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About Us

Residency in Orofacial Pain

Program Director: Dr. John F. Johnson

Orofacial pain is the discipline that involves the differential diagnosis and management of pain and dysfunction of the trigeminal nerve system. More specifically, orofacial pain practitioners evaluate and treat pain and dysfunction involving the masticatory system and associated structures throughout the face, head, neck and shoulders that transmit sensory information into the brain via the trigeminal nuclei.

The orofacial pain residency is a three year program that covers an extensive body of basic medical sciences as related to the study of pain. Because of the inherent diversity of orofacial pain conditions, the residency incorporates clinically relevant information from a wide array of other dental and medical disciplines. The residency curriculum also includes courses that enhance a dental officer's abilities regarding contingency roles, military leadership and personnel management. Successful completion of the program qualifies the resident to challenge the certification examination by the American Board of Orofacial Pain.


The goal of the first-year program is to provide residents with the foundational knowledge and skills that will enable them to participate in a multi-disciplinary pain practice. The first year program places a concentrated emphasis on acquiring the basic medical science information necessary to develop the theoretical constructs required for clinical practice. All residents are required to participate in NPDS research activities.

First-Year Curriculum

Course                                                                           Course Hours
NPDS 206 Topographical Anatomy                                             20
NPDS 201 Applied Dental Psychology                                        8
NPDS 218 Management of Medical Emergencies                       2
NPDS 227 Advanced Oral Diagnosis                                          12
NPDS 273 Current Pain Literature Seminar I                              40
NPDS 228 Pharmacotherapeutics in Clinical Dentistry               18
NPDS 231 Systemic Disease in Clinical Dentistry                       24
NPDS 285 Orofacial Pain                                                             32
NPDS 263 Research Methods I                                                   10
NPDS 264 Research Project                                                        120
NPDS 278 Orofacial Pain Grand Rounds                                     30
NPDS 276 Orofacial Pain Concepts Seminar I                            105
NPDS 219 Specialty Clinic, Orofacial Pain                                  1020
Feedback Sessions                                                                      4
Orientation, GMT, PRT, etc.                                                          130
Total hours                                                                                    1575


The goal of the second-year program is to continue development of the resident's multi-disciplinary diagnostic and pain management skills. Pertinent neuroscience, physiology, pharmacology and psychology topics are reinforced via seminars and grand rounds. Approximately 55 percent of the second year will be devoted to clinical activities in the Orofacial Pain Center and specialty rotations.

Second-Year Curriculum

Course                                                                            Contact Hours
NPDS 236 Oral Pathology                                                           14
NPDS 310 Teaching Seminar                                                       5
NPDS 360 Seminar, Oral Medicine                                              10
NPDS 355 Research Methodology II                                            5
NPDS 381 Seminar, Current Pain Literature II                             40
NPDS 376 Seminar, Orofacial Pain Concepts II                          105
NPDS 382 Seminar, Orofacial Pain Grand Rounds II                   30
NPDS 366 Specialty Clinic, Orofacial Pain                                 1271
GMT, PRT, etc.                                                                              95
Total hours                                                                                  1575



The goal of the third-year program is to refine the competency of the resident's multi-disciplinary diagnostic and pain management skills and to introduce proficiency in clinical practice. The resident will assume increased responsibilities in seminar preparation and teaching. Residents will rotate through designated medical and surgical services at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Bethesda or adjacent medical facilities. Each resident will be required to present a research project and submit a thesis manuscript prior to graduation. Approximately 65 percent of the third year will be devoted to clinical activities in the Orofacial Pain Center and specialty rotations.

Third-Year Curriculum

Course                                                                            Contact Hours

NPDS 249 Anxiolysis                                                                    7
NPDS 281 Forensic Dentistry                                                     14
NPDS 311 Ethics                                                                          7
NPDS 321 Basic Life Support (Recertification)                            4
NPDS 383 Orofacial Pain Specialty Rotations                            120
HSMP 215 Dentistry and the Law                                                30
NPDS 369 Research Project                                                       150
HSMP 221 Strategic Management in Dentistry                           30
NPDS 481 Seminar, Current Pain Literature III                           40
NPDS 476 Seminar, Orofacial Pain Concepts III                         105
NPDS 482 Seminar, Orofacial Pain Grand Rounds III                 30
NPDS 440 Specialty Clinic, Orofacial Pain                                  943
GMT, PRT, etc.                                                                             95
Total hours                                                                                  1575

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