Why You Might Consider a General Dentistry Residency Program

By: Savannah Craig

Pursuing a one- or two-year GPR or AEGD program following graduation from dental school is just one of many options available to new dentists.

Should You Pursue a Dental Residency Program?

There are many reasons to choose to do a residency program. Here are a few worth considering:

Pathway to Licensure

One reason to pursue a GPR or AEGD is that it is a pathway to licensure in NY, OH, MN, CO, CA, and WA.

In the state of New York, it is required for dentists to have completed a one-year residency to be able to apply for initial licensure in the state. The other states will accept a PGY-1 program as an alternative pathway to licensure instead of completing a clinical examination like the CDCA.

Build Your Resume

Another reason to pursue a residency program is to bolster a specialty application. Dental specialties can be highly competitive and adding the experience of a GPR/AEGD program can make an applicant more competitive.

Additionally, a residency program can give applicants more exposure to specialty programs and help them determine if specializing is the right career path for them.

Gain Valuable Experience

Residency programs allow dentists to gain more experience. It is an additional year of hands-on training in many aspects of dentistry, including restorative and fixed procedures. Many residency programs also give residents the opportunity to complete more complex procedures than are offered in dental schools.

Dentists who pursue residency training will have the opportunity to complete more procedures than they had during dental school while still being supervised by attending faculty. This can offer new dentists the confidence of knowing they have someone nearby to assist them.

Dentists in residency programs also have the opportunity to increase their speed and experience without financial concerns. Residents receive a stipend and benefits from their programs which can take away the burden of needing to worry about their production. Many new graduates are slow when they come out of dental school and a residency program allows new dentists a controlled environment to increase their production while still having a guaranteed income.

Learn Your Preferences

Residency training can also give you the opportunity to figure out your niche in dentistry. Just like in dental school, you may enter residency with a preconceived notion about what you’d like to do in your future career.

Perhaps you entered residency hoping to gain more experience with surgical extractions so that you could add more surgical procedures to an office in the future. However, you might discover that you really enjoy molar endodontic procedures and be able to add that skill.

On the other hand, you might discover that you do not enjoy implant placement as much as you thought you would. You might be thankful that you had these experiences in a residency program instead of paying out of pocket for CE.


Finding mentorship is another perk of residency. Each program has a unique mix of attending faculty that will oversee the residents. Some programs have full-time faculty who work only at that program. Others have part-time attendings who work in their own office in addition to working for the residency program.

These faculty members have chosen to work with new graduates to share their experience and wisdom. There is an opportunity to form relationships with attendings who have different experiences, perspectives, and skills than the faculty members you encountered in dental school.

In the everchanging world of dentistry, it never hurts to have more mentors who you can work with and ask for help throughout your career.

Up Next: What Every Dentist Should Know About Joining a DSO or OSO

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Savanah Craig

Savanah Craig

Savanah Craig is a graduate of Baldwin Wallace University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology. She is currently a 2022 D.D.S. Candidate at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry. She will be pursuing a General Practice Residency in Columbia, SC following graduation. In her free time, Savanah enjoys reading, exploring new restaurants, and traveling.