The UCSF Division of Pediatric Dentistry, the only one in northern California, is expanding the advanced specialty education program to keep up with the growing need for pediatric dentists in California.
â€śThe division of pediatric dentistry places emphasis on unique or unusual dental and oral problems in children,â€? said Pamela K. Den Besten, DDS, MS, UCSF professor of pediatric dentistry and chair of the division. The residency program, located on the UCSF Parnassus campus, is directed by Kenneth C. Troutman, DDS, MPH, who was recently recruited from Columbia University. The program is a full-time 36-month course of study, beginning July 1 of each year, and leads to a certificate in pediatric dentistry and may include a Masterâ€™s in oral biology. Each student also has the option of pursing a PhD.
In the past, the Pediatric Dentistry Program, housed in the UCSF School of Dentistryâ€™s Department of Growth and Development, accepted two residents annually. This year the program has doubled its acceptance to four residents per year.
â€śThe goal of the program is to produce highly trained specialists who will assume leadership roles in academic pediatric dentistry or private practice,â€? Den Besten said. The program actively encourages basic science research, but also seeks to stimulate interest in careers combining clinical practice and clinical research. In addition, the program includes a pediatrics service rotation at Childrenâ€™s Hospital Medical Center in Oakland. Residents also provide patient care in the UCSF dental clinic, outpatient clinics, emergency room and operating rooms.
â€śDental instruction is provided through lectures, seminars and clinical training in outpatient clinic and hospital settings,â€? Den Besten explained. â€śIn addition, the hospital and surgery center operating rooms provide intensive experience in treating patients with special needs with the aid of general anesthesia,â€? she said.
Residents are trained to function as integral members of the health care delivery team in a program where the importance of basic science knowledge in the provision of high quality clinical care is emphasized. All advanced specialty education program residents complete a core curriculum which includes courses in biostatistics, immunology, microbiology, biomaterials, developmental biology, oral pathology, behavioral sciences, pharmacology, genetics and medical ethics.
All students are required to complete either a masterâ€™s level research project under the supervision of a thesis advisor and committee (in accordance with the guidelines of the UCSF Graduate Division) or a properly documented clinical research project resulting in a manuscript ready for submission to a refereed journal.
A certificate in pediatric dentistry and a Masterâ€™s or PhD in oral biology is awarded upon successful completion of the clinical and academic program. Graduates are eligible for examination by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry.
â€śWhile we are increasing the number of training positions for pediatric dentists, we are far from replacing the numbers in the field who are retiring,â€? Den Besten said. â€ś We need to focus on new ways to provide more specialists so that that we can meet the dental needs of this increasing population of children in California.â€?