Why Choose an Oral Surgeon
No other medical or dental practitioner has more training, expertise or experience performing surgery in the mouth or jaws. Making the correct diagnosis, plan of care and efficient treatment are reasons why patients and other providers choose to work with and oral surgeon.
What is the difference between an oral maxillofacial surgeon and my general dentist?
All dentists attend a four-year dental school prior to receiving their dental degree. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons then spend an additional four to six years intensively training in medicine, surgery, anesthesia and implant dentistry. Some receive medical degrees in the process but all get the same intensive core training in expert third-molar removal, complex-implant placement, jaw surgery, jaw infections, simple and complex exodontia and trauma surgery. Following this training, most then submit for written and oral examinations to achieve board certification as both our doctors have.
I’m just having some teeth removed, why can’t my general dentist do it?
Some general dentists remove teeth and do so quite well. Many prefer to have their patient treated by an oral surgeon often because :
- they know the oral surgeon can complete the procedure quicker, with less pain and with a faster recovery
- complex medical history
- a need to manage pain and anxiety
- prior unpleasant experiences with general practitioners doing surgery
- the surgery may likely encounter complications that an oral surgeon is better suited to manage (i.e. broken roots, close proximity to sinus, infections, etc)
My dentist says she has a specialist that comes to her office monthly and can take out my son’s wisdom teeth under anesthesia. Is her office set up to provide this procedure safely?
Oral surgery offices are built from the ground up for outpatient surgery and anesthesia rather than general dental care. From anesthesia and safety equipment to patient flow and recovery, the facility is designed for outpatient surgery. All oral-surgery offices undergo onsite examination and certification to ensure office-based anesthesia standards are met. All general dental offices are different, but most necessitate that the traveling dentist bring anesthesia, surgery and safety equipment with each visit. Additionally, while complications are rare, often, patients want the reassurance of a quick unscheduled visit to check in or confirm healing is going well. With most surgeons’ offices staffed full time, there is always an expert available to provide that follow-up care and reassurance. Such accessibility is often not available with traveling providers.
My dentist says they can remove my wisdom teeth or place my dental implant and thus I don’t have to see a specialist such as an oral surgeon?
An oral and maxillofacial surgeon only does surgical procedures. That’s what sets them apart from a dentist that focuses most of their daily routine on non-surgical procedures such as dental fillings, dental crowns and root canals. As a specialist we treat complications that sometimes occur by providers that don’t have the surgical training that an oral surgeon has obtained. These surgical complications include but are not limited to nerve injuries, damage to the maxillary sinus and or facial infections leaving sometimes permanent damage. It’s important to research who is doing your surgery and ask them questions such as “Are you board certified as a surgeon, how many of these surgeries have you done, how did you obtain your training to do these surgeries and lastly what happens if a complication arises under your care?”
As an oral surgeon we have 4-6 years after dental school to obtain the knowledge and skills to do these surgical procedures because they don’t teach you in dental school how to do most of these types of cases. It takes many years after dental school in a surgical residency program to learn and master these surgical procedures, gain the knowledge to sedate patients and to treat all the different medical issues someone may have that could affect their procedure or outcome. Therefore, when you choose a board-certified surgeon you know your getting someone truly that understands surgery and is dedicated and exclusive to just doing surgery.
What procedures does an oral surgeon perform other than those on wisdom teeth?
While we are indeed the wisdom-tooth experts, there are many other areas in which oral surgeons have expertise. Sophisticated implant placement and the various hard- and soft-tissue grafting procedures that are done to optimize implant results are routine for us. Orthognathic or jaw surgery for developmental bite problems and the treatment of traumatic facial injuries are in our areas of expertise as well. The primary surgical procedure that cures sleep apnea is one our specialty developed procedures. Some of our surgeons treat temporomandibular joint disorders and we offer minimally invasive joint surgery for the most common temporomandibular joint issues when surgery is necessary.