Program Director: Takako I. Tanakacontact

Program Overview

The Oral Medicine Residency Program prepares residents to diagnose and treat medically-related disorders and conditions affecting the oral and maxillofacial region, including oral mucosal diseases, orofacial pain syndromes and salivary gland disorders and to treat medically complex dental patients. This program is fully accredited by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).

The discipline of Oral Medicine was established at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine in the 1950’s and since then, Penn Dental Medicine has been at the forefront of training and promoting the study and dissemination of medical-related issues in dentistry. The Oral Medicine Residency Program at Penn Dental Medicine 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.

The objective of this Penn Dental Medicine residency is to train a thoroughly qualified clinician and educator in the field of Oral Medicine. See program goals and objectives (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 a Master of Science in Oral Biology (MSOB) and a Doctor of Science in Dentistry (DScD) that can be earned concurrent with a specialty certificate, preparing students to successfully enter the field of academic dentistry while also becoming skilled clinicians in specialty care. 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. Join us for a DScD program virtual open house March 16 »

Academic Track: MSOB and certificate (3 years), DScD and certificate (5 years)
Clinical Certificate Track: certificate only (2 years)
Number of residents accepted: up to 5 per year

GME (Graduate Medical Education) funding is available for both U.S. and Canadian citizens during their initial two years of clinical training.

Clinical Education

Residents undergo their clinical training at the following sites: University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine – The Department of Oral Medicine at Penn Dental Medicine oversees the School’s Oral Diagnosis, Emergency Care, and Radiology Clinic. In addition, the School’s Oral Medicine Clinic is equipped to deliver comprehensive dental care to medically complex patients in a modern physical facility.

Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) – HUP is one of the nation’s premiere health facilities, consistently rated among the nation’s best. The Division of Oral Medicine is located in the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine (PCAM) and Penn Medicine Radnor, which houses consultation rooms, surgical rooms, a nurses’ station, a fully-equipped dental laboratory, and resident and faculty offices.

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.
  • Hospital Consultation Service — This will enable residents to gain clinical experience in the diagnosis and management of oral complaints of hospitalized patients and the dental evaluation of pre-surgical, pre-radiation, and pre-chemotherapy patients.
  • 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 the management of soft tissue trauma, treatment of fractures to the facial skeleton, and perioperative assessment of patients undergoing various oral and maxillofacial surgical procedures (temporomandibular joint arthroscopy and / or surgery, tumor surgery [of benign and malignant lesions], preprosthetic surgery [including implants], orthognathic surgery, reconstructive surgery, dentoalveolar surgery, cosmetic surgery, craniofacial surgery, cleft lip and palate 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 1 — See 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.