Oral and maxillofacial surgery is one of the nine dental specialties currently recognized by the American Dental Association and the American College of Surgeons. Oral Maxillofacial surgeons are highly specialized surgeons that are trained to treat a wide range of disorders and jaw and tooth emergencies.
What Kinds of Situations do Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Treat?
If you had your wisdom teeth removed, chances are they were removed by an Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon. These surgeons treat a wide variety of oral issues, as well as injuries and diseases in and around your jaw.
They aren’t the kind of specialist you’ll call in if you have a chipped tooth. But if you lose a tooth and need a replacement, you might find yourself talking to an Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon. They handle implants, and more extensive oral and jaw repairs and reconstructions after accidents.
You might also need an Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon if you need a jaw re-alignment. They also treat tumors and cysts that develop on or near your jaw and can earn additional specializations to treat complex issues like cleft palates.
Some Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons can also perform a variety of cosmetic procedures, including cosmetic implants.
Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons can also be called on to consult with other doctors for some issues. If you have sleep apnea, you might go to an Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon so that they can work with your doctor as a consultant. They might also get called in to help correct and treat obstructive sleep apnea and other condition that involve your mouth and jaw.
This type of surgeon can also be critical in the treatment of certain types of oral cancers.
How are Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Trained:
Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons need to complete dental school before they can move on to their specialization. That means that they have the same skills and expertise as your dentist, plus additional training, and specialization. It also means that your Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons can also notice and diagnose a variety of mouth and tooth issues, just like your dentist.
Depending on why you’re seeing an Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon, they make recommendations for your oral health and future care.
After dental school, Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons study for another 4-6 years learning the additional surgical skills needed for the base specialty. Beyond that, Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons can also spend another 1-2 years earning additional specialties.
Their specialties include:
- Cosmetic facial surgery
- Craniofacial surgery and pediatric maxillofacial surgery
- Treating craniofacial traumas
The result is that these are some of the most highly specialized and skilled surgeons out there. Other than anesthesiologists, they are the only specialists able to use all forms of sedation. They have a strong understanding of your face and jaw, as well as the inner workings of your mouth and teeth.
If you ever find yourself in the care of an Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon, rest assured that you’re in good hands. Their extensive training and specialization makes them some of the most qualified people out there to help you diagnose and treat issues starting with your mouth and jaw.
Your mouth and jaw are important for your whole body’s health, so these treatments are about a lot more than just having good teeth for a family picture. Taking care of your mouth and jaw can have a huge effect on your overall health.