All oral and maxillofacial surgeons attend 4 years of dental school and earn a dental degree. After dental school, the oral and maxillofacial surgeon completes a specialty residency lasting 4 to 6 years. The residency positions are competitive and typically accept candidates who graduate at the top of their dental school class. This is similar to the specialty programs undertaken by physicians after medical school, such as orthopedic or ENT surgery.
The oral and maxillofacial surgery residency includes training in anesthesia, medicine, pediatrics, plastic surgery, and ear, nose, and throat, to name a few subjects. In addition to general medicine and surgery, the oral and maxillofacial surgeon learns surgical procedures specific to the teeth, jaws, and face. Effectively, the oral and maxillofacial surgeon becomes a blend of a dentist and a physician, with dental training to treat tooth-related problems, and the medical and surgical expertise to meet needs related to the jaws and face.
This training uniquely qualifies the oral and maxillofacial surgeon to handle routine and complex tooth removal, facial and dental infection, facial injuries, reconstructive surgery of the jaws and face, replacement of teeth with dental implants, jaw joint problems, and diseases of the jaws, mouth, and teeth. These treatments can be performed in office or hospital settings depending on the patient’s needs.
For questions about oral surgeons and procedures, please contact an oral surgeon in your area.