Orofacial Pain & Dysfunction

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Program Overview

Sherwin Arman, DMD, MPHS
Program Director

Trainees enrolled in the Orofacial Pain and Dysfunction Advanced Clinical Training Program will have a similar curriculum and experience as the residents in the two-year residency program, including courses and seminars. The goal is to provide hands-on clinical experience in treating headache, neuropathic pain disorders, TMJ disorders, and obstructive sleep apnea.


ACT trainees will spend approximately 2 and 2.5 days per week in the clinic and spend one additional day observing with faculty. The didactic curriculum is extensive because little of the required pain sciences are presented in pre-doctoral or traditional dental specialty training. A specialist in orofacial pain needs a competency background in the basic and applied pain sciences. Topics include neurology, neuroanatomy, neurological exam, behavioral medicine, neurobiology of pain, neuropathic pain, headache disorders, musculoskeletal and myofascial pain disorders, pharmacotherapeutics for pain and pain management, occlusion and TMJ disorders, sleep apnea and orofacial dystonias.

Clinic experience is hands-on following an observational, probationary period that depends on demonstrating competency. In the clinic, patients may be treated individually or in a team-based fashion as dictated by availability of chairs and patients. Furthermore, the number of patients seen by Advanced Clinical Training trainees will depend on many variables to be determined by the clinic director and staff. Initially, more TMD patients with symptoms of arthralgia and myofascial pain may be assigned, and then the patient assignments may be expanded to more chronic pain profiles. The UCLA program gives actual treatment experience of the whole spectrum of orofacial pain conditions, traditional temporomandibular disorders and dental sleep medicine rather than limitation to screening, diagnosis, and referral for treatment.

Once established in the program, trainees will be responsible for patient care, documentation, writing reports to referring doctors, follow-up to patient calls, and urgent care. Trainees may work with faculty treating patients as well as attending other classes and preparing seminar and case materials. Full-time trainees will share on-call pager duties with the orofacial pain residents when considered qualified by the clinic director.

Many students also extend or combine their studies to obtain an advanced degree (MS or PhD) in oral biology, which requires a separate application. Please refer to the Oral Biology Graduate programs for more information.

A certificate of attendance is awarded upon successful completion of the program. This certificate is not the same as the postgraduate program certificate awarded to full-time international postgraduates in specialty training as a qualification for recognition by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.

Length of Program: 1-2 years (Applicants must be prepared to begin during the summer quarter)

Number of Positions: Up to 4 (total enrollees in both ACT and Preceptor Program)

Fees: $26,000 per year, $6,500 per quarter (subject to change)*

Certificate Fee: one-time payment of $200

*Fees are due two weeks before the first day of each academic quarter.