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Graduate Programs in Orofacial Pain

Master of Science Program

The Orofacial Pain Master of Science Degree Program includes didactic, clinical and research components.

The didactic component consists of 32 credit hours of graduate courses in the College of Dentistry. In addition to a core curriculum, lectures are presented by specialists in psychology, rheumatology, rehabilitative medicine, otolaryngology, neurology, headache, anesthesiology, oral and maxillofacial surgery and physical therapy.

The clinical component involves approximately 50% of a resident’s time evaluating and managing orofacial pain, oral medicine and sleep apnea patients in the Center. The program encourages a medical-biopsychosocial model for the diagnosis and management of orofacial pain rather than manual dental skills to alter dental structures. Emphasis is placed on establishing a proper diagnosis and management plan, including collaborations with appropriate medical specialists. Pharmacologic, psychologic, and physical therapies are combined with intraoral orthopedic appliances to routinely manage orofacial pain patients, including injections when appropriate.

The research component requires each Master of Science Degree candidate to complete a thesis developed from original research in an area of orofacial pain or temporomandibular disorders. The Degree is awarded after successful completion of all course work, a public defense of the thesis, and submission of the research to a peer-reviewed Journal.

Certificate and Fellowship Programs

These programs are both specifically designed for dentists who wish to gain a broad-based experience in the field of orofacial pain.  The certificate program lasts two years, while the fellowship is a one-year program.

Orofacial Pain residents and fellows attend all weekly seminars, case presentations and literature review sessions offered by the Center, and have the opportunity to enroll in a variety of Master’s Degree courses offered throughout the year. In addition to a core curriculum, lectures are presented by specialists in psychology, rheumatology, rehabilitative medicine, otolaryngology, neurology, anesthesiology, headache, oral medicine, oral and maxillofacial surgery and physical therapy.

Successful management of pain conditions is based, in part, on the ability of the clinician to obtain a comprehensive history through verbal communication and skillful understanding of the patient’s complaints. If a resident or fellow originates from a country where English is not the primary language, he or she will need to demonstrate superior verbal and comprehension skills in order to actively participate in the clinical assessment and management of patients. The Program Director and the Clinic Director will determine the level of clinical participation, in consultation with other faculty members.

All Orofacial Pain residents and fellows are required to research significant articles related to an approved topic and write a review article suitable for submission to a peer-reviewed Journal.  They may also have the opportunity to participate in ongoing research efforts in the Center, depending on the availability and type of research activity at the time. The Director of Research will determine the degree of research participation for residents and fellows.