Naval Postgraduate Dental School > Orofacial_Pain_Residency
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