The University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD) now offers an innovative online program designed to educate non-dental healthcare professionals on the intricacies of oral health – an initiative that, in the end, will provide better clinical outcomes, quality of life and oral function for the patients treated by health professionals. With growing recognition that chronic oral infection contributes substantially to poorer systemic health and to inferior patient health care outcomes, this program will allow the clinician to enhance the efficacy of their interprofessional healthcare teams.

UMSOD's new Certificate in Oral Health Science program blends online instruction with face-to-face clinical experiences at the Universities of Shady Grove in Rockville, Maryland.

The program is offered in a five course, 13 credit curriculum in an online platform. with clinical experiences with the faculty of UMSOD at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG).  

Participants will garner knowledge to recognize both chronic and acute oral conditions and diseases. More importantly, enrollees will gain an understanding of the impact of oral disease on health care delivery and the overall well-being and health of patients. Established evidence-based therapeutic, preventive protocols for the promotion of oral health care delivery will be presented for assimilation within other health care communities. This graduate program will promote knowledge and expertise and provide these trained professionals with the tools needed for better communication and collaboration as integrated teams as well as improved patient care outcomes through the co-management of care within the scope of interprofessional health care.

UMSOD is uniquely suited to train and educate non-dental healthcare professionals – specifically nurses, but also physician assistants,  physicians, physical therapists, and occupational therapists, for example – in order to build core oral health competencies that will allow these professionals to better address patient needs and more holistically manage patient care.

This is a stackable post-baccalaureate certificate program which satisfies the core content of UMSOD’s pending Master in Oral Health Sciences, which will prepare students to be leaders in and pursue innovation in health care delivery.

Highlights of the Certification in Oral Health Science Program:

  • Students will be able to assess, triage needs and implement avenues of patient referral for appropriate care.
  • Students will be trained in oral dental radiology and will be prepared to sit for dental radiology certification.
  • Students will be familiar with the range of therapeutic options for pathologies and anomalous conditions of the oral and maxillofacial area.
  • Students will be able to recognize adverse side-effects consequent to therapeutic management of oral related disorders.
  • Students will gain knowledge of common oral presentations that reflect potential underlying systemic disease.
  • Students will understand and be able to describe the biologic mechanisms that govern oral-systemic interactions.
  • Students will be able to appraise new and developing scientific literature on the inter-relationship between periodontitis and systemic disease conditions.
  • Students will acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to competently provide oral health education and supportive oral care to acute and long-term care patients.
  • Students will acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to interact with other members of the interdisciplinary health care team to ensure that the oral health care needs of patients are effectively managed.
  • Students will acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to serve as a point of contact for healthcare professionals about oral health care in the medical care settings.