The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, Knoxville

Dentistry Meets Special Needs through Unique Fellowship

educationO. Lee Wilson, DMD, Chair, Dentistry, has initiated a Dental Operating Room Fellowship, the first of its kind, to fill a growing demand for treating special needs patients. Dr. Wilson has been working with special needs children for more than 27 years through the Department of General Dentistry, and he has found that the best method to treat overly sensitive patients is to take them into the operating room so that they can be put to sleep under anesthesia.

Fellows who participate in the Dental Operating Room Fellowship are required to have completed one year of residency training, and two years is preferred. John M. Coulter, DDS, a recent graduate from the General Dentistry two-year program, will be the first fellow to participate.

Dr. Wilson said, “Through the program, I want the fellow to develop the interest and passion and experience to feel comfortable practicing on patients in the operating room.”

The one-year program will provide specialized, hands-on dental training in the operating room as well as rotations in Anesthesiology, Family Medicine, and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. The fellow will also be responsible for creating and overseeing simulated training exercises performed in the UT Center for Advanced Medical Simulation by residents in the General Dentistry Residency Program as well as dentists in the community for continuing dental education.

Practicing dentistry is unique from medicine in that dentists are not required to complete residency following dental school for licensure. The UT Graduate School of Medicine has offered a one-year residency program since 1977, and recently, several residents have continued through a second year. Dentists who complete residency training gain more experience in the clinical setting as well as experience in a hospital and academic setting. Dental fellowships are considered rare, and a mechanism for accreditation does not yet exist. A generous donation from Delta Dental will help fund the program.

OMFS Resident Initiates Cleft and Craniofacial Fellowship

PDMIL Team with Jon WalleducationAfter Brian Richman, DDS, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Resident, graduates in June, he will return to the UT Graduate School of Medicine as the first fellow in Cleft and Craniofacial Surgery, a program initiated by his desire to help children affected by cleft lip and palate.

Dr. Richman developed his interest in cleft surgery while on a two-year mission trip to Taiwan. While the Asian population has a higher incidence of cleft lip and palate, it is surprisingly common in the United States as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 2,650 babies are born with a cleft palate and 4,440 babies are born with a cleft lip with or without cleft palate in the United States each year. Dr. Richman wants to maintain an OMFS practice that includes helping affected children as well as continue his mission work.

It wasn’t until he expressed his interest to Eric Carlson, DMD, MD, OMFS Chair and Residency Program Director, that Dr. Richman realized the specialized training he needs could be a possibility through UTGSM. By partnering with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital’s Cleft and Craniofacial Clinic, which is recognized by the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association and Cleft Palate Foundation as a Cleft Palate Team, Dr. Richman will develop in-depth knowledge and receive hands-on training under the guidance of Mark Ray, MD, Team Leader, and Turner Emery, DDS, MD, a member of the Cleft and Craniofacial team.

Dr. Carlson said, "As OMFS program director at the Graduate School of Medicine, it is my responsibility to ensure the every opportunity is available to residents during residency and after."

The one-year fellowship will continue to be offered through the UT Graduate School of Medicine, which, with The University of Tennessee Medical Center, is the region’s only academic medical center.