Oral and maxillofacial surgery, better known as oral surgery, is one of the nine specialty areas of dentistry as recognized by the American Dental Association.
Oral surgeons diagnose and treat functional dental concerns such as congenital growth issues, oral diseases, and damages and defects on the face, mouth, teeth, and jaw areas due to trauma.
What is an Oral Surgeon?
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are the orthopedic surgeons of the facial region. They diagnose and perform surgery to treat issues or injuries in the head, face, neck, jaws, and oral tissues.
Oral surgeons must be a graduate of a four-year degree in dentistry and must complete another four years of oral and maxillofacial surgery residency program, with specialized training in anesthesia and pain control, in a hospital. They must have the license in the state they are practicing.
Oral surgeons can perform surgery in outpatient facilities, hospitals, and surgery centers.
When to See an Oral Surgeon
Oral surgery can help resolve cosmetic and reconstructive needs such as the following:
- Teeth need to be replaced with dental implants.
- Jaw needs to be aligned with orthognathic surgery.
- Facial pain or TMJ/TMD.
- Removal of impacted tooth.
- Cyst or tumor in the jaw needs to be treated and removed.
- Facial bones and jaw need to be realigned or reconstructed following a facial trauma or cancer surgery.
What Do Oral Surgeons Do?
Oral surgeons are knowledgeable in the following:
- Administering anesthesia during surgery.
- Treating wisdom teeth issues such as removal of impacted teeth.
- Installment of dental implants.
- Facial trauma treatment.
- Pathological conditions evaluation.
- Facial pain or TMJ/TMD pain management.
- Treatment and removal of cysts and tumors.
- Surgical treatment of obstructive snoring and sleep apnea.
- Cleft lip and palate repair.
- Treatment of facial infections.
Do not be alarmed when your dentist refers you an oral surgery clinic. Most often than not, it only means that there is someone who is more trained and experienced who can better treat your case than them.