Advanced Esthetic, Restorative, and Biomaterials Graduate Residency

Edward McLaren, DDS, MDC and Nate Lawson DDS, PhD
Program Directors

The Master's in Clinical Dentistry program provides residents with the opportunity to enhance their research, biomaterials, and clinical backgrounds in the areas of advanced restorative and advanced esthetic dentistry. The program is 3 years and culminates with a Master’s degree from the UAB Graduate School.  When finished with the program, our goal is to produce highly trained, precision dentists who will be very competitive in applying for academic or industrial positions, enhanced clinical experiences for private practice, or have competitive advantage in applying for additional post-doctoral educational opportunities.

The Advanced Esthetic & Restorative Dentistry Component

This component of the three-year program is designed to offer comprehensive training in all aspects of esthetic and contemporary restorative dentistry. Experience given in the program includes review of esthetic dentistry and related literature, didactic presentations, and laboratory and extensive clinical training. The goal of the curriculum is to provide dentists with a scientifically based rationale for all diagnostic, treatment planning, and patient care decisions. This includes esthetic dental techniques, use of articulators, and training in other instrumentation, as well as the dental materials used in all aspects of esthetics and contemporary restorative dentistry.

The didactic format will include lecture, laboratory time (for clinical and technical procedures), literature review, and video review. The curriculum includes topics such as treatment planning and smile design (including occlusion), ceramic veneers, ceramic posterior restorations, esthetic metal ceramics, all-ceramic systems, computer-generated ceramic restorations, composites (direct and indirect restorations), contemporary esthetic materials, periodontal esthetics, and esthetic considerations in implants. The postgraduates will have patient care experiences after demonstrating proficiency in clinical techniques in a lab simulation setting. Half of the second and all of the third year of the program consists primarily of patient treatment. The third year is used for finishing ones thesis, preparing for and taking the board preparation course in operative dentistry, and gaining additional patient care experience.

This unique program will also co-function with a master dental ceramist and digital dentistry 3-year program for technicians that will be run through Continuing Education at the University of Alabama. Residents in the UAB dental masters program will work with the students in the laboratory program on the technical part of their cases with direct supervision of Dr McLaren and Dr Lawson and the Professional Educators in the esthetic laboratory. Students will have the opportunity to have the most up to date and highest quality and esthetic laboratory work for their patients obtainable.

Each postgraduate will also be able to go to selected esthetic courses that we offer through the Office of Continuing Dental Education at significantly reduced rates.

An academic certificate is awarded upon successful completion of the program. This certificate is not the same as the postgraduate program certificate awarded to full-time international postgraduates in specialty training as a qualification for recognition by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.
Some states in the U.S. allow 2-year graduates the opportunity for licensure. Please contact the individual states for specific requirements.

Biomaterials PhotographBiomaterials Component

Students are educated in basic material science, with a specific focus on dental materials. In addition to the classes taken at the School of Dentistry, courses can be taken in the School of Engineering, the School of Public Health, and the School of Medicine. This variety of course work allows the student to develop skills and knowledge necessary for productive research, clinical, and teaching careers.

Research Component

Students are offered research opportunities related to their interests and talents. Because of the diversity of projects at UAB, students will participate in a variety of research topics. Students typically rotate through the labs of their mentor and/or departmental faculty to assist with projects while learning laboratory skills and techniques.

Upon completion of the program, the successful Master’s candidate will be well-versed in current literature (dental biomaterials as well as clinical dentistry and specific research areas). They will be familiar with ADA specifications and testing and conduct a variety of in vitro tests. Students will be taught how to design and implement a research protocol, and also how to navigate institutional regulations concerning human subjects, animal, and research integrity issues. More information on possible areas of research interest can be obtained from our faculty page.

Clinical Dentistry

bio chair

As a relatively new addition to the Master’s program in biomaterials, residents are offered training in conducting clinical research trials. Patient experiences may include direct restorations, indirect resin restorations, single crowns and other aspects of general dentistry. Opportunities are available to observe and assist faculty members in advanced dental treatment cases. This portion of the program has been well received, and promises to add a unique and important dimension to the training program. It has been especially helpful to foreign-trained dentists, as it gives a unique perspective on differences in training between the U.S. and abroad.


Our goal is to see our Master’s students graduate with research experience and at least one publication, a solid background in dental biomaterials, and excellent clinical patient treatment skills in esthetic restorative dentistry. We feel these graduates will be well positioned for an academic career in the United States or abroad.


Applications to the Master’s in Clinical Dentistry program have been extended until March 25, 2017. The program begins July 1, 2017 and an orientation session will begin the week prior. The application form can be downloaded here. Along with the application, the following items will also be collected:

  1. Official GRE and TOEFL scores
  2. Application fee ($50)
  3. Three letters of recommendation (including one Dean’s recommendation)
  4. Dental school and college transcripts
  5. Financial Statement (international students only)