Orofacial Pain Advanced Education Program

Orofacial Pain is that branch of dentistry which involves the basic mechanisms and principles of diagnosis and management of pain and dysfunction associated with the hard and soft tissues of the head, face, neck, and all the intraoral structures. Within the diagnostic range are headaches, and musculoskeletal, neurogenic, and psychogenic pains.

Temporomandibular disorders (TMD), a collective term embracing a number of clinical problems specifically related to the masticatory musculature, the temporomandibular joints and associated structures, or both are also included in the field of orofacial pain.

To become competent in the practice of orofacial pain, the post graduate student must gain a current working knowledge of the basic and clinical science of general and orofacial pain, be competent to perform a proper assessment of patients including history taking and physical examination, and develop a management plan. The management plan must be evidence-based and consistent with standards of care set forth by the scientific literature.

Orofacial pain evaluation and treatment is often a shared responsibility between the dentist and physician and considerable overlap exists between the two professions that is distinguished only by the individual's knowledge and training. We believe that training in oral medicine, which involves the diagnosis and primarily nonsurgical management of local diseases of the oral cavity and surrounding structures as well as oral manifestations of systemic disease, also provides an essential link between the dental and medical practitioner. Based on this philosophy, significant areas of oral medicine are also incorporated into the orofacial pain training programs to enable students in this field to have a challenging opportunity to integrate and synthesize basic science and clinical knowledge and apply this information to the field of pain management.

Orofacial Pain One-Year Advanced Education Program

This program is specifically designed for the dentist who wishes to gain a scientific background and additional clinical training in the diagnosis and management of patients with orofacial pain.

Educational Requirements

The Program is a one-year full-time, program that offers the dentist a collegial environment to accomplish his/her personal objectives. The curriculum is comprised of didactic assignments, clinical experience, medical and dental rotations, and teaching responsibilities. Different types of learning experiences include seminars, lectures, workshops, and self-study activities. Although there is considerable flexibility in the selection and sequencing of the didactic and clinical components, each post graduate student is required to complete a series of courses and rotations designed to provide the necessary scientific background for management of patients with orofacial pain.

An important part of the program is clinical experience which continues across the entire program commencing in the first quarter. The clinical component of the program will comprise about 50% of the student's time. Post graduate students are also required to complete a paper of publishable quality for submission to a refereed scientific journal on a topic to be mutually determined by the student and program director.

The faculty will assess competence in the field of orofacial pain on a regular basis. Knowledge of basic sciences and material presented in didactic lectures will be assessed by a series of written examinations at the end of the program.

Upon successful completion of the Program, a Certificate of Training will be awarded.

Description of Certificate Components

The program requirements for the Program in Orofacial Pain are listed below and each requirement is briefly described on the following pages. Although a specific time period is allocated for each educational activity, the actual time listed is subject to change.

Dent 5010 Foundations of Oral Biology
Dent 5020 Foundations of Oral Biology
OFP 701 Seminars in Orofacial Pain
OFP 702 Clinical Management of Orofacial Pain
OFP 703 Orofacial Pain Literature Review (Journal Club)
OFP 704 Grand Rounds in Orofacial Pain
OFP 706 Extramural Rotations
OM 801 Oral Medicine Grand Rounds
OM 806 Oral-Maxillofacial Radiology and Advanced Imaging

Dent 5010 and 5020: Foundation of Oral Biology and Advanced Biomedical Science for Dentistry (74 hours)

These courses, which are a requirement for all postdoctoral graduate students, are given over a two year period. Because the Orofacial Pain Advanced Education Program is only one year, students have the option of choosing from any of the courses listed below depending upon scheduling and possible conflicts.

Head and Neck Anatomy 14 hours
Pain/Neuroscience 12 hours
Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics 14 hours
Radiation Biology and Medical Imaging 12 hours

OFP 701: Seminars in Orofacial Pain (60 hours)
This seminar series focuses primarily on the diagnosis and management of temporomandibular disorders, musculoskeletal disorders of the head and neck, neurovascular disorders, and neuropathic pain disorders.

OFP 702: Clinical Management of Orofacial Pain
This provides the post graduate student with clinical experience in the diagnosis and management of patients referred to the Orofacial Pain Center. As the post graduate student progresses, he/she will obtain patient histories, perform examinations, and manage patients using various modalities. All clinical activities are under the direct supervision of the faculty. Clinical activity will comprise about 50% of the Program.

OFP 703: Orofacial Pain Literature Review (Journal Club)
This seminar consists of an overview of the current scientific literature relating to the fundamental of pain and pain management as well as orofacial pain. Each post graduate student will be responsible for a specific reading assignment and will lead the seminar. An informal seminar setting is used to encourage stimulating discussion from all the participants. This seminar will be held monthly.

OFP 704: Orofacial Pain Grand Rounds
All new and ongoing patients seen in the clinic are presented by the post graduate student in an open discussion with the faculty. Emphasis is on diagnosis and management strategies with all clinical decisions validated and supported by the scientific literature.

OM 801 Oral Medicine Grand Rounds
New and ongoing patients being treated in the Oral Medicine Clinic for other than an orofacial pain problem are presented and discussed in an open forum. This conference meets every week.

OM 806: Oral-Maxillofacial Radiology and Advanced Imaging
In addition to topics discussed in the Dent 5010 and 5020 courses, the post graduate student will spend time in the Radiology Clinic at the dental school to become familiar with more sophisticated imaging techniques, their indication/selection and interpretation.

OFP 706: Extramural Rotations
Post graduate students are assigned to various clinical rotations to gain exposure in various specialized areas including TMJ surgery, Otolaryngology, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Neurology, Headache Management and Rheumatology.

Independent Study
Post graduate student have approximately 6 hours per week protected for library work and independent study.


Rutgers School of Dental Medicine is located on the Newark Campus of University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. The medical and dental schools, graduate school of biomedical sciences, and the University Hospital are grouped together on an attractive campus with convenient private parking. The Division of Oral Medicine maintains a separate clinical facility on the "D" level of the dental school.


The following faculty are involved in the Orofacial Pain training program. All are from the Division of Oral Medicine, which is part of the Department of Diagnostic Sciences.

In addition to those faculty listed above, many clinician-scientists in the Department's other divisions also make regular and substantial contributions to the Orofacial Pain Program. Faculty members outside the Department as well as in the Medical School also contribute to the program.


The tuition for the Advanced Wducation Program in orofacial pain is $25,000


For satisfactory completion of the program, the post graduate student must:

  1. Complete attendance requirements of the program.
  2. Demonstrate clinical competence as determined by the clinical faculty of the Division of Oral Medicine.
  3. Achieve a minimum grade of 70% on a comprehensive written examination at the conclusion of the program.
  4. Submit a written paper of publishable quality using author's guidelines of the Journal of Orofacial Pain. The Program Director and the Clinicain will mutually agree upon a topic.

Upon satisfactory completion of all of the above requirements, a Certificate of Completion will be awarded.


Applicants to the Advanced Education Orofacial Pain Program are expected to have a strong background in the biological and health sciences. Applicants must have a DDS/DMD degree or its equivalent from an accredited dental school. Applicants with foreign degrees will be considered individually upon an evaluation of their curriculum vitae and training. Although Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Dental Aptitude Test, and National Board scores are not required, they can be submitted in support of the application. Advanced dental education in a GPR or dental specialty is recommended.

The applicant should fulfill each of the following requirements:

  1. Be a citizen of the United States, a non-citizen national, or a foreign national having in his/her possession a visa permitting temporary status in the United States.
  2. Be a dentist who has a DDS/DMD degree or its equivalent (see above).
  3. Demonstrate a proficiency in English through submission of the TOEFL examination score.
  4. Submit a completed application to the Division of Oral Medicine.
  5. Attend a personal interview whenever possible.

For an application go here

Mail the completed application to:

Gary M. Heir, DMD
Division of Orofacial Pain
Rm D-860
Rutgers School of Dental Medicine
110 Bergen Street
Newark, NJ 07103

PHONE# 973-972-4825

Two-Year Orofacial Pain Masters Program

This program combines the One-Year Orofacial Pain Advanced Education Program with a Master's Program offered by the Department of Oral Biology.

Two degrees are offered:

The Master of Science in Dentistry program is designed to train students for a career in academic dentistry focused on research. To accomplish this objective, each student completes a thirty-credit program comprising eighteen didactic credits and a twelve-credit thesis/research project.

The Master of Dental Science program is designed to give students a more in-depth understanding of the biological processes underlying their clinical specialty. The program is for students who want to learn to interpret the literature, and evaluate and criticize current practices. It is not intended for those students who want to pursue a research-based thesis project. The objective of the program is to enable the students to become critical thinkers and evaluators of best practices in dentistry. To accomplish these objectives, each student will have to complete a thirty-credit didactic program.

Program Director is:

Gary M. Heir, DMD
Director, Division of Orofacial Pain

For more information go to Dental Masters Programs.