Our Program

Advanced Education Programs in General Practice Residency are educational programs designed to provide training beyond the level of pre-doctoral education in oral healthcare, using applied basic and behavioral sciences. Education in these programs is based on the concept that oral health is an integral and interactive part of total health. MAHEC’s residency training is designed to expand the scope and depth of the graduates’ knowledge and skills to enable them to provide comprehensive oral healthcare to a wide range of population groups. A private practice environment is maintained to assist residents in the transition from academics to "real world" dentistry.

Goals and Objectives

Formal Goals and Objectives

  1. Provide comprehensive general dental care and resident education that is beyond the levels achieved as an undergraduate in order to provide care for healthy and medically compromised patients; utilizing all phases of dentistry to provide that care.
  2. Learn to make fundamentally sound decisions in assessing, diagnosing and planning treatment for both routine and complex cases; incorporating health promotion and staff management principles.
  3. Act as a primary dental care provider for healthy and medically compromised patients; coordinating the services of dental specialists and other healthcare specialists in the overall care of the patient.
  4. Function in a hospital environment and communicate effectively within interdisciplinary healthcare teams.
  5. Understand oral healthcare needs of community and engage in community service, teaching and continuing education.
  6. Demonstrate enhanced skills in continual self-assessment and professional improvement.  Demonstrate the application and principles of ethical reasoning, decision making and professional responsibilities.

Definition of Community Service: The dental residents will have an opportunity to contribute to the oral health of the underserved and elderly citizens of Western North Carolina through rotations at the MAHEC Dental Health Center rural clinical site(s).

Specific Program Objectives

Act as Primary Healthcare Provider:
Assess, diagnose and plan for the provision of multidisciplinary oral healthcare for a wide variety of patients including patients with special needs. Manage the delivery of patient-focused oral healthcare.

Operative Dentistry:
Understand properties and indications for dental materials. Develop skills in restoring a variety of dental preparations. Develop skills in working with a dental assistant.

Replacement of Teeth:
Develop skills in treatment planning the partially and fully edentulous patient. Understand the principles of utilizing various modalities in restoring the partially edentulous arch, including implants. Develop skills to effectively communicate with dental laboratory technicians.

Periodontal Therapy:
Diagnosis and treatment plan periodontal status. Diagnose and treat mild to moderate periodontal disease using non-surgical methods, evaluate the results of periodontal treatment. Manage advanced periodontal disease and periodontal maintenance.

Endodontic Therapy:
Exposure to to current concepts in pulpal therapy and modalities of treatment. Diagnose and treat pain of pulpal origin by performing non-surgical endodontic therapy in the primary and permanent dentition.

Oral Surgery:
Understand indications for simple and surgical extractions. Perform simple and surgical extractions. If situation presents, perform soft tissue biopsies. Perform simple pre-prosthetic surgeries. Manage patients admitted to hospital by medical colleagues as it relates to providing oral surgery care as needed in an OR setting.

Dental Emergencies:
Evaluate and treat patients with dental emergencies, including post-operative complications from dental treatment, pain, infection and/or trauma.

Pain and Anxiety Control:
Understand basics of local anesthesia. Understand gradients of enteral sedation. Provide OCS as cases present. Provide nitrous oxide sedation on a regular basis.

Management of Medical Emergencies:
Recognize, diagnose and provide initial management for medical emergencies that may occur in the dental office.

Management of Implants:
Demonstrate knowledge of dental implant indications. Perform dental implant surgeries and perform dental implant restorations as cases present.

Management of Oral Mucosal Diseases:
Diagnose and offer treatment and/or referral for various oral lesions.

Management of Temporomandibular Disorders:
Determine working diagnosis and treatment and/or referral based on EBD.

Medical Risk Assessment:
Recognize deviations for optimal health status that may affect dental management. Determine ASA Status on dental patients.

Practice Management:
Apply the principles of practice management to everyday dental practice.

Apply the principles of ethical reasoning, ethical decision making, and professional responsibility as they pertain to patient care and practice management.

Program Length
The GPR Program consists of 12 months of advanced dental education in clinical dentistry and is conducted primarily within a private practice environment but also with hospital experience at Mission Hospital. An optional second year may be available.

The program begins July 1st and concludes June 30th of the following year. Residents are required to come two weeks in June for organizational and program orientations for which they are financially compensated.

In alignment with MAHEC’s mission, the General Practice Residency (GPR) program offers the opportunity for residents to build their clinical skills in a community health setting while obtaining a Master of Public Health degree (MPH) from the UNC Gillings School's Master of Public Health Program in Asheville. The two year GPR-MPH track is the perfect opportunity for those considering a career in general dentistry and interested in understanding oral health from both a clinician and policy-maker’s perception. Obtaining a degree while practicing dentistry enables the general dentist to assimilate the public health paradigm into their practice and have mentors teach them how to use it to engage their patients and community. This track offers the tools for those interested in becoming not only general practitioners, but also leaders in government agencies, private sector organizations and universities.

Residents will be admitted to the GPR program through the standard process and UNC Gillings School will conduct their own admission process. In the first year, the GPR-MPH resident will be exposed to the same didactic lectures as a typical GPR resident plus the MPH curricular responsibilities. During the second year, the GPR-MPH resident, will continue with the MPH curriculum and will have teaching and mentoring responsibilities as well as complex clinical cases. 

*Applicants who are interested in the GPR-MPH track will need to mention it in their application and let Michelle Pittman know when sending her the applicant supplements.*

UNC Gillings School's MPH Program in Asheville

MAHEC Dental Health Center - Residents spend approximately 35 weeks of their year at the Dental Health Center. The majority of time is spent providing hands-on comprehensive patient treatment. This time is spread out during the entire year to assure continuity of care. During this time residents gain a wide variety of experiences by providing complex dental treatment for primarily ambulatory patients. Opportunities exist for providing comprehensive dental care, including fixed and removable prosthodontics, implant restoration, rotary endodontics, periodontics, implant placement, oral surgery, and advanced operative dentistry. Residents also gain extensive experience in management of patients with complex medical conditions and those with special needs.

Anesthesia - During this rotation, residents actively participate at Mission Hospital through the Department of Anesthesiology. Residents will also receive simulated experiences at the MAHEC Simulation Center. Residents receive experience in physical evaluation of the pre-anesthetic patient, starting and maintaining intravenous lines, oral and/or nasal intubation, monitoring vital signs, maintaining optimum airways, recognizing potential medical emergency situations related to anesthesia, utilizing various equipment/instrumentation for monitoring the anesthetized patient, and patient recovery.

Family Medicine - The residents will be assigned to a block rotation in the Family Practice Service inpatient and Family Health Center rotation with a PGY 2 and/or PGY 3 resident physician in the Family Medicine Asheville Residency Program.

Community Rotation - The residents will participate in providing dental care to a dentally underserved population at our rural health community-based clinic, MAHEC Dental Health Center at Columbus located in Polk County. During this time, they will perform both comprehensive and emergency treatment for patients of all ages.

Pediatric Rotation - The residents will spend approximately 32 hours providing same-day dental treatment to pediatric dental patients under general anesthesia at the Asheville Surgery Center and through the Mission Children's Hospital mobile tooth bus program. Experience will also be gained in pre-surgical medical and dental assessment of the surgical patients at the Reuter’s Children’s Center.

Oral Surgery Rotation - The residents will work with the OMF residents and Faculty to gain experience in multiple aspects of oral surgery within the hospital setting and oral surgery specialty practice.  They will gain experience working with trauma patients and patients presenting with odontogenic infections that are beyond the level seen in undergraduate dental training.  Experience will also be gained by assisting in the care of patients being seen in the operating room on either an inpatient or outpatient basis.  Residents will be on first call in the Emergency Department at Mission Hospitals for dental trauma and other emergencies during this rotation alongside the OMF residents.

The residents receive a formal course in Physical Diagnosis as well as selected courses during the year at discretion of the Residency Director.  Approximately 100 hours of didactic lecture are given in all specialties of dentistry as well as oral medicine, dental materials, practice management, and infection control. Residents are eligible to attend all MAHEC sponsored Dental Continuing Education programs as well as relevant conferences at Mission Hospital, with Director approval.

Application Process
Selection of the residents is based on the following criteria:

  1. Class standing, GPA and National Boards Part I
  2. Letters of recommendation
  3. Interview

Applicants must be a graduate of a fully accredited North American Dental school. Successful completion of the National Boards Part I is required. Applicants must be eligible to obtain a state dental license prior to starting residency. All application forms must be received by October 1st for admission in July.

PASS Application
Participation in the PASS application program is mandatory. In order to meet the October 1st application deadline, completed PASS documents should be submitted to the PASS office no later than September 20th of the year preceding the year for which the applicant is applying.

As an institution of higher education and in the spirit of its policies of equal employment opportunity, MAHEC hereby reaffirms its policy of equal educational opportunity. All applicants for admissions will be considered without regard to an applicant’s race, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, natural origin, disability unrelated to program performance, disabled veteran status, or Vietnam veteran status.

New resident dentists are required to participate in all orientation activities prior to July 1st. Financial compensation will be provided for this time. The orientation schedule will be sent to the resident dentist by the program director or their designee.

Additional application requirements that must be submitted to MAHEC:

1.  2 X 2 photo
2.  CV
3.  Copy of state dental license (if candidate has a current one)


Stipend and Benefits

Stipend (subject to change): $52,284

Benefits include

  • professional liability insurance
  • term life insurance
  • disability insurance for self
  • two weeks vacation
  • holidays when not on call
  • 3 sets of clinical scrubs/jacket

Resident Dentist Contract/Letter of Agreement

Program Goals/Objectives/Competency/Proficiency Evaluation Form

Resident Manual

Student Opportunities
We offer a one-day opportunity for students to observe our clinic and meet our residents and faculty. 

• Offer open only to 3rd year students
• Available January through May
• Tuesday mornings and Fridays are excluded
• Paperwork is required from student and it may take up to four weeks for Human Resources to approve the visit

Please contact Michelle Pittman for more information.

MAHEC Affiliates