The Orofacial Pain Master's of Science Program
The University of Kentucky College of Dentistry, through the University of Kentucky Graduate School, offers a Master of Science Degree in Orofacial Pain. This Master's Degree is offered by only a few universities in the United States. The program provides clinical, didactic and research training in the understanding, diagnosis, and management of temporomandibular disorders and complex orofacial problems. Although the Master's degree program is designed for completion in 30-36 months, the didactic and clinical components can be completed in 24 months. Appropriate scheduling and use of summer months can also shorten the research component considerably. The Master's Degree is awarded after an original research thesis is completed and formally defended and the results have been submitted in form of a manuscript to a peer-reviewed Journal.
Our educational philosophy is to create a collegial atmosphere which is conducive to learning but which is challenging, provocative, and one based on the development of critical thinking skills in clinical and scholarly activities. To achieve these goals, we provide a broad diversity of didactic and clinical experiences in the area of temporomandibular disorders, orofacial pain, oral medicine and sleep apnea.
The Orofacial Pain Master of Science Degree Program is comprised of three areas of study: didactic, clinical and research.
The Didactic Component. The didactic component consists of successful completion of 32 credit hours of designed graduate courses in the College of Dentistry. Half of these hours comprise a "core curriculum" taken in concert with Master's candidates from other dental specialties. Course content includes oral biology, oral pathology, neuroanatomy, growth and development, pain physiology, craniomandibular biomechanics, masticatory function and dysfunction, pharmacology, imaging techniques and statistics. Lectures are also presented by specialists in psychology, rheumatology, rehabilitative medicine, otolaryngology, neurology, headache, anesthesiology, oral and maxillofacial surgery and physical therapy.
The Clinical Component. Each resident actively evaluates and manages orofacial pain, oral medicine and sleep apnea patients in the Center. Approximately 50% of the resident's scheduled time is spent managing such patients. The program encourages a medical-biopsychosocial model for the diagnosis and management of orofacial pain rather than emphasizing manual dental skills to alter dental structures. Emphasis is placed on establishing a proper diagnosis and management plan and in developing appropriate relationships with medical specialists who can assist in diagnosing and managing the patient's specific pain complaint. Pharmacologic, psychologic, and physical therapies are combined with intraoral orthopedic appliances to routinely manage the orofacial pain patient. Various diagnostic and therapeutic injection techniques are also used when appropriate.
The Research Component. Each Orofacial Pain Master of Science Degree candidate completes 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.
Tuition. The tuition for the Orofacial Pain Master of Science Degree Program is determined by the University of Kentucky Graduate School. The tuition may change each year according to state polices. A stipend for the Orofacial Pain Master of Science Degree candidates may be available.
Admission Requirements. Each Orofacial Pain Master of Science Degree candidate must return two completed applications (College of Dentistry and University Graduate School Application) by October 1 of the year prior to the beginning of the program. Graduate School Applications must be accompanied by the application fee. However, the Graduate School does not require official transcripts at this point in time. The Application to the College of Dentistry Orofacial Pain Program should include official dental school transcripts and two letters of recommendation. Only if admitted to the Orofacial Pain Master’s Program, the candidate must send proof of passing either the National Dental National Boards (NBDE part 1 or 2) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) to the Graduate School of the University of Kentucky for acceptance in the Graduate School. At this point in time the Graduate School also requires official transcripts. Passing the internet based TOEFL or IELTS examination is also required for all students originating from countries where English is not the primary language. A visit to the Center for an interview is normally requested by the Admissions Committee. Participation in the OFP Fellowship program is highly recommended for acceptance in this program. Applications for the Master's Degree Program are accepted until October 1st. The Admissions Committee will notify the candidate of his or her acceptance by December 1.
Admission to the Orofacial Pain Master of Science Degree Program is based on the following criteria:
- Official dental school transcript
- Letters of recommendation
- Essay included in the application form
- Interview process
- National Board Dental Examination scores (when available)
- TOEFL score for those candidates who originate from a country where English is not their primary language
- Findings of the admissions committee
The Admissions Committee is composed of the Orofacial Pain Faculty members who will meet to discuss all candidates and select the most qualified candidate(s) by consensus.
The selection process for the Orofacial Pain Master of Science Degree Program follows the same non discriminatory policy endorsed by the University of Kentucky. This policy can be found at http://www.mc.uky.edu/meded/admissions/admissions_policy.asp.
If you wish to apply to the Orofacial Pain Master of Science Degree Program, complete the College of Dentistry application form and submit it either on-line or mail it to the following address:
Jeffrey P. Okeson, DMD
Director, Orofacial Pain Program
University of Kentucky
College of Dentistry
800 Rose Street, D142
Lexington, KY 40536-0297