Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons manage patients with diseases of the mouth, jaw, face, and neck. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is also a dental speciality.
The Royal Society of Medicine offers a range of events for different surgical specialties, including Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery – see a full list on our Events page>>
Entry Route into Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Applicants for training in OMFS must have completed both a medical and dental degree. Applicants who have already completed a medical degree have two options for obtaining a dental degree:
- After completing the two-year Foundation Programme, applicants can return to university to complete a dental degree. They can then apply for Core Surgical Training, or run-through training at ST1; or
- Applicants can complete a dental degree after they have completed two years of Core Surgical Training.
Trainees must complete MRCS examinations during core surgical training. Trainees can then apply for ST3 posts and the next phase of training. Run-through training from ST1 takes six years to complete (ST1-7), but takes seven years if trainees decide to complete an interface fellowship.
Job Progression as an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
Trainees must obtain at least 12 months of experience in Core Surgical Training, and at least six months of experience in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, during ST3. Trainees can apply for the consultant posts six months before receiving their CCT, but only after passing the intercollegiate speciality examination for the FRCS (OMFS).
The main sub-specialties in oral maxillofacial surgery include
- head and neck cancer,
- craniofacial deformity and orthognathic surgery,
- oral medicine,
- salivary gland surgery,
- cleft lip and palate surgery,
- dento-alveolar surgery,
- trauma surgery,
- aesthetic facial surgery, and
- facial skin surgery.
There are also opportunities to work in management as a clinical lead, or a clinical or medical director. Additionally, there are formal opportunities to become involved in the education and training of junior doctors by working as
- a director of medical education overseeing postgraduate medical training,
- a training programme director responsible for the education of trainee doctors in the local region, or
- an associate dean responsible for managing the training programme.
Academic Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical Roles
Trainees interested in an academic career can apply for an academic clinical fellowship. However, trainees can continue the ST clinical training programme after ST4 level.
Competition for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Posts
In 2017, the competition ratio at ST3 was 1.22, with 28 applications for 23 posts. The competition ratio at CT1 for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery was 5.24, with 152 applications for 29 posts. The competition ratio for Core Surgical Training was 2.56, with 1,608 applications for 629 posts.
In December 2017, there were
- 351 consultants,
- 43 associate specialists,
- 160 speciality doctors,
- 8 staff grades,
- 208 speciality registrars,
- 348 core trainees,
- 9 F2 trainees, and
- 15 F1 trainees.
Salaries in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
The starting salary for junior doctors in England ranges from £26,614 to £46,208, and from £37,923 to £87,521 for speciality doctors. Consultants can expect to earn between £76,761 and £103,490. There are additional supplements for on-call work, antisocial hours, and other commitments. For additional information, please check our page on pay scales.
A Day in the Life of an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons work in general hospitals or specialist units. Many OMFS units provide a hub and spoke model of care. Because the central hub hospital manages patients who need major surgery and treatment for trauma-related injuries, spoke hospitals can provide care for patients on an outpatient and day-care basis. Because surgical procedures are often complex, working days can be long, and there is a substantial amount of on-call work. Furthermore, a specialist’s duties may include the reviewing of outpatients, attending ward rounds, reviewing patients in emergency departments, monitoring patients pre- and post-operatively, and attending multi-disciplinary team meetings.