Oral and Maxillofacial Diagnostic Sciences

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Division Overview

The Section of Oral Medicine manages education, research and patient care. The focus of the educational component is dental management of the medically complex patient. In addition to the didactic component, the faculty participate clinically in the assessment and admission of patients for the School's clinical programs, as well as dental treatment planning for patients with medical conditions. The Section houses active referral services for problem cases in oral medicine, oncology, and chemosensory disorders.

Section faculty collectively conduct a broad range of basic, translational and applied research. The faculty also have extensive involvement with professional organizations at regional, national and international levels.

The Section of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology is responsible for the pre- and postdoctoral didactic and clinical curricula involved with diagnosis and management of diseases of the oral and maxillofacial complex. In addition, the faculty also are actively engaged in continuing education, institutional service, and patient care.

The Section’s Oral Pathology Biopsy and Clinical Service is a diagnostic resource for both intra- and extramural dentists and physicians in the state, throughout New England and beyond. Both of the oral pathology providers in this service are Diplomates of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. These faculty also practice in the Clinical Oral Pathology Consultation Service, a component of University Dentists, where patients can be referred for diagnosis of clinically challenging oral mucosal and jawbone conditions, disease management and long-term follow up.

The Section’s faculty work intimately with faculty in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, other School of Dental Medicine divisions and centers, and are involved in the emerging oral/head and neck oncology program of the University’s Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Section faculty work collaboratively, both intra- and extramurally in research efforts focused primarily in oral cancer and precancerous lesions. The faculty also contribute to advancement of their profession at regional, national and international levels.

The Section of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology offers clinical training in oral and maxillofacial radiology combined with a Master of Dental Science or Master of Clinical and Translational Science Degree in a 36-month combined program. This program is designed to prepare residents for academic, hospital or private practice careers in the newest ADA-recognized specialty.

Students are expected to develop the clinical and academic skills needed to function effectively in private practice, a hospital, or an educational institution, and to use complex imaging systems in the diagnosis, study, and management of oral and maxillofacial diseases and conditions. Students are eligible to challenge the American and Canadian Boards of Oral & Maxillofacial Radiology Certification Examinations upon completion of this program.

The combined certificate/degree programs are intended for those who wish to pursue careers as teacher-researchers and applicants are strongly encourage to apply for a combined program. These programs emphasize scientific methodology and development of skills for the conduct of collaborative or independent clinical or laboratory research, manuscript writing, and grant preparation.

Academic Program

The Section of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology offers a 3-year training program leading to a clinical certificate in oral and maxillofacial radiology and a Master of Dental Science or Master of Clinical and Translational Science degree. The clinical certificate program also may be taken combined with a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences degree. Strong clinical and research based faculty members make this a unique program designed to prepare residents for academic, hospital or private practice careers in the newest ADA-recognized specialty.

Objectives

The clinical certificate portion of the program prepares residents for OMFR private practice, hospital or academic careers in teaching and patient care. Residents are expected to develop the clinical and academic skills needed to function effectively in private practice, a hospital, or an educational institution, and to use complex imaging systems in the diagnosis, study, and management of oral and maxillofacial diseases and conditions. Residents are educated and eligible to challenge the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology Certification Examination upon completion of this program. The graduate degree portion of the program emphasizes scientific methodology and development of skills for the conduct of collaborative or independent clinical or laboratory research, manuscript writing, and grant preparation.

Program Strengths

The strong and diverse faculty is known for its significant contributions to the imaging sciences, radiation safety, and understanding of cancer, bone biology and radiation biology. Active research programs are underway in both clinical and laboratory settings.

Flexibility in program structure allows residents to tailor their training toward personal career goals.

The clinical imaging facility presently includes digital imaging equipment, panoramic, cephalometric, and conventional intraoral x-ray equipment, and small and small-large volume ConeBeam CT instruments. The OMFR clinic is a digital imaging facility linked to an electronic patient record. Further advanced imaging experience is attained through Diagnostic Radiology rotations in the John Dempsey Hospital Department of Diagnostic Imaging and Therapeutics.

Combined Programs in Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology

The Section of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology provides clinical training leading to a certificate of specialty training combined with a graduate program leading to a Master’s or Ph.D. degree. The certificate portion of the program is based in the Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology Section of the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine. Academic and clinical studies include radiation physics, radiation biology, radiation health physics, head and neck anatomy, pathology, imaging sciences, interpretation of conventional, contrast enhanced, and digital images, ConeBeam CT, Medical CT, MRI and other imaging modalities. Residents take clinical rotations in medical diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine with an optional rotation in radiation oncology. Residents gain substantial experience teaching in clinical and seminar settings as well as in the classroom. This program is usually taken combined with a program leading to a Master of Dental Science or Master of Science in Clinical and Translational Research degree, although it may be taken combined with a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences degree. These combined programs usually last three years (Masters Degree Programs) or five years (Ph.D.), depending on the research background of the candidate. The objectives of the combined programs are to develop clinical competence in Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology combined with the research expertise to enable the graduate to pursue either a clinical career in private practice, an academic career involving teaching and independent or collaborative research, or both. Didactic, research, and clinical components develop simultaneously throughout the program, although different components are emphasized at different times.

The general program is outlined below.

Didactic Core Curriculum

  1. Radiologic sciences, including: radiation physics, radiation biology, and health physics; and basic sciences, including: head and neck anatomy, biostatistics, general pathology and advanced oral pathology are required for the M.Dent.Sc. degree.
  2. The above curriculum plus required and elective basic science courses, including biochemistry, cell biology, and molecular biology are required for the Ph.D. degree.
  3. Both the Masters and Ph.D. degree programs require the completion of a thesis performed under the guidance of a major advisor and advisory committee selected during the first one to two years of the program. The clinical certificate is granted only after the Masters or Ph.D. thesis has been successfully defended.

Clinical Training

Clinical training occurs throughout the program, but is emphasized after the didactic core curriculum is completed. Instructional content includes imaging physics and techniques, image interpretation, radiation health physics, and quality assurance. Rotations are taken in medical radiology and nuclear medicine, with an optional rotation in radiation oncology. Multiplanar anatomy and CBCT image acquisition, processing and volume interpretation will comprise a significant portion of the didactic curriculum and clinical practicum. Substantial predoctoral didactic and clinical teaching experiences are also important parts of the clinical training.

Fees and Support

The Advanced Dental Education Fee for the Clinical Certificate Program is $12,000 per annum. The Advanced Dental Education Fee will be $25,000 per year effective July 1, 2017 for newly entering residents. Graduate School tuition and fees are the responsibility of the trainee. Residents in the OMFR programs receive support during their training; for citizens or permanent residents of the USA who graduated from a USA or Canadian dental school, and for citizens of Canada with a TN Visa and who graduated from a USA or Canadian dental school, a stipend of $24,000 per annum and health care coverage is provided. For all other residents a stipend of $13,000 per annum in provided.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for the Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology programs include the following:

  • Completed application.
  • $75 application fee payable to UConn Health Center.
  • If applicable, $75 application fee payable to the University of Connecticut Graduate School.
  • Original or official copy of transcripts from all undergraduate and professional schools.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • A TOEFL score in excess of 550 for paper-based exam or 79 for computer-based exam for all graduates from non-English speaking countries. Part I, Part II or both parts of the Dental Board Examination are not required for admission, but are strongly recommended.
  • Original or official copy of certificate of class standing.
  • Original or official copy of dental diploma.

The application deadline for the OMFR Clinical Certificate Program is September 1 of the year preceding July matriculation.
A separate online application must be submitted to the University of Connecticut Graduate School to apply for either Master’s Program or the Ph.D. Program.

For more information, contact:

          Jo-Ann Gates
          Program Coordinator
          Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
          Phone: 860-679-2952
          Fax: 860-679-4760

 

Faculty

Oral Medicine Faculty
Section Chair and Professor
Douglas E. Peterson, D.M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Rajesh V. Lalla, D.D.S., Ph.D., C.C.R.P.
Clinical Professor
Charles E. Barr, D.D.S., M.S.
Professor Emeritus
Jason M. Tanzer, D.M.D., Ph.D., D.H.C.

Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology Faculty
Section Chair and Professor
Ellen Eisenberg, D.M.D.
Assistant Professor
Easwar Natarajan, B.D.S., D.M.S.
Assistant Clinical Professor
Yolanda P. Frontera, D.D.S., M.D.S.