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Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are the surgical specialists of the dental profession. Their extensive education and training, their surgical expertise and unparalleled understanding of function and esthetics uniquely qualify them to treat the conditions, defects, injuries and esthetic aspects of the mouth, teeth, jaws and face.
TRAINING AND SCOPE OF PRACTICE
Following dental school, oral and maxillofacial surgeons spend a minimum of four years in a hospital-based surgical residency program. Some surgeons may also opt to earn a medical or other advanced degree and/or complete fellowships.
At the conclusion of their demanding training, oral and maxillofacial surgeons are well-prepared to:
- Manage diseases of the teeth and their supporting soft and hard tissues.
- Surgically reconstruct inadequate bone structure in the jaw area.
- Evaluate, plan a course of treatment and place dental implants to replace one, two or a mouthful of missing teeth.
- Expertly treat head and neck trauma and injuries to the face, jaws, mouth and teeth.
- Diagnose and treat facial pain.
- Diagnose and treat oral cancer and other diseases in the maxillofacial region.
- Perform corrective jaw surgery to improve the function and appearance of patients with such conditions as cleft lip and palate and other congenital defects.
- Diagnose and treat obstructive sleep apnea.
- Perform facial cosmetic procedures to enhance appearance and function.
Administration of Anesthesia
Oral and maxillofacial surgery residents train with anesthesiologists and anesthesiology residents. No other dental or medical specialty requires this degree of training and, as a result, oral and maxillofacial surgeons are the only healthcare specialists – aside from anesthesiologists – to administer all levels of sedation and general anesthesia. Anesthesia administered in the OMS office ranges from conscious sedation to deep intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. The level of anesthesia administered is carefully matched to the specific needs of the patient and the type of procedure that is to be performed.
To learn more and find an oral and maxillofacial surgeon in your area, visit MyOMS.org.
The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) represents more than 9,000 oral and maxillofacial surgeons in the United States, supporting specialized education, research and advocacy. AAOMS fellows and members comply with rigorous continuing education requirements and submit to periodic office anesthesia evaluations to ensure that office procedures and personnel meet stringent national standards.
The information provided here is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is provided to help you communicate effectively when you seek the advice of your oral and maxillofacial surgeon.