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Oral Medicine Residency Program

Program Director: Takako I. Tanaka, contact

Program Overview

Oral Medicine is a recognized specialty to diagnose and treat medically-related disorders and conditions affecting the oral and maxillofacial region, including oral mucosal diseases, orofacial pain conditions and salivary gland disorders and to treat medically complex dental patients.

The discipline of Oral Medicine was established at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine in the 1950’s and since then, Penn Oral Medicine has been at the forefront of training and promoting the study and dissemination of medical-related issues in dentistry. The Penn Oral Medicine Residency Program began training qualified practitioners in the early 1960’s, many of whom have gone on to become program directors at institutions both in the United States and abroad, senior dental school administrators, examiners on the American Board of Oral Medicine, and internationally respected clinicians, researchers and leaders in Oral Medicine. This program is fully accredited by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).

The objective of this Penn Oral Medicine residency is to train a thoroughly qualified clinician and educator in the field of Oral Medicine. See the program goals and objectives as well as the curriculum management plan (PDF).

In addition to extensive clinical experience, foundational knowledge in Oral Medicine is delivered throughout the residency program via a strong didactic curriculum. Opportunities for residents to explore particular areas of interest in Oral Medicine are encouraged. Also, opportunities for clinical and didactic instruction in undergraduate Oral Medicine courses and participation in departmental clinical and laboratory research projects prepare residents for an academic career in Oral Medicine.

The highly respected research environment at Penn Dental Medicine and throughout the University of Pennsylvania provides a valuable opportunity for students applying to residency programs to combine their specialty training with advanced research and academic opportunities. To that end, Penn Dental Medicine offers the 3-year Master of Science in Oral Biology (MSOB) and 5-year Doctor of Science in Dentistry (DScD) tracks in addition to the 2-year Oral Medicine certificate track for residents interested in pursuing advanced degree and enhancing the research training. On completion of the oral medicine clinical certificate track, residents admitted to the academic track are expected to immediately transition to either the MSOB or DScD program to continue their training. Through the MSOB and DScD programs, students are encouraged to pursue their individual research interests with projects that can span the diverse disciplines and research labs within Penn Dental Medicine’s basic and clinical sciences and across the University. Penn Oral Medicine residency program accepts up to 5 residents per year.

Clinical Education

Residents undergo their clinical training at the following sites to deliver the patient care and to fully support the program goals and objectives.

Hospital Facilities

Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine (PCAM) is a state-of-the-art outpatientfacility, designed to create an ideal environment for patient-focused care andcollaboration among health professionals. Oral Medicine clinic at PCAM is one of the primary rotation sites for the residents to gain exposure to a variety of oral mucosal diseases or orofacial pain disorders and consultation services for both outpatients and inpatients. Hospital of University of Pennsylvania (HUP) is the oldest university-owned teaching hospital in the country. The new building, the Pavilion, opened in Fall 2021 as a new benchmark for care delivery, houses 500 private patient rooms and 47 operating rooms in a 1.5 million square foot, 17-story facility across from HUP and adjacent to PCAM. Oral Medicine division responds to the consultation service requests either at bedside of the hospitals or Oral Medicine clinic at PCAM, including the diagnosis and management of oral complaints of hospitalized patients and the dental evaluation of pre-surgical, pre-radiation, and pre-chemotherapy patients. Penn Medicine Radnor is another primary clinical rotation site at Penn Medicine for OM residents. This center opened in Spring 2020 to replace the former center in the same area. It is a four-story, 250,000-square-foot multispecialty outpatient facility which offers comprehensive specialty care including the Abramson Cancer Center.

Dental School Clinics

Oral Medicine clinical service is mainly provided at the following clinics both of which have advanced radiology capabilities.

  • Personalized Care Suite (PCare) consisting of the Clinic for Persons withDisabilities and the Medically Complex Care Clinic. PCare has a six-chair open baywith the capacity to supply nitrous oxide, six closed operatories, wheelchair lift room, hover chair rooms, and a “quiet room” for patients sensitive to light and sound. Oral Medicine residents work with interdisciplinary faculty to serve patients with conditions that range from autism, Alzheimer’s, paralysis to movement disorders, complex medical conditions including infectious diseases and organ transplants.
  • Oral Medicine Clinic is a new clinic adjacent to Radiology clinic opened in the Summer 2020 to replace with the former Oral Diagnosis/Emergency Clinics at PDM. At this clinic, Oral Medicine residents serve to diagnose and manage a variety of oral mucosal diseases or orofacial pain disorders and consultation services for outpatients.

Offsite Rotations

Residents in Oral Medicine will be assigned to various medical services in medical wards or outpatient clinics. Here, they will function as an integral part of the health care system, directly involved with patient care and performing clinical clerkships. The following represent the core clinical clerkships in the curriculum. These clerkships can be modified according to the interests and experience of the resident.

  • Anesthesia/Pain Clinic — This rotation will allow residents to gain experience in the evaluation, diagnosis, and management of patients with chronic organic pain syndromes. In addition, residents will gain clinical experience in the use of local anesthetic block injections, physical therapy, and pharmacological treatment of oral mucosal lesions and facial pain.
  • Anesthesia — This rotation will allow residents to gain basic knowledge of and clinical experience in the pre-operative assessment of patients, principles of intravenous access, local anesthetic techniques, pharmacology, and airway management including intubation, induction, patient monitoring, and recovery from general anesthesia.
  • Dermatology — This rotation will allow residents to gain knowledge and clinical expertise in the evaluation, diagnosis, and management of dermatopathologic disorders.
  • Internal Medicine — This rotation will serve to introduce the resident to the fundamental principle of clinical internal medicine. Residents will function as third-year medical students under the supervision of medical interns in direct care of patients in the medical wards. In addition, this rotation will serve to strengthen the resident’s skills in obtaining a medical history, performing a physical examination, and the principles of laboratory medicine.
  • Neuroradiology — This rotation will allow residents to gain an understanding of the principles and techniques of head and neck radiology, including plain films, tomography, CT, MRI, and vascular imaging.
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery — This rotation will enable residents to gain clinical experience in surgical management and perioperative assessment of patients undergoing various oral and maxillofacial surgical procedures including TMJ arthroscopy, tumor surgery, orthognathic surgery, dentoalveolar surgery, and craniofacial reconstructive surgery.
  • Otorhinolaryngology — This rotation will allow residents to gain knowledge and clinical expertise in the evaluation, diagnosis, and management of common otologic and sinus disorders.
  • Phlebotomy — This rotation will allow residents to understand and recognize the need for venipuncture in a health-care setting, utilize various instruments, equipment and techniques for venipuncture, and to demonstrate a basic proficiency in venipuncture skills.

For more information regarding the discipline of oral medicine, visit The American Academy of Oral Medicine website.

Admissions Process

Application Deadline: October 1See Graduate Dental Education Programs Admissions Requirements and Procedures for detailed information and instructions.

All applications will be reviewed by the Oral Medicine Program Admissions Committee. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered. Decisions to interview applicants will be made by the Committee and such decisions will be communicated to applicants directly from the Oral Medicine Department.

A personal interview is required as part of the selection process. All selected applicants will be invited to interview at Penn Dental Medicine on a single day in December. Interview invitations will be sent via email shortly after the application deadline. Travel and lodging information will be sent to you via email from the administrative staff of the Oral Medicine department. The interview day will consist of attending departmental conferences, interviews with department faculty, a tour of the facilities, and lunch with faculty, residents and other invited candidates.

The Oral Medicine Program does not participate in the Match Process. Accepted candidates will be notified via email in early January. All admitted candidates are obligated to submit a non-refundable acceptance deposit in the amount of $1,000 within ten business days of acceptance. The Office of Graduate Dental Education will provide assistance to coordinate pre-enrollment activities such as establishing a PennKey for access to the University’s online resources, establishing a university email address, and initiating the visa process for international students.

Admissions & Academics

Interested in attending Penn Dental Medicine? Admissions