Program Teaches Non-Dental Healthcare Providers About Oral Health

Dentistry Today


The University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD) has announced a post-baccalaureate program for nurses, physician assistants, and other non-dental healthcare providers seeking advanced training in oral health and dental medicine.

The curriculum is designed to help clinicians recognize and manage oral health infections, diseases, and systemic conditions to more effectively and efficiently improve oral health for their patients.

“By equipping healthcare professionals to detect oral conditions, particularly common oral diseases such as periodontal (gum) diseases, we are equipping them to improve patient outcomes,” said Mary Beth Aichelmann-Reidy, DDS, chief of UMSOD’s Periodontics Division in the Department of Advanced Oral Sciences and Therapeutics.

“The recognition of oral diseases and oral manifestations of systemic diseases is integral to health promotion and disease prevention,” said Aichelmann-Reidy.

“It’s an exciting time. There is a growing recognition that chronic oral infections can contribute to poorer systemic health and to inferior patient healthcare outcomes,” said Mark A. Reynolds, DDS, dean and professor at UMSOD.

“This training will help bridge the gap in management of oral diseases and general medical healthcare, providing an important opportunity to advance overall health and well-being,” said Reynolds.

The Certificate in Oral Health Science Program’s five-course, 13-credit curriculum blends online instruction with in-person clinical experiences at the Universities of Shady Grove in Rockville, Maryland. Designed for working professionals, it can be completed part-time within 18 months.

Professionals with expertise in oral and dental medicine will play an increasingly greater role on healthcare teams in advancing improved patient care outcomes, so health practitioners will be trained in competencies central to the management of prevalent infections, diseases, and systemic conditions affecting the oral cavity, UMSOD said.

The training prepares practitioners to become leaders in emerging healthcare delivery models building on multi-disciplinary treatment paradigms, promotes knowledge and expertise, and provides participants with the communication and management tools needed within the integrative scope of interprofessional health care management, UMSOD said.

According to UMSOD:

  • Students will learn how to incorporate oral health services into care management.
  • Students will learn how to evaluate and recognize acute and chronic oral conditions and diseases.
  • Students will gain an understanding of the impact of oral disease on healthcare delivery and the overall well-being and health of patients.
  • Students will be trained in oral dental radiology and will be prepared for dental radiology certification.
  • Students will be trained in the tools necessary for better communication and collaboration within healthcare teams to improve patient care outcomes through oral healthcare management.

The program includes five courses:

  • Oral Infection and Disease: Foundations for Recognition
  • Contemporary Oral Therapeutics in Oral Medicine and Dentistry
  • Complex Interplay: The Relationship Between Oral Health and Systemic Disease
  • Prevention and Oral Health Promotion
  • Clinical Practicum in Oral Health Care Delivery and Oral Dental Radiology

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