Dental Education History
The dental units at Fort Gordon prior to 1974 had only one mission--dental care for the soldiers. In 1974 a one-year General Dentistry Training Program was started at Tingay Dental Clinic and the new alternate dental education mission begun. This one-year program continued until 1981.
The one-year clinical portion of the Endodontic Training Program began at Tingay Dental Clinic in 1975 and continued until 1978. In 1982 a complete two-year Endodontic Training Program began and has grown from two residents in 1982 to eight residents in 1998.
The two-year Periodontic Training Program also began in 1982 with three residents and grew to as many as twelve residents in 1986. The program was previously located at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. In 1992 the Periodontal Program was expanded to a three-year program with plans for 3-4 new residents each year.
The two-year Prosthodontic Training Program was established in 1988 with three residents. The program was previously located at Letterman Army Medical Center, Presidio, California. The program expanded to a three-year program beginning 1 July 1996, with up to twelve residents.
The three-year Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Training Program at Dwight David Eisenhower Army Medical Center (DDEAMC) began with one resident in 1979, and by 1988 had expanded to a four-year program with four residents.
All of the programs are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation and the United States Department of Education.
The Army's educational programs are constantly improving through a dynamic reevaluation process. All of the Army's Endodontic and Periodontic Training Programs were eventually consolidated and each co-located at Tingay Dental Clinic, Fort Gordon, Georgia. With the addition of the Prosthodontic Training Program in 1988, the tri-wing design of Tingay Dental Clinic proved to be the ideal setting for the combined programs forming the new Postgraduate Dental Training Programs.
The DENTAC Commander served as the Director of Dental Education until 1991. At that time, a separate Director of Dental Education duty-position was established and a 63B, Comprehensive Dentistry Specialist, was selected. A 63B was also assigned as Officer-In-Charge at Tingay Dental Clinic to facilitate the administrative and supply needs of the three teaching programs. Both 63B's attended the routine dental mission of the clinic as well as provided advanced restorative support for the residencies. In 1995, the Director of Dental Education and OIC duties were consolidated.
Residents in each training program are involved in extensive research projects. These projects have resulted in over 60 publications in major dental journals since 1982. In addition to articles published by residents, numerous publications have been authored by the mentors and staff doctors while working with the programs.
Especially noteworthy are the clinical developments and research accomplishments in the area of Implant Dentistry. Dr. P.I. Branemark has personally commended the implant developments by the Army Dental Corps as representing the cutting-edge of implant techniques.
It's of great benefit that the Postgraduate Dental Training Programs are located on Fort Gordon with the DDEAMC, a major medical postgraduate teaching facility. DDEAMC offers outstanding training support to the programs through medical department rotations, audio-visual, library, supply, and maintenance support. The Department of Clinical Investigation, DDEAMC, provides outstanding support for the many research projects of the residents. Additional support for medical rotations is provided for Periodontic residents in the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Augusta, Georgia
The Fort Gordon DENTAC has also been at the forefront in the development and use of teledentistry technology and distance learning. Dentists anywhere in the world have the ability to consult with the specialists working at Tingay Dental Clinic. The technology also allows the staff to conduct videoteleconferences and continuing education seminars to a large number of people at widely scattered locations.
All the residencies continue to utilize the latest advancements in technology and techniques. Some examples include the use of microscopes in endodontics, the use of lasers in surgery, the increase in the utilization of implants, computers and automation support, and the use of digital radiography.
The Endodontics Department sponsors a 3-1/2 day course in endodontics annually and is open to active duty as well as civilian practitioners. The Periodontics and Prosthodontics Departments have recently combined efforts to co-sponsor a 4-1/2 day course. Both courses rely on civilian consultants, mentors and residents to provide comprehensive and timely instruction in their specialties.
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.