Life as a Resident
David Thorup, DMD
This GPR has been invaluable for me. As graduation from dental school approached, I felt like I could be a good dentist, provide quality dental care, and be successful going straight out into private practice without doing a residency, but I wanted more! Being a "good" dentist just wasn't enough for me; I wanted to be a great dentist. I knew that the fastest way to obtain this goal was to surround myself with other great dentists and learn how and why they do what they do.
Dr. Proctor, the director of the program, was instrumental in helping me see what this GPR has to offer. The strengths of this program include 35+ attending dentists with proven success throughout their careers that you can learn from; becoming competent and proficient with advanced procedures (implants, oral surgery, endodontics, periodontics, prosthodontics, etc.); a greater comfort level in treating patients with complex medical issues; and an expanded ability to be efficient and effective at the basics of dentistry.
With all of this said, what you get out of this residency depends on what you put into it. If you are looking for a well-rounded, high-quality GPR, and you aren't afraid of hard work, the this is the program for you.
Jordan Blankenship-Sniker, DMD
Life as a University of Utah resident was never dull, and if you felt that way, you weren't doing it right. This program offers unique opportunities that go above and beyond the criteria for a GPR. The U of U curriculum is what I lovingly referred to as a "True General Practice Residency" where you are exposed to anything and everything you could possibly encounter once out in the real world of private practice. From working through complex endodontic cases to surgically extracting impacted third molars, treating pediatric patients to being on call in the ER, completing an implant bootcamp to working on special needs patients in the OR, you are constantly expanding your skill set and gaining new insights into exceptional patient care. None of the dental fields are off-limits here and Dr. Proctor has diligently selected attendings from each specialty to coach you through those tough procedures you might have only had a lecture about. You quickly become comfortable being uncomfortable, pushing past those dental school limitations.
Aside from dentistry, the residency allowed me to explore almost every inch of Utah. Not only did I ski 20+ times this year, I was fortunate enough to take advantage of the Big Five National Parks, make road trips to the slot canyons, capture photographs of breath-taking waterfalls, and test my physical resolve hiking some of the toughest trials in the Wasatch Mountain Range. The residency even took me to the Four Corners of the state to give back to rural communities. For a one-month stint each resident is expected to serve as the community dentist on the Navajo Reservation at Montezuma Creek. While at the reservation I took advantage of all southern Utah has to offer: hiking, camping, and exploring different cultures. I was able to stay a week in Kanab, UT working at the community mobile clinic where we treated low- and no-income families. It was humbling to hear patients talk about how this once-a-year clinic is the only time they are able to receive oral health care.
If I were forced to pick a favorite aspect of the residency, aside from the spectacular location and education I received, it would have to be working with the faculty and staff of this program. Dr. Proctor was a very involved director who wanted to know your goals for the year and would help you to achieve those goals. Your success is his success. The saying, "It takes a village" definitely rings true here and I could not have asked for a better staff to work with. You can learn something from everyone who is inovlved with making the program run on a day-to-day basis. The assistants are always willing to lend a helping hand and offer useful tips to make your procedures run smoother and the front desk staff diligent work to create a balanced schedule for you to be the best clinician you can be. Even though I moved back east, the mountains and this residency will always occupy a special place in my heart.
Alberto E. Varela, DDS
My experience at the GPR was fantastic! I was able to perform a lot of procedures I had never done before. Placing dental implants and doing periodontal surgeries were some of my favorite activities. Rotating through the operating room, emergency department, and hospital clinic helped me to better care for the medically compromised patient. I learned to place IVs, intubate, bag mask, and more during my time at the hospital. In essence, my hospital experience helped me to understand how dentistry can better interact with the medical profession.
In addition to participating in clinical activities, I also attended and benefitted from the weekly continuing education courses held at the dental school, VA hospital, and various other locations. The wealth of knowledge presented to us on a weekly basis was instrumental in our improvement as clinicians. Our monthly treatment planning seminars allowed me the opportunity to present complicated cases to my colleagues and get their opinions on how to best approach each case.
The faculty and staff were great to work with and Dr. Proctor is a great director! I would encourage any new dentist to apply to the GPR at the University of Utah. You will not regret the decision.
Grant Matsuura, DDS
Life as a dental resident in Utah was very fun, especially if you enjoy the outdoors. I was able to enjoy the Utah Mountains. In the summer, I liked to go hiking and if you love to ski there are plenty of places to take advantage of. The ski resorts are only twenty minutes away from most areas around the valley. During residency I was able to learn so much. Some of the areas I broadened my skills in were implants, periodontal surgery, endodontics, oral surgery and sedation. The residency program is what you make of it so try and take advantage of the amazing attending’s and opportunity that you have.