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 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.


Alumni Comments

What makes the MAHEC GPR Program so special?

Able to get experience in both the hospital setting and full-time clinic. Amazing location/facilities. ~ Justin Mallette C/O 2015

MAHEC is very unique and offers a variety of clinical experiences. It has a private practice feel in its core, but offers some hospital experiences as well with being on call at Mission for dental emergencies and having privileges in the operating room for medically complex patients. Dr. Harrison, a local Periodontist, offers a wealth of knowledge when available to help with implant therapy and other surgical and periodontal procedures. CAD/CAM, 3-D printing of surgical guides, and intra-oral scanning are also utilized frequently. ~Jake Ayers C/O 2021

This residency gives you the unique ability to learn and practice a higher level of dentistry in a practice-type setting. You get extra experience with the "bread and butter" part of general dentistry while also being able to treat more complex cases that you get to dive into with your instructors. One of my favorite parts of the program was the continuing education that was provided in a small group setting. Also the mountain views at MAHEC aren't bad! ~ Jess Peele C/O 2016

The amount of clinical experience you walk away with from MAHEC is amazing. It really does prepare you for starting up a schedule in a new office. It also helps to have that year of troubleshooting when things go wrong with amazing faculty that has seen and done so much. ~ Bridget Swope C/O 2019


What impressed you about MAHEC when you interviewed with the program?

Initially, I was mostly impressed with the facilities. It is in a great location for patients and staff and is a new, state of the art clinic with great resources and beautiful mountain views. Throughout the interview process, I was very encouraged by the attendings' personalities, knowledge, and vision for MAHEC. The program offers the chance to grow in several ways, typically not available in a dental school education. ~ Jake Ayers C/O 2021

The facilities at MAHEC were the best I saw in all of my interviews. And the location is phenomenal. Asheville is such a great city! ~ Bridget Swope C/O 2019


What kind of relationship do the faculty have with residents?

When I was there it was a very small group. We had Dr Coryell and Oliver - felt like a family. ~ Justin Mallette C/O 2015

The faculty wants each resident to grow as a clinician as much as possible in the 12-month span. Whatever your career aspirations are, they want to help prepare you well. They are always available for advice or help when needed but want you to become confident and independent. Overall, it is a very positive environment. ~ Jake Ayers C/O 2021

They are definitely going to challenge you to think outside the box and try to solve issues on your own, but they will always be there to help you out when you need it.  ~ Bridget Swope C/O 2019


What is the most challenging part of residency? What support systems are in place for the residents?

The most challenging part is the pace of the schedule, which is a good problem to have. It's an adjustment to balance daily responsibilities, the amount of procedures, hygiene checks, being on call, etc., but better prepares you for private practice and grows your clinical skills at an expedited rate. The coresidents and faculty are there to support you and learn from whenever needed, in and outside of clinic. ~ Jake Ayers C/O 2021

The most challenging part of residency was learning to keep to my schedule and not run over. There are overflow rooms and extra assistants to help when this happens. The other residents are also amaxing and will help numb patients for you when you are finishing up with your other procedure. ~ Bridget Swope C/O 2019


How did MAHEC prepare you for your current job?

I felt like when I started private practice I was a leg up from my peers. I was able to start with a level of speed and confidence that allowed me to hit to ground running - not only putting my patients at ease, but also allowing me to be more productive and profitable. ~ Jess Peele C/O 2016

MAHEC prepared me for my current job in several ways: expounding on skills and topics that dental school didn't have enough time to cover in as much depth as I would have liked, boosting my time management skills (especially in terms of figuring out how to most efficiently run my procedures and fit in checking hygiene), increasing my confidence as a provider, and giving me new ways to think about treatments/procedures. I learned a lot from the directors of the program, but also from my co-residents. Procedures I may have done once or twice in dental school, I had the opportunity to become proficient at during residency. I didn't fully realize how well MAHEC had prepared me until my office added a new grad who had not done a residency - the difference was incredible! I am grateful every day that I did the MAHEC GPR. ~ Susan Taunton C/O 2014

MAHEC helped me feel more confident in my dental skills. This allowed me to feel confident when I would start a new procedure I hadn't done before because I was very comfortable in my fundamentals of dentistry. It also really helped me learn time management. ~ Bridget Swope C/O 2019


How does MAHEC serve the diverse community of Asheville?

MAHEC is one of the only dental medicaid providers in the Asheville area. They also do a wonderful job at the satellite clinic helping the underserved populations of western North Carolina. ~ Bridget Swope C/O 2019