The U.S. Army General Dentistry Residency Program was established in 1962 in answer to a call to provide the Army Dental Corps with dentists who had been trained in the major specialties of dentistry as well as in dental administration. The individuals selected for training were to serve, at the completion of their programs, as clinicians in dental specialties, directors of dental clinics, and directors of general dentistry programs. The ultimate goal of the program was to provide the Corps with dentists who had been competently trained both professionally and administratively to assume positions of leadership within the Corps.
The General Dentistry Residency Program was officially redesignated as the Advanced Educational Program in General Dentistry (2 Year) (AEPGD 2 Yr) in 1985 and Advanced Education in General Dentistry (2 Year) (AEGD -2 YR) in 1990.
The United States Army Dental Corps’ training in general dentistry started with the establishment of the General Dentistry Residency Program at Fort Hood, Texas in 1962. The purpose of the program was to enhance the professional base of the Army Dental Corps by expanding the career potential for dental officers to include post-graduate education in the general practice of dentistry. The program was to be two years in length and provide advanced training in both clinical and administrative areas.
The success of the Fort Hood program led to the establishment of two additional programs in 1964 at Fort Knox, Kentucky and Fort Dix, New Jersey. In 1965, a fourth program was activated at Fort Lewis, Washington. The fifth and last program was established in 1969 at Fort Ord, California. During the 1970s, each of the five programs consisted of eight residents, four juniors and four seniors, and together they produced approximately 20 graduates per year. In 1978, a decision was made to close two of the programs and to increase the training at the remaining posts. The Fort Dix and the Fort Lewis programs were eventually closed, and the programs at the three remaining posts were expanded to sixteen residents, eight juniors and eight seniors; graduating approximately 24 officers per year. In 1988, the residency at Fort Ord was phased out, and that program was transferred to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In 1995, the residency at Fort Knox was phased out leaving the programs at Fort Hood and Fort Bragg. The third AEGD-2 YR was established in Hawaii in 2004.
The other Federal services and the civilian dental profession followed the Army’s lead and established their own programs for post-graduate training in general dentistry. The Army Dental Corps established the Army Board of General Dentistry in 1970. The purpose of the board was to provide certification and professional recognition for those graduates of an Army General Dentistry residency who maintained high standards of clinical practice and continuing dental education. Eventually, Air Force and Navy dental officers were also invited to participate in the board certification process. The annual Teaching Chiefs conference was initiated in 1972. This conference continues to provide a sounding board for problem areas common to all dental specialty programs. Through the collective thinking of all program directors, logical solutions are developed and shared which further the goal of establishing a consistent program and producing a graduate who answers the needs of the Corps.
In 1980, the Chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force Dental Services agreed to cooperate in the establishment of the Federal Services Board of General Dentistry. The Federal Services Board was composed of equal representation from each of the Dental Services, with the Presidency rotating among them every two years. In 2003, the Federal Services Board and the American Board of General Dentistry began a merging process to consolidate military and civilian certification organizations. Since 2005, the certification process is administered through the American Board of General Dentistry. Federal Services Board recipients were grand fathered into the American Board of General Dentistry through 2005.
The AEGD-2 Yr Program incorporates the concept of a single university, whose premise is to develop graduates of sound clinical and didactic background in the major disciplines of dentistry. The program ensures a basic knowledge and appreciation of the military relevancy of general dentistry in the care of combat casualties as well as the management and supervision of military dental treatment facilities with their related administrative, personnel, and logistical complexities.
The first year training includes clinical and didactic experience in all specialty disciplines. Demonstration of competency in the areas of endodontics, periodontics, simple prosthodontics and oral surgery are required for advancement to the second year. The second year provides training in more complex fixed and removable prosthodontics and continued training in all other specialities. Comprehensive diagnosis and treatment is stressed throughout this program.
In keeping with the concept of general dentistry, the program develops the resident's abilities in various dental disciplines to where he/she can incorporate them in a definitive plan of treatment in a dental health care delivery system that utilizes the latest concepts, techniques, and materials. Continuity of experience in delivering comprehensive care for selected patients is provided through coordinated scheduling of clinical time, with direct supervision by a trained comprehensive dentist.
The program is predominately clinical, including approximately 30 percent didactic training and 70 percent applied clinical training. This curriculum is designed give residents the sound clinical judgment and expertise upon which dental or medical treatment will be provided for all eligible categories of patients. Didactic training is provided in the forms of seminars, lectures, conferences, diagnostic clinics, literature reviews, clinical pathological conferences, special projects and professional meetings to assure in‑depth coverage of the scientific philosophies and clinical techniques that make up the total spectrum of care within the specialty areas. In addition to the assigned teaching staff, academic training is enhanced by eminently qualified civilian and military consultants.
Upon satisfactory completion of the AEGD-2 YR Program, the resident is awarded the suffix "C" to his/her basic AOC 63B. During the second year of training, the resident is eligible to take the written portion of the American Board of General Dentistry certification examination. After passing the written examination, the graduate is eligible to challenge the treatment planning and oral examination of the American Board of General Dentistry.
Areas of the AEGD ‑ 2 Yr Program which are identifiable as being militarily relevant are as follows:
- The emergency management of acute traumatic injuries.
- The familiarization and utilization of physical resources unique to the military, such as forms, regulations, supplies, and hospital facilities.
- The direction and utilization of auxiliaries within a military environment.
- The management and operation of military dental treatment facilities other than hospitals.
- The prevention and treatment of oral disease in combat areas.
- The training in anesthesiology which enhances the capability of the resident to be utilized in emergency situations as an anesthetist.
This program manual for the AEGD-2 YR Program conducted at Fort Bragg, North Carolina has been compiled to accurately reflect all aspects of residency training. Competencies and proficiencies have been identified in all dental disciplines. Specific details on scheduling and teaching methodology have been purposely kept to a minimum because these change periodically, based on internal reviews by the Program Director, Curriculum Committee and the Dental Education Committee. This manual is an important resource document for the residency program faculty and residents and to others who have an interest in, evaluate and/or accredit the AEGD-2 YR Program.