Oral pathologists are specialists in diseases and conditions that affect the oral cavity, also known as the mouth. They are trained to diagnose and treat cancers of the mouth, salivary glands, and jaw bones; infections and inflammatory disease of the teeth; dental trauma from injuries or accidents; infections and inflammatory disease of the gums; developmental abnormalities of the teeth and jaws; salivary gland disorders; genetic abnormalities of tooth enamel, such as amelogenesis imperfecta; and diseases of the supporting structures of teeth. They may also diagnose and treat conditions that cause dry mouth or excessive salivation, called sialorrhea.
Oral pathologists work in private practice as well as in academic institutions, clinics and hospitals. To become an oral pathologist, you must complete a doctor of dental medicine (DMD) or a doctor of dental surgery (DDS) program after completing your bachelor’s degree. After this initial training, you will need to complete at least two years of specialized graduate studies in oral and maxillofacial pathology.
Some programs may require you to complete a one-year residency in oral and maxillofacial surgery or a two-year general pathology residency prior to beginning your oral pathology training. After completing your training, you will need to obtain a state license to practice as an oral pathologist.
The American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology (ABOMP) offers a voluntary certification process for oral pathologists. To be eligible for ABOMP certification, you must have completed an accredited oral and maxillofacial pathology training program and passed a written and oral examination. Board certification is not required to practice as an oral pathologist, but it may give you an advantage when seeking employment or when applying for hospital privileges.
If you are interested in becoming an oral pathologist, you should begin by completing a bachelor’s degree in biology or another related discipline. This will prepare you for the rigorous coursework required to complete your DMD or DDS program. Once you have obtained your dental license, you can apply for admission to a graduate program in oral and maxillofacial pathology.
After completing your training, you will need to obtain a state license to practice as an oral pathologist. Board certification is not required to practice, but it may give you an advantage when seeking employment or when applying for hospital privileges.
Oral pathologists play an important role in maintaining the health and wellbeing of their patients. They are highly trained specialists who possess a deep understanding of the structure and function of the oral cavity, allowing them to accurately diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions that affect the mouth.
If you are interested in pursuing a career as an oral pathologist, be prepared for a challenging and rewarding career path filled with opportunities to make a positive impact on the lives of your patients.
1. Where do Oral Pathologists work?
Most oral pathologists work in private practice, though some may find employment in hospitals or academic settings. Many oral pathologists also teach at dental schools. The work environment is usually clean and well lit. Oral pathologists typically work during regular business hours, though they may be on call to deal with emergencies. Some travel may be required in order to consult with other dental professionals or to attend conferences.
Oral pathologists must be able to work well under pressure and have excellent attention to detail. They must also be able to handle potentially emotionally charged situations, as they may be dealing with patients who are facing serious health issues. Strong communication and interpersonal skills are essential in this field.
2. How to become an Oral Pathologist?
The vast majority of oral pathologists are dentists who have gone on to complete a three-year residency in oral and maxillofacial pathology. Some may also have completed a fellowship in a related field. In order to become an oral pathologist, one must first earn a bachelor’s degree, then complete four years of dental school and obtain a dental license. After that, three years of additional training in oral and maxillofacial pathology must be completed. Some states may require oral pathologists to obtain a special license in order to practice.
3. How much do Oral Pathologists make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for oral and maxillofacial pathologists was $191,520 in 2018. Salaries can vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and employer. Many oral pathologists also earn bonuses and commissions based on their performance. Some may also receive benefits such as health insurance and paid vacation days.
4. What are the Oral Pathologists responsibilities?
The main responsibility of an oral pathologist is to diagnose and treat diseases of the mouth, jaws, and face. They may also perform surgeries on these areas if necessary. Oral pathologists often work closely with dentists and other dental professionals in order to provide the best possible care for their patients. In addition to diagnosing and treating diseases, oral pathologists may also conduct research on new treatments and therapies. They may also teach at dental schools or write articles for dental journals.
5. What is the job outlook for Oral Pathologists?
The job outlook for oral and maxillofacial pathologists is positive, with a projected growth rate of 18% from 2018 to 2028. This is much faster than the average growth rate for all occupations. The aging population is one of the main drivers of this growth, as older adults are more likely to experience issues with their teeth and gums. In addition, advances in dental technology and treatments are also expected to lead to more demand for oral pathologists.