Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are dental specialists most often associated with removal of wisdom teeth. However, these specialists do much more than simply pull teeth – they are trained in a wide range of advanced surgical techniques allowing them to treat various dental and facial conditions, defects, and injuries as well as provide esthetic improvements to the mouth, teeth, jaws, and face.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons treat patients with varied and complex needs. Oral surgeons provide treatment to patients suffering from painful or impacted teeth, facial pain, misaligned jaws, facial injuries from accidents, cysts and head and neck tumors. In addition, these dental specialists provide reconstructive and dental implant surgery as well as plastic surgery procedures to the maxillofacial region. Procedures an oral surgeon may perform range from the simple removal of teeth to the highly complex complete reconstruction of the face following a traumatic accident.
Oral Surgery Instruments
Training in oral surgery lasts for fours years in a hospital based setting following the completion of 4 years of dental school and prepares the individual for the diagnosis, surgical and related treatment of injuries, defects and diseases in areas that involve the hard and soft tissues of the head, mouth, teeth, gums, jaws and neck. Some training programs offer a 6 year program which allows the resident to also earn an MD degree. Admission into an oral surgery residency program is very difficult with most students graduating in the top 10% of their dental school class with high scores on the NBDE part I and II.
There are about 7,700 oral surgeons in the United States according to the ADA. Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons are among the highestpaid dental specialists and also rank among the highest paid specialists in any medical profession – in the range of $300,000 - $400,000+. For more information on becoming an oral surgeon and oral surgery residency programs, visit the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAMS).