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Oral Maxillofacial Surgery fascination--a med school applicant this year

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by lady in red, Nov 10, 2001.

  1. lady in red

    lady in red Senior Member
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    I am a med school applicant this year. Anyways, to make a long story short, I got totally fascinated with oral/maxillofacial surgery. It amazes me so much, I can sit there all day and look at the before/after pictures of cleft palate patients and wonder how one can do something like that. I myself had OMFS surgery recently.
    So, I am having serious second thoughts about med school and thinking of applying to dental schools next year. I don't know if it's the right choice though and if I can prepare a dental school application in a year. I have no experience working in a dental office, and haven't taken DAT. Also, if you guys have any info regarding OMFS as a career vs. "regular" medical surgery specialties, any info would be appreciated.
     
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  3. lady in red

    lady in red Senior Member
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    I guess my main questions is, why would one choose OMFS over other surgical specialties? I tried asking docs and residents, but they are so busy... :confused: :confused: <img src="confused.gif" border="0">
     
  4. godfather

    godfather Member
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    become a plastic surgeon or even a ent surgeon both are very good at fixing cleft palates. I know a plastic surgeon that every 2 or 3 years goes to south america to fix cleft palates for free. it seems like a very rewarding career.
     
  5. ehop24

    ehop24 Senior Member
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    i spent 4 months working for a OMFS. in the end, he said that he would not make the same decision. he went to dental school, then to med school, then did surgical residencies, just to work from the neck up. for all the time he had spent in school, he wishes he had just become a general surgeon, because there are fewer limitations. it's almost like the 4 years of dental school was a waste to him. he makes very good money and he is well respected, but in the end, it wasnt worth it. and i think that is starting to become a trend. i don't have any hard proof to back it up, but from what i've heard, whereas OMFS specialization was once highly competitive, it has since cooled off. this corresponds to the essential requirement for the 10 year dual degree (dds and md) as opposed to the dds plus the OMFS certification. as it stands now, many of the non-md OMFS are going back to med school to get their md.
     
  6. lady in red

    lady in red Senior Member
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    thanks ehop. wow, I didn't think of it. Also, are you sure you absolutely need an MD to be OMFS?
    My understanding was, as long as you do a residency, which is like 6 years, you can practice. but you are right, the years in dental school would seem like a waste. I know it is 'from the neck up', but so are most other surgical specialties--they are too specialized.
    do you guys know of any web resource on OMFS, except for all the "association" sites, which are mostly for patient info?
    thanks again
     
  7. anamod

    anamod Senior Member
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    I agree wiht ehop24 in that the competitiveness of the OMFS spot are becoming less intense. A great deal of this has to do with the fact that a lot of people are realizing that the 4-6 spent is not worth the time and effort, when one can specialize in endo. and make a great deal more with only 24 months extra training. As far as scope of practice goes the oral surgeon that I shadow said the only difference between the 4 yr m.s. and the 6 yr MD is the prestige factor. There are very few limitaions as to what a 4yr vs. a 6yr degree can do. Now with that said I think it would be to a persons advantage to obtain th 6yr if that person wnated to go into subspecialize (cleft lip, cosmetic etc...). This is just my two cents on the matter.
     
  8. anamod

    anamod Senior Member
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    your right lady inred you don't have to have an md to be an omfs
     
  9. Big_Poppa DDS

    Big_Poppa DDS Senior Member
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    Become a plastic surgeon!!!!!
     
  10. lady in red

    lady in red Senior Member
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    thanks for all replies, people. if anybody else knows something, PLEASE share. I don't think i want to be a plastic surgeon, Poppa. i am not interested in just cosmetic stuff. the thing that attracts me about OMFS is that there are so many things you can do--implants, orthognathic, TMJ, clefts, so on. i don't think plastics or even ENTs can have that level of expertise on the facial area.
     
  11. anamod

    anamod Senior Member
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    From what it sounds like OMFS is what you should go into. This is just my 2 cents
     
  12. waiting

    waiting Senior Member
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    ladyInRed,

    I can feel your dilemma....I was in med school and am now switching and applying to dentistry...initially, I was really interested in orthodontics and that's what attracted me the most...however, I've gained a great deal of exposure to OMFS and am now totally in love with it, much more so than ortho....

    true, the trend now is more towards 6 yr. OMFS residencies vs. 4 yr. programs....however, most programs are currently still 4 yrs. From what I've heard from dentists, this switch in trend has more to do with the fact that the dual degree OMFS aren't as limited in the procedures they can do. In most 6 yr. programs, you usually spend the first two yrs. basically as a med student for two years (doing various rotations and taking the boards) before going on to actual OMFS training (and many programs immerse you in general surg. and what not in addition to OMFS early on....

    However, there are a couple 4&5 yr. dual-degree OMFS residency programs I know of...U. of Louisville has a 5 yr. program, and Penn has a 4 yr. program if you're also a Penn dental graduate....

    Anyway, I would say go with what really fascinates you rather than pursue something b/c it's more logical...if you're really passionate about OMFS, then go ahead and pursue that and don't think of the 4 yrs. in dental school as a "waste"...the training you get in manual dexterity skills as a dentist will be invaluable to you as an OMFS, and will always leave you w/a sort of 'backup' career in general dentistry if you ever tire of OMFS or what not...

    I dunno if any of this helped?? But like I said, I'm a fellow OMFS purist and just thought I'd drop my 2 cents on the matter...
     
  13. dragonfly9

    dragonfly9 Frickin' Chicken
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    I can understand where you're coming from lady in red. What really convinced me that I wanted to go into dentistry, although I had considered medicine, was OMFS. I was amazed with the results of the surgeries. Although I'm not sure if I want to specialize, the more I looked into the field of dentistry, the more I liked what I saw.
     
  14. ricegirl

    ricegirl Senior Member
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    Lady in Red,

    Before you make a big career decision, I think you should hang out some more with some OMFS surgeons. It sounds like you are interested in a lot of different aspects that these surgeons work on (don't forget trauma, craniofacial, and difficult extractions). If you are interested in the cleft palate type things some schools have cleft palate teams which take on cases for free - you may want to contact them and express your interest to see if they will let you observe. In the teams, you'll notice how closely OMFS works with ENT, plastics, pediatric dent, ortho, etc. Kids with cleft palate also have a multitude of other disorders which may require long-term treatment.

    Others have noted that the competitiveness for OMFS is declining, but even so, programs take very few people (ie - 4 people are accepted into the 6 yr program at UT Houston). The programs are hard on you and are intensive, regardless of how competitive they are.

    On a last note, I think it's hard to decide whether or not you should withdraw your med school application to go into OMFS if you aren't interested in other aspects of dentistry... because, after all, OMFS is an specialty of dentistry. Lots of people go in with the perspection that they want to specialize, but change their minds in the process.

    I hope I wasn't being harsh, I think you should get your feet wet first before making such an important decision. Try to find an oral surgeon who has similar interests to your own. good luck!

    ricegirl
     
  15. lady in red

    lady in red Senior Member
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    thanks for all replies people. I will see this year--if med school thing does not work, i guess i'll flip a coin for the next year--apply to both dent and med schools. OMFS surgeons seem to be the busiest doctors--i asked a couple of them to let me shadow them--told me something like come back in 3 months/
     

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