Studies & Degrees in Oral Pathology
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Oral Pathology Study Programs
The study of oral pathology is closely related, though not identical, to dentistry studies. The field requires much the same course of study as a dental professional. However, oral pathologists specialize much more in serious or chronic mouth diseases, as opposed to general dentistry. This includes the study of such oral diseases as cancer, infections, sores and other afflictions.
Since oral pathology is a specialized medical study, the only credible places to receive education are in universities, colleges and medical schools. A study in oral pathology may sometimes be offered as a companion course to a dentistry program, though this is not common. Otherwise, oral pathology is typically offered only in a graduate school program, due to its specialized content. This means an applicant must complete an undergraduate course in a related field (usually pathology or pre-med) before undergoing a study solely in oral pathology. A hospital internship or residency is also required before completion of this study.
Oral pathology may also be delivered as a degree in oral and maxillofacial pathology. Maxillofacial is slightly different from oral pathology, in that it refers specifically to the upper jaw region and other important bones (such as cheek bones) of the face. It is important to note that oral pathology often goes hand-in-hand with this study.
Skills, Qualifications, and Prerequisites for Studies in Oral Pathology
Due to the fact that nearly all oral pathology training programs will only be available through graduate education, students must complete a bachelor’s degree in a related field first. An oral pathologist can achieve a degree in any related medical field, so long as they can apply to an approved medical school or other graduate program. This usually means not only attaining the undergraduate degree, but also passing a pre-med exam.
Students should have a very high aptitude for the sciences, as this is the majority of their field of study. Dedication is key, as the study requires up to ten years of study. Students should be able to think critically and analyze a variety of elements in a decisive and scientific manner. Since oral pathologists will be working intimately with patients, great interpersonal and communication skills will give these applicants a huge advantage.
Skills and Qualifications Acquired from Studies in Oral Pathology
While oral pathology may include studies in dentistry and maxillofacial areas, a usual basic course in oral pathology will provide expertise in the following areas:
- Basic human pathology (or disease diagnosis).
- Surgical pathology and histopathology.
- Biotechnology and biomedical tools related to oral medicine.
- Human biological systems (cardiovascular, nervous, etc.).
- Structure and functions of the human mouth, tongue, gums and teeth.
- Types of oral diseases, infections and cancers.
- Symptoms of oral disease and infections.
- Methods of diagnosis for oral diseases and infections.
- Methods of treatment for oral diseases and infections.
- Relevant medicines/ prescriptions, along with their uses and doses for oral diseases.
Careers for Studies in Oral Pathology
Oral Pathology is a very specialized field, so typically graduates of these courses can expect to work as oral pathologists, either for hospitals, clinics, private practices or individually. They may also work as dentists depending on their related training. Sometimes, these graduates work in research and development, helping to identify, diagnose, classify and implement experimental procedures for oral diseases.