation in the educational program.

Tour of Duty and Call

  • All staff, including residents, are considered employees of the medical center 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. 
  • Usual clinic hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Hours may vary during rotations or as necessary for academic course work. 
  • Residents receive a total of 17 paid days of annual and sick leave per year in addition to 11 federal holidays. 
  • GPRs rotate on-call duty for one week every fourth week and must respond promptly to their VA issued pager.
  • An oral surgery resident and VA faculty are available for consultation on after-hours emergencies.

Additional Program Information

  • Residents each have their own fully equipped operatory as well as a personal desk and computer in the resident office. 
  • Residents will be assigned a dedicated chairside dental assistant each day. 
  • All operatories are equipped with digital radiography. One panoramic and cone beam CT machine is shared throughout the clinic. All doctors have access to Carestream imaging software for viewing CBCTs and planning implants. 
  • Three full-time laboratory technicians work on site to assist in executing fixed and removable prosthodontic cases. External laboratories are also used. Our digital denture workflow is carried out through VA’s Central Dental Lab. Residents may choose to complete some of their own lab work to expedite cases. 

Application Process

Applicants must: 

  • Apply through ADEA PASS.
  • Be a U.S. citizen.
  • Graduate from a dental school accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Dental Association prior to the July 1 matriculation date.
  • Pass the NDBE (part I and II) or the INDBE by the matriculation date.
  • Be eligible for a U.S. state dental license at the time of entry into the residency. 

No supplemental materials are required. The residency director will contact you if additional materials are needed. 

In-person interviews will be conducted in mid-October.