Advanced Education Program in Periodontics
- The US Army Advanced Education Program in Periodontics is a three-year postdoctoral graduate program accredited by the Council on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association. This advanced education program leading to specialty certification in Periodontic is offered by the US Army Dental Activity (DENTAC), Fort Gordon, Georgia. The Program can accommodate 12 residents, four in each of the three years of training. Research training is fully integrated into the program which leads to a Master of Science Degree in Oral Biology awarded by the Uniformed Services University (USU) School of Graduate Studies.
Upon successful completion of their periodontic training, residents will be awarded a certificate of completion and the skill identifier 63D9C by the Office of The Surgeon General of the US Army. Its graduates are recognized as qualified to take the American Board of Periodontology qualifying examination (written) and oral examination
Four full-time, board certified staff periodontists are assigned to the program in addition to two certified dental hygienists and nine dental assistants.
Purpose of the Program
- The primary purpose of this program is to train selected US Army Dental Corps officers in all aspects of Periodontics. Residents learn the background sciences and develop the clinical experiences necessary to select those techniques which meet the biological, physiological, and mechanical requirements for oral rehabilitation. The clinical aspect requires attention to detail, precision, and perfection of various surgical techniques. The interrelation of other clinical specialties with Periodontics using a comprehensive multi-disciplinary approach is emphasized. The didactic phase is presented through formal courses, staff lectures, consultant visits, hospital conferences, library research, literature reviews and seminars. Upon completion of the residency program, the graduate will be a periodontist with in-depth knowledge and proficient skills pertinent to the specialty of periodontics.
Masters Degree Program
- In cooperation with USU, a Masters Degree in Oral Biology is obtained. Currently all periodontic residents are enrolled in this program.
Scope of Training
- In the US Army Advanced Education Program in Periodontics residents are exposed to a broad range of techniques used in both non-surgical and surgical periodontics, thus gaining the background and experience necessary to select those techniques that work best for them and to instruct others in their use. New and improved techniques and materials are evaluated as they are introduced to the dental profession specifically those with applicability to periodontics. In addition, graduate-level basic science courses are provided at the Augusta University, Dental College of Georgia (AU) for the first two years of the program. The core curriculum includes: microbiology, immunology, anatomy, histology, embryology, genetics, biochemistry, oral pathology, pharmacology, physiology, research design/protocol development, and statistics.
First Year of the Program
- After an initial in-processing, all first-year residents complete basic life support, advanced cardiac life support, attend the annual GRU Implant Course, and successfully complete the Fort Gordon Sedation and Physical Diagnosis courses. A significant emphasis of the first half of the first year includes clinical rotations through various services at D.D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center (DDEAMC) including Anesthesia (8 weeks), Internal Medicine (2 weeks), ENT (4 weeks), and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (4 weeks) and Plastic Surgery (2 weeks). Graduate-level classes and seminars at AU are attended. Also a periodontal research project in partial fulfillment of a Master of Science degree leading to a thesis and manuscript suitable for publishing in a periodontal or basic sciences journal is initiated during this year. Significant progress on the assigned project is expected. Surgical and non-surgical periodontics are included in the second half of the year to provide background in the broad field of periodontics.
Second Year of the Program
- Upon satisfactory completion of the first year of training, the second is immersed in clinical periodontics. Second-year residents expand on their knowledge and experience in the comprehensive management of the periodontal patient, minimal and moderate sedation, and pain control. The second-year resident assumes a greater degree of responsibility for the examination, diagnosis, and treatment of patients that present with all forms of periodontal diseases. Formal instruction by the staff is provided for all aspects of periodontal care and therapeutic periodontal principles are stressed. Proficiency of basic periodontal skills is required through documented completed cases before more advanced procedures are attempted. It is expected that progressively more complex cases including advanced implant, bone augmentation for site development, and sinus cases will be assigned the second half of the year. A thorough degree of skill and aptitude in the specialty requires the repeated application of principles learned through the formulation of accurate and practical patient treatment plans. Supervision remains constant through discussion and consultation with the mentor(s). The residents also attend an orthodontic rotation one half day per month. The rotation consists of a lecture followed by treatment of patients requiring orthodontic care (minor tooth movement or forced eruption for site development, for example). The second-year resident is required to present lectures and demonstrations to prepare for assumption of future teaching responsibilities. Upon completion of their research project and thesis defense all requirements are met for the USU Master's Degree in Oral Biology. It is a goal to complete all requirements for the Master's Degree by the end of the second year. From their research each resident is expected to submit a manuscript for publication. Weekly literature seminars, case presentations, and oral pathology seminars, mock board exams, and the annual Periodontics-Prosthodontics Short Course are an integral part of the resident's second year. Residents also attend the annual American Academy of Periodontology meeting.
Third Year of the Program
- The third-year residents conduct a supervised, comprehensive practice of clinical periodontics. All AU and research requirements are completed, so complete attention is shifted to maximizing exposure to clinical periodontics. Through study, teaching, and patient care the third-year resident must demonstrate knowledge at the in-depth level in periodontal diagnosis and treatment planning, non-surgical periodontics, regenerative and resective periodontal surgery, mucogingival surgery, pre-prosthetic surgery, site development, implants, sinus surgery, furcation management and occlusion to enable the resident to successfully challenge the qualifying examination (written) and the oral examination of the American Board of Periodontology. Seminars, conferences, mock board exams, and the orthodontic rotation begun in the second year continue throughout the third year. The third-year resident also assumes the duties and responsibilities of an assistant to the mentors. The third-year residents attend the annual American Academy of Periodontology and present their research at the District VIII Clinical and Basic Science Research Symposium. In addition, they present a lecture at the annual Periodontics-Prosthodontics Short Course. They are assigned additional duties such as Literature Database Coordinator and Periodontal Section Supply Officers. The most senior resident is assigned the title and responsibilities of "Chief Resident".
All four programs are fully accredited by the Council on Accreditation of the American Dental Association and the programs' graduates are recognized as qualified to challenge the American Board examination in their respective specialty.