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What do oral and maxillofacial surgeons do?

What Does An Oral Surgeon Do And What Procedures Do They Perform?

An oral and maxillofacial surgeon, or simply an oral surgeon, performs surgery on the mouth and jaws.  This can be done to repair birth defects, such as a cleft lip and palate, facial reconstructions, and removal of teeth.

Is An Oral Surgeon The Same As A Dental Surgeon?

No, an oral surgeon and a dental surgeon are not the same.  A dental surgeon is simply a dentist.  They are trained to do a certain amount of surgery in the mouth, such as removing teeth.  But they haven’t studied to do the more complex surgeries which an oral and maxillofacial surgeon performs.

Oral Surgeon Performing Surgery To Remove Wisdom Teeth

Oral surgeons have an extra 4 to 6 years of training than dentists and therefore have the expertise to do much more complex surgeries.  Dentists remove teeth every day as part of their job, but they refer more complicated tooth extractions, such as impacted wisdom teeth, to an oral surgeon.

What Procedures Does An Oral Surgeon Perform?

It’s a common misconception that all oral surgeons do is remove teeth.  The span of procedures they perform is much wider and more complex than many people realize.  Some of the procedures of oral and maxillofacial surgeons do are:

  • Removal of teeth.  Oral surgeons commonly remove impacted wisdom teeth as well teeth which are broken down and difficult to remove.
  • Orthognathic surgery (jaw surgery).  This surgery can be done to realign the jaws and may be done in conjunction with orthodontic braces.  Orthognathic surgery may also be done for the treatment of problems with the jaw joint (TMJ) and other jaw conditions.
  • Birth defects.  Children born with a cleft lip and palate will need to have a number of surgeries done by an oral surgeon.
  • Facial reconstruction.  Following an accident, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon will reconstruct the mouth and face.
  • Dental implants.  Oral surgeons do the surgical aspect of an implant and the patient is then sent back to their dentist or prosthodontist to have the crown placed on top.
  • Removal of benign tumors and cysts.
  • Oral cancer.  Oral surgeons perform biopsies of suspicious tissue as well removal of oral cancers.