UW School of Dentistry

Oral Medicine Graduate Program


Oral Medicine is a unique discipline within dentistry that is focused on the diagnosis and non-surgical management of orofacial disease. Its primary goal is to ease the suffering of individuals whose management may fall between medicine and dentistry.

Training in Oral Medicine combines elements of both dental and medical education to enable graduates to provide holistic care for patients with orofacial disorders, oral manifestations of systemic disease, orofacial complications of medical therapies, and other medical complexities that may impact delivery of traditional dental care.

Program Overview, Goals and Objectives

The primary objective of our graduate program is to train a thoroughly qualified clinician and educator in the clinical discipline of oral medicine. To achieve this goal, it is necessary that the students in such a program be allowed the opportunity for advanced education in diagnosis, clinical oral medicine, and oral pathology.

Oral Medicine providers require considerable knowledge in the basic health sciences, a thorough understanding of the interplay of various disease process, and the ability to apply this knowledge to the clinical management of orofacial diseases. An intimate understanding of the instruments, procedures and other techniques used in the diagnosis of all oral diseases and a broad knowledge of treatment planning are also critical.

Graduate training will focus primarily on the non-surgical management of disease including, but not limited to, pharmacotherapy, physical therapy, biofeedback, counseling, and construction of appliances. Limited surgical interventions such as biopsy, incision and drainage, curettage, and aspiration will also be stressed where applicable.

The graduate program in Oral Medicine at the University of Washington is designed to provide extensive diagnostic and therapeutic training to clinicians desiring to expand their expertise in the diagnosis and management of:

  • Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD)
  • Nerve and neurosensory disorders (including burning mouth syndrome, oral and facial neuropathic pain, and trigeminal neuralgia)
  • Chronic orofacial pain (including psychosocial aspects of pain management)
  • Oral and mandibular movement disorders (including clenching/bruxism, dystonia, and tardive dyskinesia)
  • Diseases/conditions affecting the oral mucosa (including aphthous stomatitis. lichen planus, vesicullobullous conditions, and allergic/hypersensitivity reactions)
  • Oral dysplasia and other premalignant changes of the oral cavity
  • Salivary gland dysfunction (including Sjögren’s syndrome)
  • Obstructive sleep apnea/Sleep disordered breathing
  • Oral complications of cancer therapies (including chemotherapy and radiation)

The Oral Medicine department at the University of Washington operates a large clinical service with many complex patients with a variety of needs. Training primarily takes place through the Oral Medicine services at the University of Washington School of Dentistry and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. Residents also complete rotations within the department in the Dental Urgent Care, Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, and (Epithelial) Dysplasia clinics. Many graduate students also complete elective training in the DECOD clinic, providing care for patients with developmental and acquired disabilities. Medical rotations are completed at numerous clinics within the University of Washington Medical Center system including, Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Otolaryngology, Radiation Oncology, and Rheumatology.

In addition to preparing skilled clinicians, the graduate program is also devoted to the development of clinician scientists with a strong basis in research. To this end, all students enrolled in the Oral Medicine graduate program, will also complete training in critical thinking, research methodology, statistics, and the assessment of literature. All students will select an area of interest and, under the guidance of a faculty research committee, complete a Master’s thesis.

Many of our graduates have used these skills to pursue careers in academic dentistry – either primarily as scientists engaged in research or as faculty members devoted to the training of dental students and/or those engaged in dental specialty training. Others have used their training in private practices in oral medicine and/or the management of medically complex patients.

Master’s of Science in Dentistry (MSD) Requirements

To earn an M.S.D. through the Oral Medicine Graduate Program students must complete the following requirements:

  1. Completion of the core curriculum offered by the program.
  2. 24 Months of full-time clinical training with evaluation of clinical competencies and favorable recommendation by committee of graduate program faculty.
  3. Completion of an approved research project and Master’s thesis

The didactic core curriculum and clinical training portion of the program are designed to meet the University of Washington graduate school requirements for Master’s degree.

Application Requirements

  1. Successful completion of an advanced dental degree (D.D.S., D.M.D., B.D.S).
  2. Successful completion of NBDE Parts I & II (Consideration for admission will be given to exceptional candidates who have yet to complete part II; however, if accepted enrollment is contingent on successful completion of part II).
  3. English language proficiency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking (Candidates completing dental education outside of the United States or Canada must demonstrate their comprehension of the English language though successful completion of the TOEFUL iBT. TOEFL iBt scores must be at least 90 (out of a possible 120) for consideration for admission. Click here for more information on the TOEFL examination.

University of Washington Graduate School Admissions

Prospective applicant should apply to the program (DENTISTRY-Oral Medicine MSD) through UW graduate school admissions.  University of Washington Graduate Admissions information.

On-Line Enrollment

Once admitted to the graduate program, graduate students may register online for classes. Registration is now offered exclusively at myuw.washington.edu.