Oral medicine specialists practice that part of dentistry that deals with the clinical diagnosis, assessment and principally non-surgical, pharmacological (drug) management of patients with chronic and medically-related disorders of the oral and maxillofacial region.16
How are oral medicine specialists trained?
To be eligible to gain registration with the DBA as an oral medicine specialist, a person must be a qualified dentist, have a minimum of two years general dental practice experience, and complete an approved postgraduate programme of study in oral medicine. Currently, there are four approved three-year Doctor of Clinical Dentistry in Oral Medicine programmes in Australia, offered by the University of Melbourne, the University of Queensland, the University of Sydney and the University of Western Australia.17
What is the assessment process for overseas-trained oral medicine specialists?
An overseas-trained oral medicine specialist must have their specialist qualification assessed as substantially equivalent to an approved qualification for the specialty. The ADC review and make recommendations about overseas-trained oral medicine specialist applications to the DBA.
In addition to having their specialist qualification assessed as substantially equivalent, the DBA’s Specialist Registration Standard requires specialist registration applicants to have completed a minimum of two years general dental practice in addition to meeting all other requirements for general registration as a dentist. The general practice requirement may be achieved by experience outside Australia, subject to assessment and approval by the DBA.18
What issues have stakeholders identified for the oral medicine specialist workforce?
No specific issues were highlighted by stakeholders for the oral medicine specialist workforce.
There are a small number of registered oral medicine specialists in Australia (Table 16). Oral medicine specialists had a younger age profile than other dental specialties in 2012, with an average age of 46 years, and less than one in five aged 55 years or over.
Table shows the total number of employed dentists (both general dentists and specialists) who reported oral medicine as their principal area of main job. The majority of dentists working in oral medicine reported their primary role as clinicians (84 per cent in 2012) and approximately half were female (54 per cent in 2011 and 48 per cent in 2012).
Table : Employed dentists (including specialists): primary area of main job reported oral medicine, workforce characteristics, 2011 and 2012