Training in oral and maxillofacial pathology

To train as a consultant oral and maxillofacial pathologist requires a background in dentistry. You’ll need to complete specialty training in oral and maxillofacial pathology, which is overseen by the General Dental Council (GDC).

What are the entry requirements?

To apply for specialist training in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology in the UK and Ireland, you need to:

  • complete one year Dental Foundation Training
  • complete at least one year Dental Core Training or equivalent in secondary care in an appropriate cognate specialty
  • obtain a Fellowship in Dental Surgery (FDS), Membership of the Faculty of Dental Surgery (MFDS) or Membership of the Joint Dental Faculties (MJDF) of the UK Surgical Royal Colleges by examination or an equivalent qualification.
  • have experience of diagnostic Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, at a level above observership –  a number of Dental Core Trainee (DCT) posts around the UK can help you to obtain extensive relevant experience.

Candidates without FDS, MFDS or MJDF may be admitted to a programme but will normally be expected to possess an appropriate higher degree and/or relevant experience in oral and maxillofacial pathology or a related discipline.

How long will it take?

If you’re training full-time, training to be a consultant oral and maxillofacial pathologist takes five years. There might be opportunities to extend your training, by undertaking research or out-of-programme training. 

What will my training cover?

The training programme is divided into three stages. The first to two to three years cover both training in oral and maxillofacial pathology and a minimum of one year in general histopathology, where trainees will participate fully in the activities and working practices of their medically-qualified histopathology trainee colleagues.  In this year, you’ll take and report on pathology specimens from different parts of the body.

Trainees will then spend a further two to three years in more advanced specialty training in the full range of oral and maxillofacial and relevant head and neck pathology, including tooth pathology, jaw lesions,  and a range of inflammatory, reactive and developmental disorders.

Find out more about specialty training in oral and maxillofacial pathology via the GDC.

What exams will I need to take?

To complete your training, you’ll be required to pass the following.

  • FRCPath Part 1 in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology – this aims to determine whether you have successfully acquired a core body of knowledge that will underpin your ability to practise.
  • FRCPath Part 2 in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology – this exam is designed to test your practical skills and understanding, and show that you can apply your expertise appropriately and safely.

For further information about the format of exams, visit our exams page.