What Makes an Oral Surgeon Different from Other Medical Specialists?
While traditional medical doctors and dentists have the license, experience and skills necessary to treat patients for a variety of conditions, only oral surgeons possess the certification and abilities required to address more serious and complex dental circumstances. Also called maxillofacial surgeons, their focus lies in the diagnosis and treatment of injuries, diseases and other conditions that affect the teeth, gums, jaws and face. Some of the most common issues addressed by oral surgeons include:
- TMJ, or problems with the temporomandibular joint
- Fractures, severe cuts or serious contusions of the face
- Wisdom teeth problems
- Face and mouth deformities, including cleft lip and palate
- Cancer of the mouth
- Missing teeth
Oral surgeons frequently work with traditional dentists and orthodontists in order to formulate more comprehensive treatment plans for their patients. In most cases, a primary dentist refers his or her patients to an oral surgeon for more intensive procedures, such as wisdom tooth extraction. Oral surgeons are the only medical professionals qualified to perform complex dental procedures like bone grafts within the jaw, the placement of dental implants and the correction of dental deformities caused by injury or genetic defect.
Education Requirements for an Oral Surgeon
In order to begin a career as an oral surgeon, a student must first obtain a 4-year bachelor’s degree at an accredited college or university. Common areas of concentration for these students include chemistry, biology, physiology and health. After graduation, the majority of students apply immediately to a specialized dental school at which they spend an additional four years training, learning and getting hands on experience with patients while under professional supervision. In most cases, the state in which the oral surgeon plans to practice will administer a written and practical exam before licensing and certification are finalized.
Skills and Characteristics of an Oral Surgeon
In addition to the innumerable abilities required in order to efficiently, responsibly and properly practice oral surgery, maxillofacial surgeons must also possess a variety of other skills as well. These include, but are not limited to:
- Multi-tasking abilities
- Patience and a solid work ethic, as many oral surgeons own and manage their own surgery suites and practices
- Physical dexterity and intellectual strength
- Management skills used to supervise and direct assistants and other staff
- The ability to accurately and effectively explain technologically complex terms to increase patient understanding
- Exceptional communication skills
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons specialize in a field of medicine that is constantly evolving and advancing. Their responsibilities to their patients and staff are complemented by their vigilance regarding new technology, cutting-edge instruments and advancements in the practical application of contemporary dental medicine. To experience the difference for yourself, call for your free initial consultation with a licensed oral surgeon today.
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