Orofacial Pain is the emerging dental specialty concerned with the diagnosis and management of pain and dysfunction of the motor and sensory aspects of the trigeminal nerve system. Previously this area of practice was referred to as temporomandibular disorders (TMDs); however, current evidence indicates that many patients have signs and symptoms outside of the masticatory system that directly affect their orofacial pain complaints. Orofacial Pain practitioners routinely deal with patients whose head, neck, shoulder or systemic conditions masquerade as facial pain. The modern practice of Orofacial Pain requires a distinctly unique blend of knowledge and skills in order to deal with a patient population that frequently "falls between the cracks" of traditional dental and medical practices.
In July 2001, the Naval Postgraduate Dental School (NPDS) opened the military’s first Orofacial Pain advanced training program. The program’s curriculum is based on the training guidelines of the American Board of Orofacial Pain and the International Association for the Study of Pain. The thirty-six month residency/twenty-four month fellowship provides participants with a comprehensive understanding of the physiology of pain and offers a wide variety of clinical experiences through both the NPDS Orofacial Pain Center and specialty rotations in the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center . Upon successful completion of the residency/fellowship, individuals are eligible to challenge the American Board of Orofacial Pain.
Although previous residency training is not a prerequisite, the majority of current orofacial pain providers have completed a prior residency program. Military dentists who pursue a second residency do not lose their additional special pay (ASP) during training and continue to receive annual payments for multi-year retention contracts signed prior to the start of the residency.
The Orofacial Pain program accepts one to three individuals per year and is open to all federal service dentists. Non-Navy dentists are encouraged to apply. For further information about the Orofacial Pain residency contact us