The GDC currently recognises 13 various fields of dentistry with regards to their specialist register. You are not required to join a specialist list to practise a specialty, however, only dentists on these specialist lists have the right to use the ‘specialist’ title. In this series of articles you can find out more about each specialty from experts in their respective fields, with advice on the career pathway as well as sharing their experiences as a specialist.
Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery deals with the diagnosis and treatment, both surgical and non-surgical, of diseases affecting the mouth, jaws, face and neck. Unlike the 13 specialties mentioned above, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, is recognised as a medical specialty in the UK and as such it is regulated by the GMC.
In the following article, Tom Handley discusses how you can establish a career in Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery.
Tom Handley | FRCS(OMFS), MRCSGlasg, MFDSRCPS, MBChB(Hons), BDS(Hons).Final Year Specialty Registrar Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery West of Scotland
Where have you worked and studied?
Istudied dentistry as my first degree in Newcastle, and this is where as a second year student my interest in this specialty was born following a series of lectures on the scope of the specialty. I knew from that point on this is what I wanted to do as a career. I went on to complete a VT year in the same region. My subsequent training moved to Glasgow, where I spent a couple of years as a senior house officer in a regional Maxillofacial unit, before returning to Dundee University to study medicine. During this period of additional study I continued to work in the specialty, gaining further experience as well as earning a living. I completed my foundation medical training in Tayside before returning to Glasgow to complete my core surgical training and my surgical membership exams. I am now almost near the end of my higher surgical training, and I have never looked back.
What is Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery?
Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery is the specialty that deals with the diagnosis and treatment both surgical and non-surgical of diseases affecting the mouth, jaws, face and neck.
A typical day…
Every day starts with a ward round to review the surgical inpatients, this is followed by either outpatient clinics (general or subspecialty) or the operating theatre and this can range from day surgery minor oral surgery or skin cancer resection and local flap reconstruction, to major head and neck cancer resection and microvascular free flap reconstruction. However, in reality there is never really a typical day, each one is different, you never know what will be waiting for you in the morning following the previous nights on call, or what is going to come through the door as an emergency during the day. Its exciting!
Career options after specialising…
For those completing a conventional training pathway, there are increasing numbers of NHS consultant posts available. A number of consultants in Oral Medicine in the UK have gone on to take positions as Lead Clinicians and Clinical Directors as well as senior positions in Deaneries and Royal Colleges.
Any other advice to a young student aiming to set off on the path to a career in OMFS?
As soon as you have an interest in something, get out there and explore it, the earlier the better. Speak to people in the job at all levels, arrange special study modules, electives and if you can, get involved in audit and research. Look at ways to enhance your CV all the time, remember for all jobs, all eligible candidates will have the same essential requirements of the job, what you need to add is the desirables! Good luck
- Speak to your local maxillofacial unit, especially the senior house officers
- Contact the consultants and register interest in either doing a special study module or taking up a post as a senior house officer
- Visit the website of the British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon (www.baoms.org.uk) for more information and updates on the specialty
- GMC: Curriculum for Specialist Training in OMFS (Oct 2013)
- For more information on applying for specialty training programmes in your area, contact your regional postgraduate dental dean: www.copdend.org.uk
- Exemplar StR post person specification (2015)
- The Gold Guide – A reference guide to postgraduate specialty training in the UK
- Medical and Dental Recruitment and Selection website: http://specialtytraining.hee.nhs.uk
- Specialty Recruitment Applicant Handbook
- General Dental Council specialist page: www.gdc-uk.org/Dentalprofessionals/Specialistlist/Pages/default.aspx