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should i go to a dentist or an oral surgeon

Pain in the face and mouth can be caused by tooth fractures, jaw hinge malfunctioning, impacted wisdom teeth and more. If you are experiencing pain, it is important to seek out proper treatment from experienced professionals such as the ones found at Summit OMS. However, it may be confusing when deciding to ask a dentist or an oral surgeon for help treating dental pain. To know how to answer the question, “Should I go to a dentist or an oral surgeon?”, it is important to understand the differences between both options.

What Is the Difference Between a Dentist and an Oral Surgeon?

Dentists and oral surgeons are careers that require additional education beyond a bachelor’s degree. A dentist typically engages in four more years of school and graduates with a Doctor of Dental Surgery or a Doctor of Dental Medicine. This degree entitles the dentist to join or open a practice, where he or she may have regular patients coming in for cleanings and checkups. Dentists may not have the skills to perform every oral procedure, but they are aware of who can and are ready to help you navigate a network of orthodontists and oral surgeons as needed.

Oral surgeons, also called oral and maxillofacial surgeons, engage in four more years of school after obtaining a Doctor of Dental Surgery. These four years are considered a special residency in oral and maxillofacial surgery, and the surgeon is eventually certified by the state medical board. Some oral surgeons also use the time to earn a Master of Science in Dentistry, a medical degree or a PhD. While some people have a family dentist, oral surgeons as surgical specialists are usually contacted for special procedures and situations.

What Can a Dentist Do for You?

With a DDS or a DDM, an individual can practice as a dentist. Often a family or an individual has a dentist they visit once or twice a year. It is important to visit a dentist to prevent issues such as uncomfortable gum infections and to monitor teeth alignment. Tasks of a dentist include:

  • Filling cavities
  • Checking gum and teeth health
  • Recommending dental hygiene practices
  • Repairing fractured teeth
  • Sizing and fitting dentures

One special job of a dentist is diagnosing teeth and gum issues. For example, a dentist may notice an overbite developing and either recommend an orthodontist, or having it surgically repaired by an oral surgeon. If you have pain in the mouth or face, visit the dentist and ask for his or her recommendation regarding further treatment.

What Can an Oral Surgeon Do for You?

An oral surgeon specializes in dental surgery. These specialists are not typically filling cavities or performing cleanings. Rather, an oral surgeon can perform specialized and more medical like procedures that dentists may consider necessary for a patient. An oral surgeon may perform the following:

  • Removal of wisdom teeth to prevent impaction or to treat impacted wisdom teeth.
  • Insertion of dental implants to replacing missing teeth.
  • Widening of nasal passages to help with snoring and sleep issues.   

The surgeon can apply anesthesia as needed for such operations. Furthermore, they recommend post-operation procedures and may be in communication with your dentist so everyone can work together to take the best care of your oral health. The skills of team members in an oral surgery clinic can help relieve great discomfort, such as popping due to malfunctioning jaw joints.

Talk to your dentist to decide if oral surgery is necessary. If a surgical procedure or treatment beyond the scope of the dentist is needed, they will recommend oral surgery at a trusted oral surgery clinic. Oral surgeons at Summit OMS are well trained and have a wide range of experience in areas including jaw bone grafting and tooth extraction. Contact Summit OMS online today to learn more about our licensed professionals.