Volume 16, Number 4, December 2004

Education and Training in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMS) is an internationally recognised specialty that deals with diseases and disorders of the mouth, jaws, and associated structures. In the majority of countries around the world, OMS is a specialty of dentistry. That is to say that after graduation, a dentist undertakes a period of recognised training and an examination to qualify as a specialist in OMS. Although there are variations in the scope of training and later practice of OMS when one compares various countries, it is nevertheless true to say that there is a core of training and practice that identifies and characterises our specialty across the world. It is this core of training and education in OMS that needs to be harmonised internationally and continuously improved so that our specialty gains further recognition and privilege in each individual country and hospital.

The International Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (IAOMS) has published guidelines on education and training to assist the specialty worldwide in setting minimum training standards. Regional associations such as the North American and the European Association of OMS also have training guidelines broadly compatible with the international guidelines that are intended to form the basis of training programmes for each of their member countries.

International and regional guidelines on education and training are important documents for any specialty, and require much discussion and debate before their contents are defined and agreed. They are important because they can be used by individual national associations as a guide to formulate and benchmark their own country's training requirements for the specialty. They can also be used by any national association to support discussions with, and requests of, the government or regulatory and licensing bodies with regard to legal rights and privileges for the practice of the specialty in that country.

In the context of each country and national association, it is absolutely essential to develop national standards or rules for the training and education of future specialists in OMS. In other words, any country, no matter how large, must have a single unified system for training, examination, and certification of OMS, and this system should be based on the regional and international guidelines as far as possible.

The Asian Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AsianAOMS) aims to encourage and strengthen education and training in Asia. Following a series of meetings in Japan, India, and Thailand, the AsianAOMS promulgated the Asian Guidelines for Specialty Education and Training in OMS and these are published in this issue. The contribution of individual surgeons and national associations to the educational process is important. It is only through better training and education that we can improve the quality of care for our patients and, with this, definitively achieve our specialty's deserved place in society and the health care system of each individual country.

Nabil Samman
Education Committee Chairman, International Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
President, Asian Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

Asian J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2004;16:217.

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