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Your Path to Excellence: Advanced Education at the CU School of Dental Medicine

A guide to the General Practice Residency, Graduate Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics Residency, and Graduate Periodontics Residency Programs.

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Written by Laura Ramsey on November 2, 2023

Dentists may choose to enroll in advanced programs for several reasons, each contributing to their professional growth and enhancing their ability to provide exceptional dental care. These programs offer dentists the opportunity to specialize in a particular field, expand their skillset, access new career paths, and find personal and professional fulfillment. 

The University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine (CU SDM) offers three advanced education programs: General Practice Residency, Graduate Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics Residency, and Graduate Periodontics Residency. 


General Practice Residency Program  

The General Practice Residency (GPR) Program offers an intensive 12-month postgraduate journey designed to boost your skills, experience and confidence in providing top-tier care. Whether you're serving the general public or caring for medically complex and special needs patients, our program equips you to excel in both outpatient and hospital settings. 

Each year, the GPR program welcomes six first-year residents, and for those who crave even more experience, there's the option for a second-year position as chief resident. We use a holistic review process, taking into account applicants’ academic credentials, national board scores, practical experience, community engagement, recommendation letters and exclusive interviews to identify the most promising candidates.  

“We have the most amazing residents,” said GPR Program Director Sheila Stille, DMD. “They work together to help each other be the best they can be. Our faculty and staff dedicate all their time and energy to help the residents succeed.” 

The GPR experience is well-rounded, encompassing rotations at various locations on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus and in the community. During rotations, residents gain exposure to a wide range of dental specialties and perform complex dental procedures in areas such as endodontics, periodontics, oral surgery, anesthesia, emergency medicine, hospital medicine, as well as fixed, removable, and implant prosthodontics.  

At the CU SDM, we believe in learning together and enriching each other's experiences. That's why each GPR resident is paired with a graduate periodontal resident. This partnership not only ensures the proper handling of cases but also exposes you to a wider variety of scenarios within the one-year GPR experience. This also allows for continuity of care for our patients.  


Graduate Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics Residency Program  

The Graduate Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics Residency Program spans 30 months of full-time, active residency. This program offers a comprehensive educational experience, with a significant focus on hands-on clinical training, ensuring that students stay up-to-date with the latest techniques and practices in the field.  

The admissions process is holistic, considering a range of factors with a particular emphasis on academic achievements, service, research contributions, class rank, and select interview invitations. Twelve residents are accepted each year. Notably, in 2023, the school welcome its first-ever all-female orthodontic residency class.  

Clinical emphasis is placed on the use of contemporary edgewise appliances in conjunction with functional and other orthopedic appliances to address the orthodontic needs of patients of all ages, including children, adolescents and adults. This encompasses both routine orthodontic treatments and orthognathic surgery.  

Graduate Orthodontics Program Director and Associate Professor (C/T) Gerald Minick, DDS, MSD, MS, was in the very first class of orthodontic residents when the program started in 2004. He said, “Our faculty are not only very capable and successful orthodontists, but they're very good at being inclusive to the residents. And the residents are pretty amazing people; they put a lot of effort into making the program a continued success.”  

He also said our program is “just the right size: big enough that you get a wide variety of experiences and you develop a good friendship network amongst colleagues, but small enough to encourage personalized learning.”  


Graduate Periodontics Residency Program  

The Graduate Periodontics Residency Program is 36 months long, beginning in July. The number of applicants accepted varies each year based on available positions as well as limitations set by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.  

The program offers a multifaceted approach, leveraging the university’s extensive resources and expert faculty to provide a strong foundation in basic and clinical sciences. This includes topics such as surgical anatomy, cell biology, oral medicine, periodontal literature, a variety of periodontal diagnoses and therapies, research opportunities, IV sedation training, and teaching exposure to develop comprehensive skills and knowledge for residents.  

Upon successful completion, residents receive a Certificate in Periodontics and become eligible to take the American Board of Periodontology examination. A fundamental requirement of the program is a Master of Science in Dentistry degree, which involves preparing and defending a master's thesis.  

The primary objective of the program is to produce exceptional clinical periodontists, proficient in a wide range of procedures and equipped to engage in research, teaching and leadership activities. Our graduates offer the highest quality of care to their patients and contribute to the community and the dental profession.   

“We’re in the business of saving teeth—and replacing missing teeth with dental implants,” said Professor (C/T) and Chair of the Division of Periodontics Sangeetha Chandrasekaran, BDS, MS, MS. “The clinical experience our residents receive is outstanding. Our expert faculty act as collaborators, colleagues and coaches for the residents, offering diverse perspectives and fostering an environment for advanced learning.”  


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Topics: Students, Clinics