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Year : 2002  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 27-29

Oral and maxillofacial surgery: Why the double degree?

Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Chima Oji
P.O. Box 3265, Enugu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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The International Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (IAOMS) is committed to quality patient care. The education of oral and maxillofacial surgeons has, however, been in constant evolution ever since the inception of this specialty; and this state of flux reflects the dynamic expansion of its scope. Oral surgery has a unique relationship with medicine and dentistry as it straddles both professions. To understand this dynamic expansion, it is pertinent to review the present scope of oral and maxillofacial surgery. Today an oral and maxillofacial surgeon's training includes management af trauma, surgical reconstruction of acquired and developmental deformities, temporomandibular joint surgery, dentoalveolar surgery, preprosthetic surgery including implants, management of odontogenic infection, management of oral pathology, and administration of general anaesthesia and sedation. The oral and maxillofacial surgeon routinely treats patients with systemic diseases such as acute and chronic alcoholism, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cardiovascular and pulmonary disease, adrenal excess or insufficiency, renal and hepatic disease, neurological problems, as well as drug abusers.1 The new requirement for oral and maxillofacial surgery training programmes is 48 months with rotations in anaesthesia, medicine, and surgery, and a minimum of 30 months in the oral and maxillofacial surgery service.2 Eighteen months of off-service rotations, most or all of which are taken at an intern or resident level instead of medical student or clerk level, give oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMFS) residents high-quality medical education. Their rotation on general surgery and surgical sub-specialties results in a broad exposure to the conclepts and principles of surgery beyond that provided by the oral and maxillofacial surgery rotation. It is the dental education that differentiates oral and maxillofacial surgeons from other surgical specialties; therefore formal dental education culminaing in a D.D.S or D.M.D. degree is strongly encouraged. It is most desirable that this formal dental education be complemented by formal medical education culminating in a medical degree.1

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