Graduating dental students generally have minimal experience with the hospital environment and medically compromised patients. Much of the program is dedicated to these critical issues. Physical diagnosis, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, and a lecture series that covers didactic topics of importance are provided. Residents quickly become familiar with clinic emergency protocol, management of dental emergencies, program philosophy, hospital practices and organizational structure.
Residents spend at least 60% of the residency delivering comprehensive dental care to the outpatient population. Residents deliver comprehensive care to those patients in their clinic practice. Patients are treatment planned in a conference forum to achieve the maximal educational benefit from each clinical experience. The outpatient clinic is in operation five days per week and is staffed by full- and part-time Attendings.
The only postgraduate curriculum of its kind in the country, the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine's Department (UTGSM) of General Dentistry offers intensive case-based exposure and training for residents in the field of Forensic Dentistry. Forensic Dentistry is a vital component of the professional forensic science community applying dental science to the identification of unknown, disfigured, decomposing, or skeletal remains, besides playing a pivotal role in the identification of mass disaster victims.
Residents will visit crime scenes and participate in oral autopsy procedures to gain competence in the method and technique of the postmortem dental examination and positive identification process. Faculty member, Murray K. Marks, PhD, D-ABFA, a dental anthropologist and board certified forensic anthropologist, also has a joint appointment in the Department of Pathology and consults with East Tennessee Medical Examiners through the Regional Forensic Center at the University of Tennessee Medical Center and with national (FBI), state (TBI), and local law enforcement officials.
All new dental residents take advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) with the other incoming residents. This course, which is taught by the Emergency Medicine Department, serves to prepare residents for further training in risk assessment and for their rotations in anesthesia, medicine, and the emergency room.
All incoming dental residents take part in a comprehensive course in physical assessment. Members of the medical staff meet with the residents during orientation to cover the didactic portion of the course. Practical training in history taking and physical examination is reinforced by off-service rotations on medicine and anesthesia. They improve on their understanding of the language of medicine, how to interpret the findings, and determine risk assessment for each patient.
Residents are involved in literature review sessions throughout the year. Selected articles are presented to the dental faculty by the residents in formal sessions biweekly. Emphasis is placed on methods to evaluate the literature from a qualitative standpoint.
Residents participate in patient care conferences every week at which time clinical subjects are discussed, both medical and dental.
Residents give case presentation on their patients to the faculty on a weekly basis. These cases have a variety of medical and dental considerations and faculty and residents critique and discuss them.
Residents are involved in faculty and staff meetings that give them some practical experience in department administration. These experiences give them a background in practice management that will be of benefit to them regardless of their choice of careers.
The residents share the call responsibilities. Residents are called upon to see the dental emergencies that present to the emergency room. The volume of educationally beneficial emergency room problems thoroughly prepares residents for this aspect of clinical practices. The hospital patient population provides rich experiences in the whole spectrum of emergent dental problems, particularly the management of bleeding, infection, and pain.
The high volume of trauma, from dentoalveolar to major facial fractures, and the close working relationship with residents in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, gives the residents a strong background in this area. Residents have responsibility for all consult requests from other clinical services. This active inpatient consult service provides residents with a broad spectrum of challenging dental problems in patients with significant medical considerations.
Residents see new consults and present them to the dental attending. Patients are discussed in daily rounds. Residents are also responsible for all operating cases which are scheduled by the faculty. Residents therefore gain an in depth experience in the overall management of inpatients, and have significant contact with the teaching faculty and private practitioners on the medical, surgical, and dental services.
Residents are enrolled in the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine Continuing Education courses which involve guest speakers on an average of once per month. Faculty from University of Tennessee School of Dentistry, along with experts from around the country, gives half- or full-day post-doctoral courses on topics relevant to dentists in the area. They also attend lectures or courses sponsored by the local dental society.
It is the department's firm conviction that the half-life of clinical knowledge is such that health care professionals must be active in continuing education throughout their careers. Their participation in these continuing education activities, and their training during the literature review sessions, serves as a foundation for a critical component of their practice lifestyle.
"This program is committed to staying current with the ever-changing dental technologies, which is demonstrated by the investment they have made in some of the newest technology available such as the cone beam CT, lasers, and Cerec machine. "
Chelsea Balderson, DDS
The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine
1924 Alcoa Highway
Knoxville, Tennessee 37920 | 865-305-9290
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