Increasing numbers of medics are applying to dental school to pursue a career in oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMFS), particularly in the aftermath of Modernising Medical Careers (MMC), but their perspectives, experience, and training up to this point differ widely. We aimed to characterise these differences in the light of MMC and beyond by doing a survey of 20 dentists and 24 medics who were applying for their second degree. They were questioned about factors that influenced their choice of career and university, the motivation to pursue specialty training, and were asked for their opinions on suggested measures for workforce planning. The medics were subdivided into those who had trained before MMC (a = 18), and those who had not (n = 6). Dentists had considerably more OMFS experience than medics (mean 22 months compared with 4.2 months), and 46% (11/24) of medics had no substantive OMFS experience. Of those who had trained before MMC 3/18 considered OMFS as their first choice of career, compared with 4/6 who have trained since, and 15/20 of dentists. Eighty-three percent (20/24) of medics admitted that MMC had influenced their choice of career, and 54% (13/24) had applied for training in a specialty other than OMFS, notably otolaryngology. The most favoured method of workforce planning among all respondents (25/44) was "roughly matching" places on a second degree to projected OMFS training posts. (C) 2010 The British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.