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A resident explains the sculpting process for a nasal prosthesis to a patient.

Clinical training

During your clinical training, you spend five quarters with each member of the prosthodontic teaching staff. You work closely with these consultants to manage the care of both inpatients and outpatients.

Patients are assigned to you according to the complexity of their problems and your knowledge and technical skills. You have increasing responsibility for patient care as you progress through each year of the program.

Rotation schedule

The following is a typical rotation schedule for a prosthodontics resident:

First yearLength
Complete denture prosthodontics 12 weeks
Dental laboratory procedures 12 weeks
Dental roentgenology 12 weeks
Oral and maxillofacial surgery 4 weeks
Oral pathology and orofacial pain 12 weeks
Second yearLength
Complete denture prosthodontics 26 weeks
Removable partial denture prosthodontics 26 weeks
Third yearLength
Fixed partial dentures 36 weeks
Implant prosthodontics 16 weeks

Rotation descriptions

Complete denture prosthodontics

The rotation in complete denture prosthodontics teaches you how to evaluate, diagnose, and treat a wide range of prosthodontic concerns. Special emphasis is placed on mandibular movement and maxillomandibular relationships.

Areas of focus include:

  • Articulators
  • Centric relation
  • Face-bow usage
  • Impressions
  • Insertion and post-insertion care
  • Jaw relationship records
  • Mandibular movements
  • Relines and rebases
  • Rest position
  • Selection and arrangement of teeth
  • Single dentures, immediate dentures and overdentures
  • TMJ anatomy and physiology
  • Vertical dimension

Dental laboratory procedures

During this rotation, you gain experience in fabrication techniques for complete dentures, removable partial dentures, fixed partial dentures, implant prostheses, and maxillofacial prostheses. Emphasis is placed on handling materials and the development of techniques that ensure repeatable and predictable results.

Oral and maxillofacial surgery

You spend one month in oral and maxillofacial surgery. Formal instruction topics include hospital charting, surgical notes, surgical scrub procedures, the hospital environment and CPT-4 (Current Procedural Terminology, 4th Edition) coding. During this time, training in hospital protocol is given.

This clinical rotation:

  • Provides you with a thorough knowledge of the workings of a major medical facility
  • Allows you to establish a comfort level in the operating room as well as the hospital floor and outpatient procedure center
  • Offers you an advanced understanding of interdisciplinary treatment with a major surgical service and elective surgical care

Oral pathology and orofacial pain

During this rotation, you study the clinical and histologic presentation of head and neck pathology. Lectures and seminars are presented in oral pathology, oral diagnosis and surgical pathology, along with clinical experiences.

Removable partial denture prosthodontics

The removable partial denture prosthodontics rotation gives you an opportunity to review treatment planning and clinical and radiographic examination. In addition, you study:

  • Abutment tooth modification
  • Components of removable partial dentures
  • Insertion and maintenance
  • Mouth preparation treatment planning for intra- and extra-coronal retainers
  • Partial denture classification
  • Partial denture support
  • Principles of design and philosophies of stress distribution
  • Surveying

Fixed partial dentures

During the fixed partial dentures rotation, you cover topics such as:

  • Tooth preparation
  • Margin design
  • Diagnosis and fixed partial denture design
  • Interim coverage
  • Gingival response to margin placement
  • Retraction methods
  • Pontics and connectors
  • Occlusal concepts
  • Articulator and face-bow theory
  • Impressions and maxillomandibular relationship records
  • Color and esthetics
  • Insertion and post-insertion care

Implant prosthodontics

In this rotation, special emphasis is placed on the historical development of implants and the scientific basis for current implant designs and materials. You receive an overview of dental implants and the principles and practices of implant prosthodontics. You gain extensive clinical experience in all phases of implant prosthodontic procedures.

Didactic training

Your didactic training will stress prosthesis maintenance and follow-up care. You become proficient in all aspects of the laboratory technology needed for fabricating fixed, removable, implant and maxillofacial prostheses. You also receive instruction in dental materials, the basic sciences and current literature in prosthodontics.

You attend a series of weekly seminars on all aspects of prosthodontics during the 12 quarters of your residency. You learn about examination, diagnosis, treatment planning and occlusion from many perspectives.

  • Fixed prosthodontic seminars. Include discussions about:
    • Cementing fixed restorations
    • Developing occlusal schemes
    • Fabricating provisional restoration
    • Managing gingival tissues
    • Performing impression procedures
    • Preparing teeth for partial or complete veneer retainers
    • Selecting shades
  • Removable prosthodontic seminars. Focus on all aspects of complete dentures and removable partial dentures, such as:
    • Developing occlusal schemes
    • Framework design
    • Impression techniques
    • Intracoronal and extracoronal retainers
    • Jaw relationship records
    • Surveying
  • Maxillofacial prosthetic seminars. Emphasize prostheses for congenital and acquired maxillofacial defects, including:
    • Management of patients undergoing surgical resection of the maxilla and mandible
    • Care of patients with facial defects
    • Diagnosis, treatment planning, and management of patients who need various types of implant prostheses
  • Implant prosthodontic seminars. Provide a background in current and historical implant procedures. Materials and designs are discussed to help guide you in making informed decisions about implant selection in your future practice. You also review scientific studies and data collection procedures, and cover the following topics in didactic and clinical experiences:
    • Osseointegration and biointegration
    • Root form implants (including threaded screws, cylinders and hydroxyapatite-coated implants)
    • Subperiosteal, endosseous, transosseous, hydroxyapatite and mandibular replacement implants

Case studies

You prepare patient presentations for multidisciplinary discussion throughout your residency program. In addition, you participate in the Craniofacial Conference, in which complex dentofacial deformity patients are evaluated and their coordinated treatment is planned with specialists from plastic surgery, otolaryngology, medical genetics, speech pathology, psychology, and social services.

Research training

You are encouraged to pursue a Master of Biomedical Sciences degree during Mayo Clinic's Prosthodontics Residency. If you are selected as a degree candidate, you will design and complete an original research project.

You have the equivalent of two quarters of research time to complete your project and prepare a written thesis. This research time takes place in years two through four, and does not replace a rotation.

If you do not choose to pursue the master's degree, you still have the opportunity to participate in research. You are assigned papers, clinical projects, or literature assignments at the discretion of the faculty.

Teaching opportunities

You may have the opportunity to teach Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine students and visiting students from other medical and dental schools through chair-side instruction and seminars.


To ensure that you acquire adequate knowledge and develop the appropriate technical skills to meet program expectations, your performance is monitored carefully during the Prosthodontics Residency. You are formally evaluated by supervising faculty members on a regular basis and meet with the program director to review these evaluations. In addition, you regularly evaluate the faculty to confirm that your educational needs are being met.

You must successfully complete oral and written examinations in prosthodontics each quarter and complete a final comprehensive written examination. In addition, if you are a degree candidate, you must successfully defend your thesis in an oral examination. Academic progress is monitored and residents with academic and staff potential are identified early and recommended to the department.