What is an Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon
What is a Board Certified Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon
An oral & maxillofacial surgeon is an expert in face, mouth, and jaw surgery–someone who dedicates all of their time to performing oral surgical procedures such as removal of wisdom teeth and other complex dental extractions, performing bone grafting and placing dental implants, diagnosing and treating pathological conditions of the mouth and face, managing severe infections and traumatic injuries, and much more. A Board-Certified OMS is a specialist who has completed years of hospital-based surgical training and been certified by the American Board of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons to have extensive knowledge of the diagnosis and management of conditions of the head and neck, including outpatient anesthesia. Indeed, the training of OMSs may even include completion of medical school and obtaining a medical license, making many Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons not only dentists, but also physicians. A mandatory part of the residency training of an OMS is a total of 6 months of training focused on the administration of outpatient anesthesia to adults and children, including intubation, which allows the OMS to provide true sedation services. Some of the services provided by OMSs include:
- Dental implant surgery
- Tooth extractions and other oral surgeries
- Wisdom tooth management
- Treatment of oral, head and neck cancers
- Treatment of facial injuries/trauma and reconstructive surgery
- Surgery to treat obstructive sleep apnea
- Corrective jaw surgery
- Treatment of TMJ disorders
- Cleft lip and palate surgery
- Facial cosmetic surgery
- Outpatient anesthesia
There are 12 recognized dental specialties (Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, Oral & Maxillofacial Radiology, Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology, Oral Medicine, Orofacial Pain, Endodontics, Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, Periodontics, Prosthodontics, Dental Anesthesiology, Pediatric Dentistry, and Dental Public Health). You can be assured that a specialist certified by one of these recognized specialty sponsoring organizations has completed one or more years of exhaustive training under the direct supervision of qualified experts and has demonstrated competency. Other dental providers sometimes advertise specialization or advanced training through organization or fellowship membership, but these programs are typically comprised of weekend courses without supervision, and the competency of the dentist cannot be verified. When you visit a Board Certified Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon who are seeing a practitioner of the highest level of training and skill.
Why Choose an Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon?
While dentists may perform some oral surgeries, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons are the true surgical specialists of the dental profession. Although patients may be familiar with their family dentist or appreciate the convenience of being able to have all of their treatment done in their regular dental office, when serious healthcare issues arise, it is important to visit a specialist’s office. These offices are outfitted with the specialized tools and equipment necessary to provide safe and effective treatment. The level of training required to become an OMS exceeds that of any other dental provider, which prepares an OMS to be able to perform oral surgical procedures with the greatest level of skill and efficiency, as well as the ability to recognize and correct any complications that may occur.
An experienced surgeon knows that complications can frequently occur despite proper execution of a procedure, and an OMS will be able to manage any complications you may experience themselves, assuring you of timely correction and preventing painful lengthy waiting periods to be seen by another provider. Some dental offices are visited by specialists on a periodic basis, which may allow care to be completed in familiar surroundings, but when complications do arise, the provider is frequently unavailable, abandoning the patient in their time of greatest need. When you undergo treatment in a specialized Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery office, you know that you will have a true specialist available whenever needed.
The options available to you at an OMS office may also be more than those offered at your family dentist’s office. Among other services, immediate implant placement (the placement of a dental implant at the same time as extraction) and sinus lift bone grafting (allowing placement of a larger and stronger implant) may be options that become available to your when you visit an oral surgeon. Furthermore, the extensive anesthesia training of an OMS also allows many patients to safely undergo their procedures completely painlessly via IV sedation. When you choose to see an OMS, you will often have the option to have your procedure performed under anesthesia, overcoming your fears and being assured a positive experience.