Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN ORAL AND MAXILLOFACIAL SURGEON AND A DENTIST?

Depending on the procedure, many patients may not need an oral surgeon.

Dentistry is dynamic and constantly changing, but it is important that you know the major differences between the two dental professionals before scheduling your surgery.

The biggest difference between a dentist and an oral and maxillofacial surgeon is the amount of training required.

Both general dentists and oral surgeons must complete dental school after receiving a bachelor’s degree. Dental school training takes four years of full-time study.

Dental students take coursework in anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, pathology, and oral surgery. After training in general dentistry, oral and maxillofacial surgeons spend an extra four to eight years specializing in oral surgery.

In general, oral and maxillofacial surgeons perform more complex surgical procedures more frequently than general dentists.

WHAT TRAINING IS NEEDED TO BE AN ORAL AND MAXILLOFACIAL SURGEON

After completing dental school, oral and maxillofacial surgeons spend an extra four to eight years specializing in oral surgery. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons are trained in advanced surgical techniques in hospital-based residency programs for a minimum of four years.

This additional intensive training prepares them to become experts in oral surgical practice and a wide array of dental surgical procedures.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery residents encompass rotations to the medical, surgical, and anesthesia services where residents must function at the same level as a resident in the respective services. Because of this specialized education, oral and maxillofacial surgeons are licensed to perform many procedures that are also performed by physicians.

After training, oral and maxillofacial surgeons further develop their expertise by performing complicated procedures for dental implants, jaw joint issues, facial pain, and wisdom teeth extraction.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A BOARD CERTIFIED ORAL AND MAXILLOFACIAL SURGEON

The American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is the certifying board for the specialty of oral and maxillofacial surgery in the United States.

It is the objective of the Board to elevate the standards of oral and maxillofacial surgery through a certification that fosters excellence and encourages learning, thus promoting the delivery of superior health care.

The Board’s certification process assures the public that certified oral and maxillofacial surgeons have successfully completed a rigorous peer evaluation process by requiring surgeons to present and maintain appropriate professional credentials, and demonstrate the requisite training, experience, and knowledge.

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