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Oral medicine

Oral medicine interfaces dentistry and medicine and is concerned with the health care of patients with acute, chronic, recurrent and medically-related disorders of the oral and maxillofacial region including chronic facial pain.

​To many dentists the appeal of the specialty lies in the complexities surrounding diagnosis and non-surgical management.

 

Oral medicine is predominantly out-patient based, with referrals arising from dentists and medics in both primary and secondary care. It has links with a number of medical specialties including dermatology, gastroenterology, rheumatology, ophthalmology, genito-urinary medicine, haematology, psychology and psychiatry and joint clinics are increasingly common across specialties. Oral medicine specialists often teach undergraduate dental students in the UK medical problems of relevance in the dental practice, postgraduate education for those undertaking professional examinations and CPD for practising dentists.

 

Career pathway

To achieve a Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training in Oral Medicine requires a training programme of five years’ duration. This is reduced to three years’ duration for those who apply with a medical and dental degree. The basic entry requirement is two years of postgraduate foundation training in dentistry, including experience in primary and secondary care settings. A DCT/clinical teaching post in the specialty allows valuable experience/publications prior to applying for a specialty registrar position. A diploma of Membership of the Faculty of Dental Surgeons (MFDS) in a Royal College is not essential but strongly recommended. Application is via national recruitment, commencing 2019.

 

Training involves significant time spent in oral medicine outpatient clinics, seeing new and review patients and specialist medical clinics under the supervision of a consultant. Skills essential to oral medicine practice are excellent communication between you, your patients and colleagues, active listening, strong leadership and self-awareness, an inquisitive mind and a wish to improve your patient’s quality of life. Most oral medicine specialists will work either in the NHS as a consultant or in an academic university post with an honorary consultant appointment.

 

Further information

Join the British Society for Oral Medicine for clinical and governance updates and specialty meetings.