An Orofacial Pain resident works with a patient

Orofacial Pain

The University of Minnesota School of Dentistry offers a variety of training experiences in the field of temporomandibular disorders (TMD) and orofacial pain.


On March 31, 2020, Orofacial Pain became the 12th ADA recognized specialty. The specialty of Orofacial Pain is dedicated to the evidence-based understanding of the underlying pathophysiology, etiology, prevention and treatment of these disorders and improving access to inderdisciplinary patient care. 

We provide care to patients with TMJ (temporomandibular joint), jaw, head and/or neck pain disorders, including clicking, locking of the TMJ or difficulty using the jaw, as well as conditions including burning mouth and sleep disorders like sleep apnea and snoring. 

Our department offers three program options: 

  • Certificate in TMD and Orofacial Pain with a Master of Science (24 months)
  • Certificate in TMD and Orofacial Pain (24 months)
  • Certificate in TMD and Orofacial Pain with a PhD (typically in Oral Biology)

Program at a Glance

Residents per year
Certificate offered
Degrees offered with certificate

Joining the Program

Expand all


Applications must be submitted through the ADEA PASS System by September 1 of the year before study begins. The MS program begins on June 1. Applicants must submit a personal statement and three recommendation letters, in addition to the requirements through ADEA PASS. 

Application procedures and requirements vary for the PhD option, including the choice of field. Please contact the department for more information.

Program Requirements

Subject Description
Test scores

ADA ADAT scores, DAT scores, and GRE scores are not required.

NBDE results must be submitted to ADEA PASS, but INDBE are not required.

Transcripts Unofficial dental school transcripts should be submitted to the school.
CV/Resume Applicants must submit their resume or CV.
Supplemental application A supplemental application and $50 fee is required.
Dental licensing Must have a limited permit, but need not have a US or state license.
Degree Must have earned a DMD/DDS degree or equivalent. Applicants should submit a photocopy or notarized copy of their diploma to the program.
Additional requirements Applicants must submit a personal letter of intent, three recommendation letters, and a 2"x2" photo to the program.
International applicants NBDE is optional for international applicants. Must be proficient in English and submit original TOEFL scores.

Program Options

The Certificate in Orofacial Pain, with an optional Master of Science degree in Dentistry, involves clinical, didactic and research training, and is designed for dentists interested in clinical, academic or teaching careers. The program focuses on the acquisition of strong clinical skills in evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of  a wide variety of TMD and orofacial pain disorders as well as the treatment of sleep apnea and snoring with intraoral appliances. Most of the student’s time will be spent in the clinic. Additional time is spent attending courses in pain management, neuroscience, pharmacology, behavioral sciences and other biomedical areas, as well as journal reviews, seminars and participation in research projects.

We also offer a two-year program that leads to a Certificate in Orofacial Pain, without an MS in Dentistry. It is designed primarily for the dentist interested in clinical training. This program requires completion of all the courses offered for the Master of Science, but no thesis credits or research project. 

PhD or post-doctoral research position is available through the Oral Biology Program at the School of Dentistry. Students attend the clinic leading to a Certificate in Orofacial Pain and complete PhD coursework and thesis research concurrently.


Learners working toward a Certificate with or without an MS will spend their first summer focusing on the acquisition of solid research skills, introduction to the anatomy of the head and neck, physical evaluation, and overview of the theory and principles of orofacial pain. In the following semesters, students take more in-depth courses related to orofacial pain, as well as continuing with related coursework. They continue to work in literature review and orofacial pain seminars, in addition to taking thesis credits. 

All students will attend to the Orofacial Pain Clinic throughout each semester. Rotations through other clinics are arranged during the summer and fall of the second year. Clinical training is a major part of the program, with students spending four full days per week in clinic. In the fall of the first year, students begin seeing their own patients.

Orofacial Pain in the clinic

Residents treat a patient at the TMD, Orofacial Pain and Dental Sleep Medicine Clinic
The entryway to the TMD, Orofacial Pain and Dental Sleep Medicine Clinic
A patient receives treatment in the TMD, Orofacial Pain and Dental Sleep Medicine Clinic
Residents treat a patient at the TMD, Orofacial Pain and Dental Sleep Medicine Clinic

Contact the Orofacial Pain Program

Shanti Kaimal, BDS, MS

Program Director
Shanti Kaimal, BDS, MS
6-320 Moos Tower
515 Delaware St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
[email protected]