Dental Career

Advanced Dental Training: You Have Options!

Dental Career

Advanced Dental Training: You Have Options!

A new dentist receives advanced dental training from his mentor at a CDP practice.

Dental school prepares you for a lot. Clinicals give you enough repetition of the most common procedures to provide a solid foundation to transition into practice. However, there will still be gaps between school and work. Finding your sea legs can be difficult once you join the workforce as a dentist. That’s where advanced training comes into play. But what options do you have for advanced dental training?

Postdoctoral Training Programs

Obviously, postdoctoral training programs are a great option. AEGD and GPR programs allow you to hone your skills, expand your scope of practice, and make informed decisions about specializations. However, these training programs also mean a longer wait before you can make a living in your new career.

There are some great benefits to AEGD and GPR programs. You’ll get hands-on experience in a wide variety of procedures, many of which you would rarely see in regular practice. Depending on what program you choose, you may see medically complex patients and patients in immediate danger as a result of advanced dental infections. For example, if you are considering specializing in maxillofacial surgery, one of these training programs may be a great bridge between your dental degree and specialty education.

However, these programs are not the only way to grow your skills. As discussed, learning on the job is a fantastic third option. With CDP’s onboarding process and mentoring program, you can get all the benefits of expert advice while earning an excellent dental salary!

Advanced Dental Training Through Learning on the Job

A dentist continues to learn on the job at her practice.

One of the best ways to learn is by doing. That’s why we believe learning on the job is a great option for advanced dental training that sometimes goes overlooked. Of course, not all practices invest equally in the teaching opportunity of bringing new doctors onto their teams. If you feel like you’d benefit from advanced dental training, the last thing you want is to join a practice that throws you to the wolves and leaves you to figure things out on your own.

CDP has worked diligently to design an onboarding process that will prepare newcomers to enter the practice confidently and competently, giving them ongoing opportunities for guided learning throughout their careers.

The CDP Onboarding Process

Our ten-week onboarding process covers every aspect of transitioning into the best dentist you can be. We typically aim to start training in the summer, about a month after new dentists have graduated and passed boards. With our carefully considered orientation process, you’ll work toward your career with CDP while waiting for your license to arrive!

A new dentist receives advanced dental training from her mentor on a humanitarian aid trip.

The process begins with a Humanitarian Outreach Trip to get you working right away at improving healthcare access for those with limited care. We aim to offer humanitarian outreach dental care once a year. Starting your CDP journey with this outreach mission will give you a good sense of our practice philosophy. We believe in serving the underserved and improving lives through oral health and education. It also allows our new team members to get to know us and each other! We’re big believers in building a sense of community in our practices, between our clinicians and our patients.

Following the trip, you’ll learn the ins and outs of sedation in the practice setting for two weeks. This is a tool we provide our dentists to assist in treating patients whose dental anxiety has blocked them from seeking treatment. Providing our dentists with the skills to focus on patient care, comfort, and the ability to adjust to the needs of patients is an integral part of the onboarding process.

You’ll learn all aspects of our practice, including the Support Center. We find all team members should understand what other team members do. It can help build mutual familiarity and respect, prevent communication errors, and help everything flow.

From there, it’s onto the really good stuff. In week five and onward, you will work with your mentor for hands-on training.


We cannot overstate how much we believe in dental mentorship. An effective mentor is invaluable to your development as a practitioner. We have specially selected dentists with the experience and drive to help newcomers thrive in our practices. Our mentorship program will partner you with a mentor who matches your personality and working style. 

Speak with our recruiting team! Schedule your call

You’ll complete a week of observations and shadowing, during which time you can complete your sedation observation log, which is required for sedation certification. This will allow you to practice planning sedation, confirm proper dosing, and experience patient management during sedation. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn treatment planning for pediatric and adult patients and sequencing of treatment plans.

Side-by-side mentoring is the true high point of our ten-week process. This is when you’ll start working in earnest, with guidance from your mentor. You’ll be able to gain speed and confidence so that you are ready to start working as a doctor in week eight. You’ll learn methods to ensure an excellent patient experience with every procedure. Your mentor will also help lay the groundwork for you to push yourself to new heights as you continue to develop in your career. You’ll learn speed, flexibility, how to communicate effectively with patients, and when to delegate tasks to your team.

By the eighth week of training, with a license in hand, you’ll be ready to start working.

Continuing Education

You’ve got options for advanced dental training, and CDP gives you a great learning path while earning.

Even after you start in your practice during week eight, your learning opportunities don’t stop there! Your mentorship will continue for several months as you begin your career. With regular follow-up sessions and check-ins with your mentor, you’ll be able to grow with confidence. And, of course, your mentor and other doctors will always be available for coaching or just as a sounding board to work through complex treatments as you continue to grow.

Throughout your dentistry career, you’ll also have Continuing Education requirements. We see CE requirements as more than busy work you’ll have to complete to keep your license. CEs can be a real opportunity to expand your skills and grow throughout your career. Lifelong learning is a key to dental career longevity. We support our doctors in providing Continuing Education credits and easy-to-access online learning.

For dentists, starting your career does not mean the end of your education! You’ve got options for advanced dental training, and CDP gives you a great learning path while earning. Schedule a call with a Hiring Manager to learn more about training on the job with CDP!

Dr. Craig Copeland
Dr. Craig Copeland Chief Dental Officer Community Dental Partners

A graduate of Brigham Young University’s Business Finance department and the University of Florida’s College of Dentistry, Dr. Craig Copeland, DMD first joined Community Dental Partners in 2010 after Co-Founder, Dr. Chad Evans invited him to an interview.

He instantly fell in love with CDP’s mission to elevate dentistry, make excellent dental care accessible, and provide unique and unforgettable experiences for underserved communities. The organization’s culture aligned with his beliefs, and he knew that CDP would offer him the ideal environment to grow.

Today, Dr. Copeland is the Chief Dental Officer of CDP and focuses on helping CDP’s doctors exceed in their careers through mentorship, training, and strengthening CDP’s support systems.

Dr. Copeland lives in Texas with his family, his wife and four children. He’s an avid sports fan; supporting his children in activities such as basketball, gymnastics, and soccer keeps him busy. He also likes to travel to new places with his family whenever possible.

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