The aim of this study was to determine the difference between the intended education by advanced education in prosthodontics (AEP) program directors and the perceived education received by AEP residents with respect to concepts of esthetic dentistry. Residents' confidence levels and current practices were also determined based on program level, with first- and second-year residents combined into "junior residents" and third- and fourth-year residents combined into "senior residents." Surveys were distributed to all U.S. and Canadian AEP program directors (N=52) in 2014 and residents (N=393) in 2015. The seven questions asked of directors and 20 asked of residents assessed resident training. The response rate for directors was 59.6% and for residents was 27.3%. Statistically significant results were found between the responding program directors' perceived education on esthetic principles and the responding residents' perceived education. The senior-level residents were more confident in each of the categories than residents at the junior level, although the difference was only significant for selecting porcelain systems to match inherent translucency, transfer of information to the laboratory, and surface staining or characterization. There was a difference between the program directors' intended teaching and the residents' perceptions with regards to bleaching, shade matching, selection of porcelain systems, transfer of information to the laboratory, and surface staining or characterization. The residents' confidence levels were higher at the senior level than those at the junior level in selecting porcelain systems, transfer of information to the laboratory, and staining/characterization. Faculty members in advanced prosthodontics programs may be able to use these findings to improve their residents' education in these areas.
Keywords: advanced dental education; dental esthetics; prosthodontics; shade matching; tooth bleaching.