Orofacial Pain & Dysfunction

Contact Us

Please email 
postdds@dentistry.ucla.edu
for any questions or for more information.


Program Overview

Robert L. Merrill, DDS, MS
Program Director

Preceptors in the Orofacial Pain and Dysfunction Preceptorship Program are treated the same as other residents in the specialty. Preceptors will take courses and seminars with the Orofacial Pain and Dysfunction residents. The goal is to provide hands-on clinical experience in treating headache, neuropathic pain disorders, TMJ disorders, and obstructive sleep apnea.

Preceptors spend two and a half days per week in the clinic and spend one to two additional days observing with faculty. The didactic curriculum is extensive because little of the required pain sciences are presented in predoctoral 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, and neurological exam; laboratory and behavioral medicine; neurobiology of pain; neuropathic pain; headache disorders; musculoskeletal and myofascial pain disorders; pharmacotherapeutics for pain and pain management; occlusion and TMJ disorders; and sleep apnea and orofacial dystonias.

Clinic experience is hands-on following an observational probationary period that depends on the participant's prior experience. Initially more TMD patients will be assigned, and then the patient assignments will 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, preceptors will be assigned patients in the clinic two days per week, and will be responsible for patient care, documentation, writing reports to referring doctors, follow-up to patient calls, and urgent care. Preceptors may work with faculty treating patients as well as attending other classes and preparing seminar and case materials. Full-time preceptors 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 Programs page 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: 2 quarters. Applicants must specify the quarter they would like to begin and the length of program they desire. It is encouraged for preceptors to begin during the summer quarter for the one year Orofacial Pain and Dysfunction Advanced Clinical Training Program.

Please note: Should hands-on clinical experience be desired, preceptors must enroll in a minimum of 2 quarters.

Number of Positions: 2 (total enrollees for IPTP and Preceptor Program)

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

Certificate Fee: one-time payment of $200

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