What is an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon?
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are the surgical specialists of the dental profession. Their extensive education and training, surgical expertise and unparalleled understanding of esthetics and function uniquely qualify them to treat the conditions, defects, injuries and esthetic aspects of the mouth, teeth, jaws and face. Patients who complain of pain or problems in this area are routinely referred to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for help.
Read more about Oral and maxillofacial surgeons from AAMOS.
Training and Scope of Practice
Following dental school, oral and maxillofacial surgeons complete a minimum of four years in a hospital-based surgical residency program. They train alongside medical residents in internal medicine, general surgery and anesthesiology, and also spend time in otolaryngology, plastic surgery, and emergency medicine. Their training focuses almost exclusively on the hard (ie, bone) and soft (ie, skin, muscle) tissue of the face, mouth, and jaws.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons are well-prepared to assist with the following conditions:
- Wisdom Teeth – Manage diseases of the teeth and their supporting soft and hard tissues.
- Dental Implants – Evaluate, plan a course of treatment and place dental implants to replace one, two or a mouthful of missing teeth.
- Corrective Jaw Surgery – Perform corrective jaw surgery to improve the function and appearance of patients with such conditions as cleft lip and palate and other congenital defects.
- Facial Cosmetic Surgery – Perform facial cosmetic procedures to enhance facial appearance and function.
- Anesthesia – Provide a comfortable surgical experience through proper sedation and pain control.
- Snoring & Sleep Apnea – Diagnose obstructive sleep apnea and treat non-surgically and surgically.
- The Temporo-Mandibular Joint – Diagnose and treat TMJ Disorders and Facial pain.
- Oral Cancer – Diagnose and treat oral cancer and other diseases in the maxillofacial region.
- Treating and Preventing Facial Injury – Expertly treat head and neck trauma and injuries to the face, jaws, mouth and teeth.