Times are changing, especially if you are considering a career in oral surgery. Since this area of dentistry became a specialty in 2007, a lot has been going on behind the scenes, including developing appropriate training pathways for potential specialists. Oral surgery has always been a career option that has appealed to young dentists; it offers flexibility, enabling people to practise both within the academic system or the private field and is constantly evolving as new techniques are discovered and introduced. It offers the chance to become a consultant or the opportunity to be your own boss by offering your expertise at several centres, so overall can be a very attractive option for new graduates.
It is with all of these aspects in mind that the Specialist Advisory Committee in Oral Surgery was able to develop a comprehensive training pathway, that has now been accepted by the GDC. The pathway consists of two parts: the first and most important is the three-year programme, that concentrates on core competencies and culminates in a membership exam, the award of the CCST (Certificate of Completion of Surgical Training) in Oral Surgery and inclusion on the specialist list. Participants then have the option of applying for a post-CCST training fellowship, which includes training in extended competencies and a fellowship exam, that ensures you are eligible to become an oral surgery consultant. Once you have completed this training, you can choose the career pathway you wish to take. This can include general practice or hospital-based posts.
For recent graduates who are just embarking on their dental career and think they may be interested in a career in oral surgery, the best course of action is to complete GPT. This will give the experience of both general practice and hospital environments and will help you to develop the necessary skills to move on to the next phase of your training.
Although exams will probably be the last thing on your mind after finals, the next thing to do is to do look into taking your MJDF exam. It will demonstrate that you have that extra and necessary knowledge gained through two years of post-graduation study and will stand you in good stead for the future.
You then need to look into the training programmes that are available in your area. Some programmes have already been established for the three-year programme, and more are being created all the time. Therefore, it is important that you access
up-to-date information from your postgraduate dental deanery, that currently administer the posts. The best thing to do is to contact the deanery directly and as early as possible and ask them for any information they have. Being organised in this way will ensure that you have the best possible chance of securing a post and will also give you plenty of time to organise any necessary paperwork.
If you are certain that you would like to pursue this career pathway and would like to find out more, why not consider attending the British Association of Oral Surgeons (BAOS) Conference in Edinburgh from 18-20 Nov 2008? It has reduced rates for VDPs and SHOs, and an interesting lecture programme planned.
For further information on careers in oral surgery, visit the British Association of Oral Surgeons at www.baos.org.uk, the Faculty of Dental Surgery at www.rcseng.ac.uk/fds or COPDEND at