In 1926, the discipline of Oral Medicine was first introduced in the U.S. and in 1945, under the leadership of Dr. Samuel Charles Miller, The Academy of Oral Medicine (AAOM) was formally organized.1 Over the past 75 years, the AAOM has contributed to a generation of new knowledge, professional education, dental and medical research needs and oral health services of Oral Medicine for the public. 1 At its March 2020 meeting, the American Dental Association’s (ADA) National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards reviewed and approved the AAOM’s application for specialty recognition and adopted a resolution recognizing oral medicine as a dental specialty. 2 There are now eleven ADA–recognized dental specialties in the U.S.: 1) Dental Anesthesiology, 2) Dental Public Health, 3) Endodontics, 4) Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, 5) Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, 6) Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery 7) Oral Medicine, 8) Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, 9) Pediatric Dentistry, 10) Periodontics and 11) Prosthodontics. 3
Specialty recognition of oral medicine will improve awareness of and access to quality care, advance interprofessional healthcare, and improve the health and oral health-related quality of life of the general population. It will reinforce the importance of oral medicine education in dental schools and foster increased interest in pursuing oral medicine residency programs. Specialty recognition will increase access to funding opportunities for clinical-scientists to expand the breadth of oral medicine-related research to improve the human condition.
As an integral component of modern dental education and clinical care, oral medicine has been an emerging specialty in the U.S. for the past 75 years.4 Now, Oral Medicine will join its peers as an ADA-recognized dental specialty in the U.S.
Eric T. Stoopler, D.M.D., FDSRCS, FDSRCPS
Immediate Past-President, The American Academy of Oral Medicine
1. Tyler MT, Miller CS, Lockhart PB, Patton LL. American Academy of Oral Medicine: 75 years of bringing medicine and dentistry back together. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol 2020; 129(2): 91-94.
2. National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards. https://www.ada.org/en/ncrdscb/who-we-are/news-and-meetings; Accessed 09 March 2020.
3. National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards. https://www.ada.org/en/ncrdscb/dental-specialties/specialty-definitions; Accessed 09 March 2020.
4. Sollecito TP, Rogers H, Prescott-Clements L, Felix DH, Kerr AR, Wray D, et al. Oral medicine: defining an emerging specialty in the United States. J Dent Educ 2013; 77(4): 392 – 394.