Overview of the Match

Postdoctoral Dental Matching Program for Positions Beginning in 2020

Purpose of the Match

The Postdoctoral Dental Matching Program (the "Dental Match") provides an orderly process to help applicants obtain positions in postdoctoral dental education programs of their choice, and to help programs obtain applicants of their choice.

Similar matching programs are used across North America in the annual recruitment of doctors, pharmacists, psychologists, optometrists, podiatrists, and other health professions.

How It Works

  • 1. Apply to and Interview with Programs

    With the Match, applicants must still apply directly to programs they are interested in, and applicants and programs interview and evaluate each other independently of the Match. However, no offers are made by programs during the interview period. Applicants and programs can evaluate each other fully before the programs must decide on their preferences for applicants, and before applicants must decide on their preferences for programs.

  • 2. Submit Your Rank Order List of Preferred Placements

    After all interviews are completed, each applicant submits a Rank Order List on which the applicant lists the desired programs, in numerical order of the applicant's preference (first choice, second choice, etc.). Similarly, each program submits a Rank Order List on which the program lists the desirable applicants, in order of the program's preference. Each program also indicates the number of positions the program has available.

  • 4. Get Your Result

    The result of the Match is that each applicant is placed with the most preferred program on the applicant's Rank Order List that ranks the applicant and does not fill all its positions with more preferred applicants. Similarly, each program is matched with the most preferred applicants on its list, up to the number of positions available, who rank the program and who do not receive positions at programs they prefer.

    Applicants and programs do not receive information about the rankings submitted by other applicants and programs. Each applicant is given only the final result the applicant obtains in the Match. Each program is provided only with the final results of the Match, including the names of the applicants it obtains in the Match.

  • 5. Post-Match Process

    It is possible that all of a particular program's positions will not be filled in the Match, and that some applicants will be left unmatched. When the results of the Match are released, information regarding positions that remain available is provided to applicants who are not matched. Similarly, information regarding unmatched applicants is provided to programs with unfilled positions. These unmatched applicants and programs with positions available are free to contact each other and to negotiate directly with each other, independently of the Match, to fill available positions.

Read more about each stage of the Match process:

Advantages of the Match

Since all offers, acceptances, rejections and final placements occur simultaneously, the Match is an effective and fair means of implementing a standardized acceptance date. It allows programs and applicants to evaluate each other fully before determining preferences, thus alleviating the pressures to make premature decisions based on incomplete information. Furthermore, the Match alleviates many common adverse situations from the recruitment process, such as applicants hoarding multiple offers, and applicants or programs reneging on a prior acceptance in order to accept a more preferred program or applicant that has subsequently become available. Also, a program can be assured that it will not be matched with more applicants than it has available positions.

In the Match, both applicants and programs should list choices in order of preference, without consideration for how they will be ranked by the other party. Decisions by applicants and programs regarding rankings can be based on the applicants' and programs' true preferences for each other, without the need to speculate on the likelihood of subsequent offers being made or accepted.


The Sponsoring Organizations of the Match are jointly responsible for establishing the policies of the Match, and for monitoring the implementation of the Match. The Sponsoring Organizations of the Match are:

The administration and conduct of the Match is carried out by National Matching Services Inc. (NMS), on behalf of the Sponsoring Organizations.

The Match has been endorsed by the American Dental Association Council on Dental Education and Licensure, the American Dental Education Association, and the Veterans Administration.


The Match to fill postdoctoral positions in dentistry has operated successfully since 1985, when it was initially developed and organized by the Committee on Residency Education and Training of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. The Match has expanded since that time, and now includes the following types of programs: Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD), US General Practice Residency (GPR), Canadian General Practice Residency (GPR-CAN), Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMS), Orthodontics (ORTHO), Pediatric Dentistry (PED), Periodontics (PERIO), Prosthodontics (PROS) and Dental Anesthesiology (ANES).

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