Orofacial Pain and Dysfunction

Length of Program: 2 years

Number of Positions: 4 Total (2 positions for graduates of CODA accredited dental schools and 2 positions for graduates of non-CODA accredited dental schools)

Financial Arrangement: UC Salary Breakdown

Program Director: Dr. Sherwin Arman

The UCLA Orofacial Pain and Dysfunction Postgraduate Training Program is a postgraduate certificate program renowned for providing hands-on experience in treating headache, neuropathic pain disorders, TMJ disorders, and obstructive sleep apnea. Heavy emphasis is placed on learning a medical model for assessing and treating patients, including developing competencies in neurological, stomatognathic, myofascial, and psychological assessment of patients.

Resident trainees will spend 3-4 days per week in the clinic treating patients and assisting faculty. The didactic curriculum is extensive because little of the required pain sciences are presented in pre-doctoral or post-doctoral training programs. A practitioner in orofacial pain needs a strong background in the basic and applied pain sciences. Topics include neurology, neuroanatomy, neurological examination, behavioral medicine, neurobiology of pain, neuropathic pain, headache disorders, musculoskeletal and myofascial pain disorders, pharmacotherapeutics for pain and pain management, occlusion and TMJ disorders, sleep apnea and orofacial dystonias.

Clinic experience is hands-on following an observational, probationary period that depends on demonstrating competency. The number of patients seen by resident trainees will depend on many variables to be determined by the clinic director and staff. Initially, more TMD patients with symptoms of arthralgia and myofascial pain may be assigned, and then the patient assignments may be expanded to more chronic pain profiles. The UCLA program gives treatment experience of the whole spectrum of orofacial pain conditions rather than limitation to screening, diagnosis, and referral for treatment.

Resident trainees will be responsible for patient care, documentation, writing reports to referring doctors, follow-up to patient calls, and urgent care. Resident trainees will work with faculty treating patients, attend didactic courses and prepare seminar, literature review and case materials. Resident trainees will share on-call pager duties when considered qualified by the clinic director.

Many students also extend or combine their studies to obtain an advanced degree (MS or PhD) in oral biology, which requires a separate application. Please refer to the Oral Biology Graduate programs for more information.

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Selection Process & Factors

Selected candidates will be invited to interview. If you have been selected, you will be notified by email.

Timing of Interviews: Late November

The admissions committee considers the following criteria in its decisions:

  • Academic achievement

  • Performance on NBDE

  • Content of personal statement

  • Content of recommendation letters

  • Interest in orofacial pain

  • Performance assessment/evaluations from faculty

This program does participate in the Postdoctoral Dental Matching Program. Accepted candidates are notified by email followed by an official letter of acceptance. Decisions will be available in early December. A letter of acceptance signed by the Program Director and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will be issued upon acceptance.

Accreditation Statement

The program in Orofacial Pain and Dysfunction is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association and has been granted the accreditation status of "Approval without Reporting Requirements”. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at (312) 440-4653, by visiting www.ada.org/coda, or by mail at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611-2678.