Residency Program in Dentistry and Oral Surgery

Residency Program in Dentistry and Oral Surgery

Objectives of the program

The Dentistry and Oral Surgery residency program is a program allowing an individual to gain in-depth knowledge of veterinary dentistry and its supporting disciplines. This includes training in all major aspects of dentistry: oral anatomy, oral pathology, periodontics, endodontics, orthodontics, restorative dentistry, oral/maxillofacial surgery and oral diagnostic imaging. The species emphasis of the program is on dogs and cats, although other species are also included.

Specific objectives of the dental residency training program include:

  • The program will provide comprehensive clinical training in veterinary dentistry and oral surgery, including hands-on experience using a full range of dental products and instrumentation.
  • The program will provide a review of the basic science areas of veterinary medicine as they pertain to dentistry, and of the applicable aspects of human dentistry as they pertain to animals.
  • The program will provide instruction to the individual (1) while in clinics in the Dentistry and Oral Surgery Service of the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH); (2) as a consultant to the Equine and Zoological Medicine Services of the VMTH or the California Regional Primate Research Center; (3) and through attendance of scientific meetings and continuing education courses.
  • The program will provide the individual with the opportunity to instruct while in the Dental Operatory and in dental laboratory courses.
  • The program will encourage clinical research and provide a basis for a Ph.D. program.

The need for specific training

Veterinary dentistry is a relatively new and rapidly expanding specialty with excellent employment opportunities both in private practice as in academia. The residency program at UC Davis provides exceptional opportunities in advanced oral surgery and clinical research. 

Courses and activities

Structure and organization

The program is based on twelve calendar months per year for three years, of which approximately 66.6-75% will be spent in rotations on the Dentistry and Oral Surgery Service with a board-certified veterinary dentist present. In addition, approximately 33.3-25% of the time will be spent in any of the following ways:

  • Fulfillment of the requirements for anesthesiology and radiology.
  • Basic research or clinical investigation, and preparation of manuscripts.
  • Attendance of lectures and seminars.
  • At a veterinary dental service at another university or at a private hospital with a dental program supervised by an A.V.D.C. Diplomate.

Clinical service rotations

The clinical rotations will facilitate development of clinical proficiency, skills and knowledge of dentistry and related disciplines through:

  • Exposure to a wide variety of cases representing all facets of dentistry and all levels of complexity as verified by the dental log and in accordance with A.V.D.C. guidelines with regard to minimum case requirements.
  • Case management with the help of experienced staff and supervised by faculty.
  • Case consultations with faculty in related disciplines.

Along with the faculty, the resident on clinical service will be responsible for: (1) receiving clinic appointments; (2) supervising day-to-day patient care of animals admitted for dental treatment; (3) assisting with clinical teaching; (4) providing optimal client service and prompt, professional communications with referring veterinarians.

Patient care and specialty consultation

  • The resident will have clinical patient client contact for routine dental procedures as well as referral cases. The degree of responsibility the resident assumes shall be determined by the nature of the dental procedure and training experience. During the last year of training the resident will be expected to make primary decisions for the care of most dental patients. A complete medical record will be maintained for each individual case and the records are retrievable.
  • The resident will attain a level of competency in anesthesiology by spending at least 40 hours under the supervision of a board-certified veterinary anesthesiologist. The time will be spent in the Small Animal Anesthesia Section of the VMTH and will include handling routine and high-risk clinical patients.
  • The resident will attain a level of competency in the interpretation of radiographs and the evaluation and techniques of special radiographic procedures and will spend at least 40 hours during the residency under the supervision of a board-certified veterinary radiologist, at the Diagnostic Imaging section of the VMTH.
  • The resident will attain a level of competency in oral/maxillofacial surgery by spending at least 40 hours during the residency training program under the supervision of a board-certified veterinary surgeon or a board-certified human oral surgeon. The current Residency Director, Dr. F. Verstraete, is a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons and oral surgery forms a major part of the normal clinical activities of the Dentistry and Oral Surgery Service; hence no additional 40-hours rotation is included in the program.

Teaching responsibilities

  • Clinical teaching (case supervision, rounds, etc.) of veterinary students assigned to the Dentistry and Oral Surgery Service forms a very important part of the activities of the resident.
  • Occasional assistance with laboratory courses for veterinary students or veterinarians may be required.
  • Given the fact that the resident assumes a leading role in the preoperative and postoperative case discussions, no other case presentations are required.

Research and publications

  • The resident will complete a substantial research project that contributes to the advancement of veterinary dentistry during the residency program. Presentation of a paper at the annual House Officer Seminar Day is mandatory.
  • The resident is expected to submit at least two first-author manuscripts to refereed journals during the residency program, one of which may be a case-report or review paper.

Other scholarly activities

  • Journal club and topic rounds (VSR407R) are held on a weekly basis. Oral pathology rounds (discussions based on histopathology slides) are also held from time to time.
  • In-depth discussions and advanced wet labs are organized on an ad hoc basis.

Dental case log

The resident will maintain a dental case log listing case number, patient identification, species, date, diagnosis, treatment, and involvement of the resident (unassisted, assisted by faculty, or assisting faculty). This log will be reviewed by the Residency Director.


Dental rounds will be held at least four times weekly and the resident is expected to take a leading role in these. Two types of rounds are held: (1) preoperative rounds which include systemic health concerns and treatment planning; and (2) postoperative rounds which include procedures performed, aftercare and radiology.

The resident is encouraged to attend as many of the following conferences as can reasonably be scheduled depending on operating schedule, case load and other course work, e.g. (1) veterinary dental conferences; (2) anesthesiology conferences; (3) oral radiology conferences; (4) oral surgery conferences; and (5) human dental conferences.

Course work

Attendance of lectures or seminars is recommended. Course selection will depend on availability of the course, the resident's interest, and consent of the instructor and will be done in consultation with the Residency Director.

Physical facilities and equipment available for the Residency Program

The UC Davis Health Sciences Library is available and contains most recent human and veterinary texts and current journals representing all recognized clinical disciplines and basic sciences, including dentistry. The resident will have access to all UC libraries through interlibrary loan facilities.

The VMTH has a computerized retrievable record system. Dental records are scanned-in. Oral radiology reports are part of the computerized medical record system.

At the VMTH there are state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging (including CBCT, MRI and CT-scan) and laboratory services in support of a full service patient care program for all species. Operating rooms are available for major oral surgery and for dental procedures on large and zoo animals.

The Dentistry and Oral Surgery Service is housed in the Michael R. Floyd Dental Operatory Suite, a state-of-the-art facility. In addition, a Comparative Dentistry Laboratory and a twelve-table wet lab facility are available to the resident. A list of all equipment was submitted to the A.V.D.C.

An in-house dental technical laboratory is not available. However, commercial dental laboratories are available for the production of study models, prosthodontic and orthodontic appliances. The resident will spend 40 hours in a commercial dental laboratory, approved by the Residency Director.

Faculty participating in the program

Dr. Frank J.M. Verstraete, DrMedVet, BVSc (Hons), MMedVet, Diplomate of the AVDC, ECVS, and EVDC: Professor, Residency Director, 50% of clinical supervision, research mentoring.

Boaz Arzi, DVM, Diplomate AVDC: Associate Professor, Residency Supervisor, 50% of clinical supervision, research mentoring.

David C. Hatcher, DDS, MSc, MRCD(c): Clinical Professor Volunteer, ad hoc case discussions, practice visitation, participation in journal club.

Milinda J. Lommer, DVM, Diplomate AVDC: Clinical Assistant Professor Volunteer, ad hoc case discussions, practice visitation, participation in journal club.

Amy J. Fulton Scanlan, DVM, Diplomate AVDC: Clinical Assistant Professor Volunteer, ad hoc case discussions, practice visitation, participation in journal club.

Process of evaluation

Three-monthly progress meetings will be held and the evaluation system of the VMTH (Eval 360) will be used. The VMTH policy will be followed for disciplinary actions and dismissal of a resident.

The VMTH is committed to building strong relationships with its constituents. A major part of the residents' duties, therefore, includes timely communication with referring veterinarians and clients.


All A.V.D.C. credentialing requirements and the UC Davis research and publication requirements must be met before a residency certificate can be awarded.

State licensure

A California State License is not required.

SPECIAL NOTE: The California Veterinary Medical Board requires all veterinarians working at the University of California, Davis with primary patient care duties to hold a full California license or a University veterinary license. To obtain a University veterinary license, veterinarians who are not licensed in the state of California will be required to take a 3-day course on regionally-important diseases and a short open-book jurisprudence test, in addition to being background checked. The course will be provided by live webinar at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, usually in April. The cost of obtaining the University veterinary license will be the responsibility of the trainee. The limited license only permits individuals to work in California as veterinarians for University-related practice.

This position is a critical position and subject to a background check. Employment is contingent upon successful completion of background investigation including criminal history and identity checks.

Advanced degree during residency

Residents are not permitted to work toward an advanced degree during their residency training program.

California driver’s license

A California driver's license is not required.

Minimum qualifications

Graduated from a college or school of veterinary medicine accredited by the AVMA; or possess a certificate issued by the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG); or are legally qualified to practice veterinary medicine in some state, province, territory, or possession of the United States, Canada, or other country.

At least one year in a rotating internship or equivalent clinical experience.

Have demonstrated unquestionable moral character and professional behavior.

Requirements for foreign applicants: In addition to the minimum qualifications above, foreign graduates must also meet the following requirement.

Candidates should be US citizens, US permanent residents, or foreign nationals eligible for a J1 scholar visa (and at the time of application not be subject to holds, bars or in-country rules) or Canadian/ Mexican citizens eligible for a TN visa. We will NOT pursue other visa categories. Candidates will be expected to pay for their visa fees. The offer of a residency may be withdrawn if written evidence of a visa is not provided by July 1, 2021.

Information for Foreign Applicants

Application information

Selection will be in accordance with the guidelines of the veterinary internship/residency matching program (  For application procedures, salary and benefits, and other information about the residency program, please see GENERAL INFORMATION .

The University of California, Davis, and the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital are interested in candidates who are committed to the highest standards of scholarship and professional activities, and to the development of a campus climate that supports equality and diversity.

Residents must be able to arrive at the hospital within 15 minutes of an emergency call; therefore, residents must plan to live within 15 miles of the hospital.

It is essential that new residents be available to begin their residency on August 1.