maxillofacial surgon

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I have a question for the doctors in the house:
please help me out on this,
What it takes to be a maxillofacial surgon? how long is its residency
is it really difficult to get in to the program?


Toof Sniper
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Dec 13, 2001
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I, first, would like to let the record show, I am not an Oral & Maxillofacial surgeon, but that is the direction that I would like to pursue!

Now on to your questions:

Q: What it takes to be a maxillofacial surgon? How long is its residency?

A: Following graduation from four years of dental school, oral and maxillofacial surgeons complete a hospital-based surgical residency of at least four years. This residency includes training in medicine, general surgery, anesthesia and physical diagnosis. The core surgical training is identical to that provided to medical residents, and in most cases OMSs and medical doctors are trained together. Some OMS residents earn medical degrees through residency programs that integrate OMS and MD training (usually a Six-Year program - 3rd and 4th years of medical school integrated in the 4-year residency). All OMS residents, whether they hold a dental degree or a dental and medical degree, rotate through hospital medical, surgical and anesthesia services, where they perform the same duties and procedures as residents in medical specialties.

In addition to core surgical and medical training, OMS residency emphasizes diagnosis, treatment, and management of problems of the oral and maxillofacial region ? the mouth face and jaws. OMS residents spend at least 30 months focusing specifically on the oral and maxillofacial area. Because of this specialized education, oral and maxillofacial surgeons are licensed to perform many procedures that are also performed by physicians, including reconstruction of the nose, orbits of the eye, cleft palate and facial esthetic surgery.

(answer obtained from: American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons web site [www.aaoms.org])

Q: Is it really difficult to get in to the program?

A: In speaking generally, "YES"! OMS or OMS/MD is probably one of three most competitive dental specialty to get into among with Orthodontics and Endodontics. Here I have included some of the emails that I have received from various OMS program directors around the country in replying to my OMS selection inquiries:

From Dr. Swift, Univ. of Minnesota OMS
Dear Andy,

It is good to see that you are interested in OMS. It is a truly
rewarding and interesting profession.

Many programs look at NDBE and GPA as a screening mechanism to determine if you have the intellectual skills to perform well as a resident. As a general rule, you should look at the 90th percentile on NDBEs as a benchmark on both Part I and II. I do know that some programs use that mark as a minimum for acceptance into medical school. I think it is arbitrarily determined however.

We do keep data on residents applying to our program. We generally have 100 applications for our 3 positions. Realize that does not mean that only 3 of those 100 will train in OMS. Most candidates apply for about 10-20 programs. There are just under 2 qualified applicants per position in the US.

The dental school GPAs of our interviewees last year was 3.76 on a 4 point scale. The NDBE Part I score was 92%. The Part II score was 85%. 4% of our interviewees were female.

As far as research is concerned, I would suggest that you get started early with aspirations of presenting at the AAOMS annual meeting (deadline is April 1 for astracts for its fall meeting) and/or the AADR/IADR meeting held in March of each year with abstract deadline in the fall. The research experience will be looked upon with great favor.

Lastly, get to know the OMS faculty at Nova. Look for opportunities to do externships outside at other programs, generally offered in the summer.

If you have other questions, please contact me.

From Dr. Blanchaert, Univ. of Maryland OMS/MD
3.5 or greater (GPA)

90 or better 95 is best (NBDE I and II)

Top 10% of class - in small class size (<50) best to be #1 or #2

Work closely with faculty on anything - that makes them a good judge of your character, work ethic and stability - all great things to include in a letter of recommendation.

Most of all learn general dentistry as a priority - these others are just plusses.

From Dr. Carlson, Univ. of Miami OMS/MD
-Andy -

Your enthusiasm is appreciated. I wish every applicant to our
program would be similarly interested in proper preparation. My basic criteria for offering an interview to the program include excellent grades, part I board scores of at least 90% ( preferably > 95%), and excellent letters of recommendation. Aside from these, I would recommend research activities according to your interests.

Best wishes.

Eric R. Carlson, DMD, MD
Director, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Residency Program

I hope all this gives you an idea of what to do if you're interested specializing in OMS or OMS/MD. For more information, visit: