Introduction: Oral and maxillofacial disease profile is treated by overlapping medical and surgical specialties, most of them without the high-level stomatological training who dentists have. Of these specialties, oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMS) is the only one that requires medical, dental and surgical training, which currently is achieved by 3 main pathways. Until today, the debate continues about which of them is the ideal, although in Latin America the only way to become an OMS specialist is the odontological.
Methodology: Critical review of international literature in OMS journals and guidelines of international societies, focusing on the bioethical topics, clinical competences, educational, legal and social aspects.
Results: Dual-degree is advantageous to the OMS practice because of the following aspects: clinical scope (oncological and reconstructive surgery), access to fellowships and scientific-professionals societies, knowledge/evidence generation, surgical prerogatives, legal support and social acknowledgement.
Discussion: From a bioethical perspective, single-degree specialist dealing with maxillofacial pathology may exceed his/her competences, due to medical or dental training lack. The dual-degree specialist seems to be whom, from a comprehensive perspective of the patient, has the knowledge and skills to fully meet the community’s rights to health and contribute to specialty development. Unfortunately, Latin America has not dual-degree training programs and none of Chilean single-degree ones fulfil the IAOMS guidelines.
This review exposes the need to develop a dual-degree program in Chile to achieve a comprehensive approach to the patient with maxillofacial pathology; consistent with social, cultural, economic and educational reality of the country.
Conflict of interest: None declared.