VCU Bulletins

Advanced Dental Education

Martha C. Clements
Director, Continuing Education

Office of Continuing Education

For every professional person who serves the health sciences, education must be a lifetime commitment.

Graduation from dental school is the beginning of a lifelong educational experience for the serious, conscientious student of dentistry. Regardless of how well prepared a health professional may be at the time of graduation, the adequate knowledge of yesterday is often insufficient information for today and tomorrow. With the rapid advancements made in dental technology and techniques, the professional must constantly seek new knowledge if the health care provider is to improve the health care given to patients.

Although the majority of continuing education courses are presented at the School of Dentistry, some are offered in other locations. The courses, which vary in length from one to four days, are scheduled throughout the year and consist of a variety of instructional methods from didactic to hands-on participation in clinical programs.

The instructional staff is comprised of faculty from the VCU School of Dentistry, guest lecturers from other dental schools, and members of the dental profession and related professions from the United States and other countries.

Advanced Dental Education programs

The School of Dentistry provides advanced dental education programs in the areas of endodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, and advanced education in general dentistry (AEGD). Satisfactory completion of the program leads to the award of a certificate of training and certifies eligibility for examination by the appropriate specialty board. All programs are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association. Those enrolled in the advanced education programs are full-time resident trainees, considered to be the equivalent of full-time students. Under special circumstances, trainees may be accepted into some programs on a part-time basis.

Students enrolling in endodontics, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry and periodontics also are awarded a Master of Science in Dentistry degree upon completion of the requirements for the certificate and successful defense of a thesis. The certificate program and Master of Science in Dentistry degree must be completed concurrently. See the School of Dentistry Graduate Program for more information on the Master of Science in Dentistry degree program.

Applications for admission should be directed to the director of the appropriate program, School of Dentistry, Virginia Commonwealth University, P.O. Box 980566, Richmond, VA 23298-0566. Successful completion of Part II of the National Board Dental Examination is required prior to admittance to the program.

Advanced Education in General Dentistry

Debra Haselton
Professor and Program Director

The purpose of this 12-month Advanced Dental Education residency program is to provide advanced education and clinical experience to prepare dental school graduates for a career in the practice of comprehensive, general dentistry. This program has a strong emphasis on treatment planning, experience with new technology, developing skills in aesthetic dentistry and restoration of dental implants. Graduates of this program will have attained added competency and confidence in all areas of dental care, practice management and professional responsibility. Further, this program provides residents with meaningful experiences in the delivery of dental care to diverse populations and people at high risk for dental disease. A strong affiliation exists between the School of Dentistry and the statewide Virginia Area Health Education Center (AHEC), whose mission is to increase primary health care in underserved areas. The AEGD program works in concert with AHEC to deliver dental care and recruit/train minority health care providers from health professional shortage areas.

The School of Dentistry is committed to advanced dental education. The residents will receive hands-on experience with diagnostic and therapeutic care of special patient populations in addition to extensive training in the art and science of general dentistry. AEGD residents may be required to participate in off-site clinical experiences outside the city of Richmond, Va. Funds will be provided for travel and lodging when required.

Eligibility and selection

Dentists with the following qualifications are eligible to apply for the AEGD program: Dental graduates from institutions in the United States accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association and who have passed Part I of the National Board Examination.

Selection criteria include: didactic and clinical achievements, extramural experience, interpersonal skills and a demonstrated commitment to pursue a career in general dentistry. Every effort is made to recruit qualified applications from minority dentists and dentists from health professional shortage areas or dentists who profess a desire to serve in these areas. A selection committee consisting of the program director, the assistant dean for admissions, members from specialty areas, former residents and current residents will screen all applications. Using the above-mentioned selection criteria, the most promising applicants will be invited for personal interviews. Trainees and alternates will be selected. This program participates in the Postdoctoral Application Support Service Program. Telephone (804) 828-3601; fax (804) 828-3159; e-mail


Karan Replogle
Professor and Department Chair, Endodontics

The Advanced Dental Education Program in Endodontics offers the student a comprehensive 24-month course of study in clinical, didactic and research endodontics. The program is designed to educate qualified individuals to pursue careers as educators, researchers and practicing clinicians, and meets the educational requirements for limitation of practice to the specialty of endodontics and examination by the American Board of Endodontics. The program is composed of several interrelated phases. The first phase consists of lecture courses that provide the student with a firm biological basis for patient care. The second phase consists of lectures, seminars and clinical training designed to produce clinical mastery of endodontics. The third phase is research experience gained through completion of an individual research project and master’s thesis.

Students completing the program earn a specialty certificate in endodontics and a Master of Science in Dentistry degree. Students must complete the requirements for the master’s degree prior to being awarded the specialty certificate.

The program conforms to the Standards for Advanced Specialty Education in Endodontics and carries a full approval status from the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Robert A. Strauss
Professor and Program Director

The oral and maxillofacial surgery program is designed to provide extensive didactic and clinical experience in all aspects of the specialty. Those who complete training satisfactorily fulfill the prerequisites for examination and certification by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

The didactic portion of the program includes formal courses in oral pathology, anatomy and physical diagnosis, as well as numerous weekly conferences and seminars. Clinical rotations on oral pathology, anesthesia, medicine, surgical oncology, neurosurgery, cardiology, general surgery, emergency room and the trauma services are used to supplement the trainee’s surgical experience. Throughout the program there is a constant correlation of the clinical experience with the biomedical sciences.

Through the multiple clinical and didactic facilities of the VCU Medical Center complex, the McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and St. Mary’s Hospital, there is ample material for education in the latest oral and maxillofacial surgical techniques. The oral and maxillofacial surgery service is responsible for diagnosis and management of diseases and injuries related to the oral and facial region. Trainees are involved in all aspects of treatment including simple and complicated oral surgery, anesthesia and pain control, oral and maxillofacial trauma, preprosthetic surgery, orthognathic surgery, head and neck pathology, oral and maxillofacial reconstruction, temporomandibular joint surgery, laser surgery, cosmetic facial surgery, and microneural and microvascular surgery. During the four years, the trainee assumes ever-increasing responsibilities as time and abilities dictate.

Upon satisfactory completion of the four-year residency, the trainee may earn the Doctor of Medicine degree from the School of Medicine by enrolling in the second and third years of that curriculum.


Bhavna Shroff
Professor and Program Director

The Department of Orthodontics at VCU’s MCV Campus offers a 24-month advanced education in orthodontics and Master of Science in Dentistry program. The program teaches state-of-the-art clinical care in an environment modeled after private orthodontic practice. The curriculum is composed of seminars and small-group instruction with emphasis on critical thinking and problem solving. Contemporary concepts of orthodontic treatment are reviewed for substantive and scientific content. Also included are regularly scheduled orthognathic surgery conferences and seminars with other dental and medical specialists.

The postgraduate program is designed to develop skilled practitioners who are prepared to grow with the future and manage busy orthodontic practices. The goal is not only to familiarize future orthodontists with contemporary techniques but also to teach them how to interpret cutting-edge scientific information and use it to approach clinical challenges logically and practically. Clinical experience consists of a wide variety of orthodontic patients, including complex cases requiring orthognathic surgery and patients with facial clefts and other craniofacial abnormalities. An original research experience is an integral part of the program, with each project intended to produce results suitable for publication in a nationally circulated orthodontic journal. The successful completion of a research project is a requirement of the program. All senior residents present their research at the Virginia Association of Orthodontists meeting. The program qualifies students to take the written portion of the American Board of Orthodontics examination in the senior year. Residents are required to take the written portion of the American Board of Orthodontics examination prior to graduation, and are encouraged to continue and complete the board certification process. This exam is given prior to the American Association of Orthodontists meeting.

Students completing the program earn a specialty certificate in orthodontics and Master of Science in Dentistry degree. Students must complete the requirements for the master’s degree prior to being awarded the specialty certificate.

The program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association.

Pediatric Dentistry

John H. Unkel
Associate Professor and Program Director

The Advanced Education Program in Pediatric Dentistry offers the student a comprehensive 24-month course of study in clinical and didactic pediatric dentistry. The program is designed to meet the educational requirements for limitation of practice to the specialty of pediatric dentistry and examination by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. The program emphasizes a diversified educational experience. The program places emphasis on all phases of pediatric dentistry including trauma, preventive dentistry, restorative, endodontics, periodontics, oral surgery, orthodontics and hospital dentistry. The program enables the student to provide comprehensive oral health care for the well child, the medically compromised and children with special needs. There is extensive use of various treatment modalities for pain control and behavioral management, such as sedation, analgesia and general anesthesia. Research experience is gained through completion of an individual research project and master’s thesis.

Seminars are held in pediatric dentistry, orthodontic diagnosis and treatment, treatment planning, growth and development, cephalometric analysis, pediatric dentistry literature review, and behavior guidance. Formal courses in biostatistics, principles of pediatrics, pediatric advanced life support, head and neck anatomy, neurodevelopmental disabilities, leadership seminars, basic sciences, and clinical core courses are required. The students participate in undergraduate clinical teaching and supervision.

One-month rotations occur in general anesthesia, and two-week rotations occur in the pediatric emergency room and pediatric medicine. During the year, rotations in cleft palate, craniofacial anomalies and hemophilia occur. Optional elective rotations are available in treating institutionalized handicapped patients (in Lynchburg). Elective didactic courses also are available.

Students completing the program earn a specialty certificate in pediatric dentistry and a Master of Science in Dentistry degree. Students must complete the requirements for the master’s degree prior to being awarded the specialty certificate.

The program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association.


Thomas C. Waldrop
Professor and Program Director

The advanced education program in periodontics consists of a 36-month clinical and didactic curriculum leading to a certificate in periodontics. Students are responsible for all materials and make up of lost clinical time. Courses in the basic and clinical sciences, medicine, head and neck anatomy, statistics, and advanced cardiac life support are required. Students are responsible for attending and preparing for lectures, current and periodontal literature, medical-oral medicine, treatment planning, case presentation, and surgical seminars. No grade less than 80 percent or passing is acceptable from any periodontal or basic science course work. Less than passing grades may require retesting or retaking of a course. Students are expected to be able to utilize a computer to prepare lectures and to access Internet resources.

Students are responsible for documentation of clinical and course work data. Specified digital intra-oral camera and documentation of all clinical cases and department archiving is required. Students are responsible to the service for rotations in general medicine, dental anesthesiology and oral pathology. Proficiency and certification in intravenous conscious sedation is required. Students are responsible for clinical and classroom teaching to undergraduate and specialty students. Research on a topic that is reviewed and approved by a faculty committee is required. Upon completion of the research, the student is required to prepare a thesis, defense and manuscript for publication. Certificates are not awarded until completion of the Master of Science in Dentistry requirements. Students are responsible for the purchase of program-required equipment, instruments, books and all associated fees. All students are required to become student members of the American Academy of Periodontology.



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Last update: 6/25/2010

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