What is an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon?
A specialist in the diagnosis and surgical correction of conditions affecting the face, mouth, and jaw is known as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS). This covers a wide range of issues, such as cleft lip and palate surgery and wisdom tooth extraction.
An OMS often completes a hospital-based residency program for a further four to six years after graduating from dental school. Sometimes they pursue board certification, a second medical degree, or specialist fellowships.
Your OMS gains substantial training and experience in administering anesthesia during this period. This covers endotracheal intubation; setting up and maintaining intravenous lines; addressing problems; and managing airway management. For the many surgeries the OMS performs, this anesthetic competence becomes essential.
OMSes prioritize the needs of their patients above all else. You can rely on an OMS to deliver a high standard of care regardless of the condition, be it an injury, congenital defect, or disorders of the face, jaws, or mouth.
- Dental implant surgery
- Wisdom tooth management and extraction
- Treatment of facial injury (broken bones, facial lacerations, or broken eye orbits)
- Facial cosmetic surgery
- Airway correction for obstructive sleep apnea sufferers
- Cancer diagnosis and removal for head, neck, throat, and oral cancers
- Soft tissue and tooth surgeries to improve appearance or function
- Cleft lip and palate treatment
- Lip and tongue tie surgeries
- Anesthesia administration to ensure comfort throughout surgical treatment
- Corrective orthognathic (jaw) surgery
- Treatments to correct temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction and relieve facial pain
- Dentoalveolar surgery, including a range of tissue repair, shaping, and grafting procedures
- Pre-prosthetic surgery to restore supportive structures before tooth replacement
- Soft and hard tissue grafting
- Correction of congenital craniofacial malformations
- Diagnosis and treatment for chronic disease, disorders, or infections
- Orthodontic surgery to improve the alignment of the jaw during or prior to orthodontic interventions
- Endodontic microsurgery or advanced root canal treatment
- Emergency interventions for knocked out or broken teeth, jaws, and other damaged oral structures and soft tissue lacerations
Centers & Institutes
Healthcare Delivery by Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons in the US
The terms "maxillofacial surgeon" or "oral surgeon" may be used to refer to a specialist in specific contexts. It is fair to refer to them as oral surgeons, maxillofacial surgeons, or both, because educational curricula for this specialized field of dentistry typically involve training for both. In some cases, the training requirements for these two closely related specializations may differ. As its name suggests, oral surgeons may limit their further training to just treating conditions that affect the mouth and oral structures. Maxillofacial surgeons are educated to handle a wider range of problems affecting the mouth, face, head, and neck.
Since the majority of dentistry and medical institutions now provide degrees that combine training in oral and maxillofacial surgery, we now realize that practically all cases require a mix of knowledge of the mouth and the entire facial region.
However, the distinction between oral and maxillofacial surgeons and dentists should be made clear. Following dental school, oral and maxillofacial surgeons complete an additional four years of surgical training in a hospital-based residency program. They get training alongside physicians in emergency medicine, plastic surgery, otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat), anesthesiology, internal medicine, and other specialized medical fields. Compared to a general dentist, they are equipped with a far wider range of treatment expertise and experience.
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The material presented above is only meant to be informative and is not intended to take the place of advice from your doctor or another health care practitioner. We advise you to talk to your provider about any questions or issues you may have.