Wednesday, February 17, 2016
How an Oral Surgeon is Different From a Dentist
Oral and maxillofacial surgery is considered one of the nine dental specialties according to the American Dental Association. These kinds of surgeries are usually performed by a dentist with education in the specialty. It is usually abbreviated as OMF.
This means an oral surgeon is a dentist, but he is also more than a dentist. This is similar to other medical specialties. Both a neurosurgeon and a family doctor can be considered doctors, but the neurosurgeon is specialized and has more particular skills than the family doctor.
Oral surgeons handle more advanced surgeries such as dental implants and surgeries affecting the jawbones and facial structure. This may include cosmetic or reconstructive surgery that involves the mouth, jaw or face. A general dentist can screen for problems during routine exams and will usually recommend a patient to an oral surgeon for these specific procedures if the general dentist and patient agree they are necessary.
Not all procedures require an oral surgeon. A general dentist may be able to handle certain routine procedures such as tooth extraction, sealing cavities and clearing minor abscesses in the mouth and gums. These procedures are minor enough to not require additional certification or specialization.
Many oral surgeons may have additional qualifications beyond those of general dentists. In additional to a degree in dentistry and dental surgery, they may also have a standard medical or MD degree. Although not always necessary, this extra qualification helps the oral surgeon be more prepared and knowledgeable about these advanced procedures and possible complications from advanced surgery.