Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology

: 2018  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 290--291

Private practice of oral and maxillofacial pathology: A career option

Kabita Chatterjee 
 Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology Clinic, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Correspondence Address:
Kabita Chatterjee
Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology Clinic, Kolkata, West Bengal

How to cite this article:
Chatterjee K. Private practice of oral and maxillofacial pathology: A career option.J Oral Maxillofac Pathol 2018;22:290-291

How to cite this URL:
Chatterjee K. Private practice of oral and maxillofacial pathology: A career option. J Oral Maxillofac Pathol [serial online] 2018 [cited 2022 Jan 28 ];22:290-291
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Oral and maxillofacial pathology (OMP) is an important bridge between dentistry and medicine. Teaching of dental anatomy, histology and oral pathology plays an important role laying down the foundation for undergraduate dental students. Students usually develop less interest in oral pathology and microbiology during graduation as the subject is taught more theoretically and less practically. After graduation, students may opt for oral pathology and microbiology as a career option by choice due to their special interest or may get into the field by chance due to reasons other than interest. However, gradually, they develop interest in the subject with time.[1]

Oral pathologists usually join academics after completion of postgraduation. In recent years, a significant number of oral pathologists prefer to focus their activities on the practice of surgical or clinical oral pathology rather than teaching. This trend may be attributed to reduction in job opportunity in academic settings.

Starting a diagnostic setup is really challenging. As we examine patients in clinic and do histopathological examinations, we should start a dental clinic and diagnostic laboratory in a combined form. Ample research, planning and investments are required before starting own specialty practice.

An oral pathologist should have adequate knowledge and experience about different diagnostic procedures and latest investigations related to oral lesions. During graduation, students should be given chance to get involved into histopathological diagnosis of simple lesions so that they develop keen interest in histopathology. Postgraduate training program and curriculum also should be designed in such a way that it not only enhances academics, but clinical proficiency as well. This will empower the budding oral pathologists to enter into independent private practice.[2]

OMP must not be regarded largely as an institutional specialty. The vitality of the specialty can be advanced through establishment of an independent private practice option as is found in all other clinical dental specialties. The option of private practice might create broader appeal for entry into specialty. Patients also can avail the expertise of practicing oral pathologists more easily.

OMP clinical practice has been greatly advanced through the development and availability of pharmacological agents and emergence of new technologies in clinical diagnosis. It is utmost important to develop a professional network with fellow colleagues for referral of specialty cases. They also should have a good collaborative relationship with general pathologists for discussion of difficult cases. Oral pathologists should also get empowered to develop communications with other medical colleagues in dermatology, oncology, otolaryngology, etc., for appropriate referral of cases after clinical and histopathological diagnoses. All these networking will enhance proper functioning of patient's health-care system.[3]

From my undergraduate days, I was very keen to pursue oral pathology and microbiology as my specialization. I am engaged in private practice of OMP for more than two decades. In my early days, the decision to engage in an exclusive clinical and diagnostic oral pathology practice was really fraught with uncertainty and challenges. Guided by senior pathologists and supported by encouraging colleagues, fortunately, the journey has been an enriching learning experience for me.

Oral pathologists have a great contribution to the dental private practice community by diagnosis and management of oral diseases and if necessary with histopathological diagnosis. OMP colleagues can be a valuable resource in the treatment and long-term follow-up management of patients.


1Eversole LR. Evidence-based practice of oral pathology and oral medicine. J Calif Dent Assoc 2006;34:448-54.
2Gowhar O. Prospective of oral pathology as profession – A cross sectional study. Int J Contemp Med Res 2017;4:1490-3.
3Gould AR. The private practice of oral and maxillofacial pathology – Expanding career choice options. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod 2004;98:1-2.