Innovative program advances dental residents’ training

Dr. William Nagy, professor in restorative sciences and director of the prosthodontic graduate program, and Dr. Josh Chapa, a periodontist and clinical assistant professor in restorative sciences

Dr. William Nagy, professor in restorative sciences and director of the prosthodontic graduate program, and Dr. Josh Chapa, a periodontist and clinical assistant professor in restorative sciences.

Until now, dental residents in Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry’s prosthodontic graduate program concentrated primarily on treatment planning and restorative care, leaving most of the surgical aspects of dental implants to the oral surgery and periodontic specialties.

That is changing thanks to a new education standard of the Commission on Dental Accreditation set to become effective in 2014. Beginning next year, prosthodontic graduates must place implants.

A new postgraduate surgical implant training program at the Dallas dental school, funded by a $100,000 five-year grant from dental-device manufacturer Biomet 3i, is preparing graduate residents in prosthodontics and advanced general dentistry for this scope of care. It is the only program of its type in the nation structured and funded in this way.

“There is a big emphasis on prosthodontists placing implants as part of a turnkey effort involving both surgery and restorative care,” says Dr. William Nagy, professor in restorative sciences and director of the prosthodontic graduate program. “Previously, prosthodontic residents placed five to 10 implants in the three-year program; these were placed in the oral surgery clinic with the assistance of oral surgery faculty and residents.”

Dr. Josh Chapa, a periodontist hired as a clinical assistant professor, supervises the residents. He designed the course curriculum, which includes a 14-session summer course on basic surgical techniques presented to prosthodontic and advanced education in general dentistry (AEGD) residents by oral and maxillofacial surgery faculty members. It also includes fall lectures on treatment planning for implants.

“Previous implant instruction was not geared to single-unit cases like these residents would see in everyday practice,” Dr. Chapa says. “The information they receive now can be applied in the future whether or not they do the actual surgeries.”

Dr. Chapa provides clinical oversight for residents during their surgical experiences at TAMBCD, which take place in a new dedicated surgical operatory in the dental school’s sixth-floor clinic. “I stand right next to the student and talk them through the procedure,” Dr. Chapa says. “In addition, I have started doing case discussions on Fridays with the AEGD residents.

“Likewise, I go to the prosthodontic residents and discuss cases with the patient in the dental chair,” Dr. Chapa continues. “We talk about things like whether the patient has adequate tissue, if they require bone grafting, and other things a surgeon would look for. We review treatment options with patients, because there is more than one way to approach a case.”

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