I know a lot of dental students read this blog, so if you’re one of them, here’s my appeal to you: do a GPR after graduation.
If you’re going on to a specialty, like ortho, then doing a general practice residency isn’t necessary. Some programs require or encourage GPRs before applying, but we won’t focus on that here. I’m talking about general dentists that want to graduate from school and jump into private practice. Hold your horses! I know you’re excited to finally start making money and enter the working world, but consider spending a year in a GPR for the follwoing reasons:
(1) It’s the best CE you’ll ever take.
Dental students often ask me where to go for great continuing education and my smart ass answer is to do a GPR. Think about it… the vast majority of CE courses are lectures followed by a smaller selection of hands-on workshops. The best way to learn new procedures is to actually do them on patients. You can hear a great full day lecture on molar endo but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can then easily start applying those techniques on your next case. A hands-on workshop on extracted teeth can be a better way to learn than a standard lecture, but it still doesn’t replace the expereince you can get from doing these procedures on live patients for an entire year.
(2) It’s the last time you don’t have to worry about getting sued.
When you’re out in private practice it can be difficult to introduce new techniques. Let’s go back to the molar endo example. Learning efficiency and proficiency in molar endo while working in private practice carries a degree of risk. You don’t have a professor to guide you and your work will be held to the standards of care.
(3) You get paid!
I know you want to finally start making money and paying off your student loans. But be patient… you have the rest of your professional life to earn a wage. While you’re getting a great education in your GPR you will make some money, so you’re not going further into debt. Yeah, the money isn’t amazing, but look at it another way: you’re getting paid to take the best CE you’ll ever get.
Okay, so you’re interested in a GPR. Well they’re not all created equally. Do some research into the programs you’re applying to. When you interview, talk to the current residents about their experiences. Make sure that you’ll get exposure to the procedures you want to learn.