One of the newest of the recognized advanced dental education disciplines, oral medicine is the specialty of dentistry responsible for the oral health care of medically complex patients and for the diagnosis and management of medically related diseases, disorders and conditions affecting the oral and maxillofacial region. Oral medicine is primarily a non-surgical specialty with procedures limited to diagnostic biopsies, small excisions, therapeutic injections and other minor surgical interventions. In many cases, conditions are managed medically with the use of topical and systemic medications.
The completion of dental school to obtain your degree (e.g., D.D.S., D.M.D., or non-U.S. equivalent) is required prior to enrolling in an oral medicine training program. Some programs require completion of a one-year general practice residency program. Some programs have the opportunity to obtain other advanced degrees (e.g., Master’s or Ph.D.) and these are typically three to five years in length. There are six Commission on Dental Accreditation-recognized oral medicine programs in North America that range from 24 to 36 months in length. Not all programs may be accepting applicants.