What Is An Oral Surgeon
What Is An Oral Surgeon
Professionally known as oral and maxillofacial surgeons, what is an oral surgeon is a specialist in the dentistry profession formally trained to diagnose and surgically treat defects, injuries, and diseases of the teeth, gums, mouth, jaw, sinuses, and neck, as well as other soft tissues and structures of the face. With such a comprehensive, nearly all-inclusive scope of requirements regarding the face (from the removal of impacted teeth to the repair of facial trauma), it is of the utmost importance that an oral surgeon fully develop expertise not only in the functional aspects but also the aesthetic characteristics of the entire facial structure.
What Is An Oral Surgeon – Training And Board Certification
As with all dentists, oral surgeons start out completing a four-year dentistry degree program followed by four to six more years of a hospital-based surgical residency program. The residency training program is comprised of rotations through related medical fields, such as internal medicine, emergency medicine, general surgery, plastic surgery, otolaryngology (ears, nose, and throat), pathology, and anesthesia. Expertise in evaluating patients for anesthesia, delivering all forms of both local and general anesthesia, and monitoring post-anesthetic patients is a critical component of what is an oral surgeon‘s training.
In addition to an intensive application and examination process, board certification in oral and maxillofacial surgery requires that applicants must provide verified written evidence of their educational and training qualifications. Letters of recommendation must be submitted also from board certified oral surgeons who can substantiate the applicants’ experience in all aspects of oral surgery, as well as attest to the applicants’ acceptable ethical and moral standing in the profession and community. Entry into the oral surgery field demands the utmost integrity and unwavering dedication to patient care.
Finally, a board certified oral surgeon is required to pass both a thorough written qualifying examination and a rigorous oral certifying examination to become a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Diplomates are recertified every ten years by a comprehensive written examination. For this reason, continuing professional education is an important part of being an oral surgeon, with respect to staying current on the leading edge developments in the field.
What Is An Oral Surgeon – Surgical Expertise
All the education, training, and certification will have fully prepared an oral surgeon to perform these expert services:
- Removal of diseased and impacted teeth: The most well-known treatment that practically everyone experiences with an oral surgeon is the removal of wisdom teeth. Called the “third molars”, wisdom teeth are almost destined to cause trouble. Their hard-to-reach location makes home hygiene difficult, and they often become misaligned and crowd the adjacent teeth, causing a great deal of pain, swelling, jaw stiffness, and irritation of the nerves.
- Dental implants and bone reconstruction: Not all patients will be suitable candidates for the implant and reconstruction procedures practiced by an oral surgeon. For example, since dental implants are artificial tooth root substitutes physically anchored to the jaw bone, a patient must have adequate bone density, strong immune system to fight of infection, and excellent home oral hygiene habits.
- Repairing routine and complex facial trauma: Any physical injury to the facial structure is called a facial trauma, whether it be a burn, bruise, cut, or damage to the underlying bone. The most common facial injury occurs with the nasal bone from a wide variety of causes such as falls, contact sports, or car accidents.
- Managing pathological conditions, such as infections, or benign and malignant cysts or tumors: Some cysts may be necessary to have surgically removed, if there is a risk that they should burst and become infected. Tumors arise from a growth or swelling anywhere along the facial nerve. If left untreated, tumors can in extreme cases expand to cover a large part of the face.
- Reconstructive surgery to correct or restore the form and function of the jaw, facial bones and soft tissues: Not to be confused with cosmetic plastic surgery done on an elective basis, facial reconstructive surgery is performed on patients who have been diagnosed as suffering from some form of congenital or developmental deformity.
- Treating facial pain including temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders: The temporomandibular joint connects the lower jaw to the skull. When this joint gets inflamed, it can cause substantial pain. Everyday habits can play a major role in the onset of TMJ, such as teeth grinding (bruxism), excessive gum chewing or nail biting, or even taking too big of bites when eating. Correcting these habits an significantly reduce TMJ, and in many cases surgery is used as a last resort.
- Correction of dentofacial (bite) deformities and birth defects (cleft lip or palate): Correcting the congenital deformities of cleft lip or palate can be highly successful if surgery is performed soon after birth or in early childhood.
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