What is an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon?

 

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are trained to recognize and treat a wide spectrum of diseases, injuries and defects in the head, neck, face, jaws and the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region. They are also trained to administer anesthesia and provide care in an office setting. They treat problems such as the extraction of wisdom teeth, misaligned jaws, tumors and cysts of the jaw and mouth, and to perform dental implant surgery. Oral and maxillofacial surgery is a surgical specialty recognized by the American College of Surgeons and is one of nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association, the Royal College of Dentists of Canada, and the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons.

Typical training for an oral and maxillofacial surgeon includes:
  • Two to four years undergraduate study (BS, BA, or equivalent degrees).

  • Four years dental study (DMD, BDent, DDS or BDS).

  • Four to six years residency training (six years includes two additional years for acquiring a medical degree).

After completion of surgical training most undertake final specialty examinations.  The certifying body in the United States is the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

The average total length of education and training after secondary school is 12 to 14 years.

In addition, graduates of oral and maxillofacial surgery training programs can pursue fellowships, typically 1 – 2 years in length, in the following areas:

  • Head and neck cancer – microvascular reconstruction.

  • Cosmetic facial surgery (facelift, rhinoplasty, etc.).

  • Craniofacial surgery and pediatric maxillofacial surgery (cleft lip and palate repair, surgery for craniosynostosis, etc.).

  • Cranio-maxillofacial trauma (soft tissue and skeletal injuries to the face, head and neck).

 

 

Sources

University of Maryland "What is Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery?” page. University of Maryland Medical Center web site. http://www.umm.edu/omsurg/oral-maxillofacial.htm. Accessed July 18, 2012.

University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center "Residency Program” page. University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center web site.http://www.uthsc.edu/dentistry/Grad/OMS/resid ency.php. Accessed July 18, 2012.

Wikipedia "Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery” page. Wikipedia web site. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oral_and_maxillofacial_surgery. Accessed July 18, 2012.