A residency can be a wonderful opportunity to gain additional experience with complex cases, build your confidence and speed. Dental students who wish to complete a residency in general dentistry must decide whether they would prefer an Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) program or a General Practice Residency (GPR) program. I have asked my colleague, Dr. Arielle Statham, to help differentiate between the two programs so you can decide which is best for you!
What is the difference between an AEGD and GPR?
A GPR is either hospital-based or housed in a clinic that’s adjacent to a hospital. You can expect to be on-call during various intervals, depending on the program. A GPR will provide you the opportunity to rotate through different specialties of dentistry and even medicine. Not only will you get the opportunity to improve your “bread and butter” dental skills, but also experience oral surgery and implantology. You can even assist in the operating room (OR) and rotate through ED.
Generally, GPR programs have more residents per program than AEGD’s. You will be paid a stipend based on what first year medical residents are paid at the hospital. Most GPR programs last one year, with an optional second year, depending on the program.
An AEGD is clinic-based. Many AEGD’s are offered in a school setting, but not all. You are not required to be on-call for most AEGD programs. An AEGD focuses primarily on dentistry and may provide the opportunity to expand your cosmetic dentistry skills. You will be paid less than a GPR, or you may pay tuition.
Both GPR and AEGD programs include academic courses and continued learning. You can also expect to participate in monthly case presentations in both program types. Both programs are led by a program director, and then attendings/faculty will oversee your work.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of an AEGD?
- School setting, more hands-on support
- Less pay, or you pay tuition
- Potential for slower pace than GPR
What are the benefits and drawbacks of a GPR?
- Some programs require you to be on-call A LOT, so do your research!
- Receive a stipend at every GPR
- Holistic experience, not just the mouth
How did you decide which program to attend?
I based my decision on (1) location and (2) program experience. First, I knew I wanted to be in NYC or California. So, I dwindled down my list from this starting point. I also knew I wanted a well-rounded experience, so a GPR seemed like a better fit for me. I did not want to be restricted on what I could and couldn’t do.
What advice would you give someone trying to decide which program is best for him/herself?
Your decision will require some research on residency programs, and also some “soul searching.” Call each program you are interested in to gather information. Ask the program if you can speak with a current resident. If possible, visit! On the other hand, you must also clarify your own preferences: what kind of experience you want, the location, lifestyle, hospital/clinic setting. Ask yourself, “Which environment will enhance my confidence the most?” It may seem like a daunting decision, but remember, it’s only one year! This will not determine your entire career trajectory! You can only learn so much in one year.
What types of questions can a student expect at their residency interview?
Questions will vary from program to program. The more competitive/small programs will ask specific and unique questions. The larger programs tend to gather more general information. Overall, know why you want to attend their program and why you want to do an AEGD or GPR.
How can a student stand out among the competition?
Strong grades, accolades, and community service will help you secure an interview. However, you must work hard to convey who you are and that you truly want to attend their program. This will make all the difference!
I hope you enjoyed my interview with Arielle! Are you interested in an AEGD or GPR residency? How will you decide which one is right for you? Comment below!