What is the Difference Between an Oral Surgeon and a Dentist?

You’re at the dentist’s office, waiting to hear what to do about your wisdom teeth, and you hear your dentist tell you they’re going to refer you to an oral surgeon… -wait what now? Who is this oral surgeon and why am I being referred? Oral and facial surgeons are uniquely trained to diagnose and operate to treat a number of conditions of the bone, skin and muscle of the face, mouth and jaw.

You might be thinking, wait… my dentist has done surgery on me before, does that make him or her an oral surgeon? Well, while dentists can perform minor oral surgeries, they are not oral surgeons.

Your dentist is your go-to for care of your mouth and teeth. You see them regularly for a general oral exam. Dentists can treat cavities, gum disease, root canals, fillings, crowns, and more, including basic tooth extractions and simple surgeries. Often designated by a suffix of DDS (doctor of dental surgery) or DMD (doctor of dental medicine), they receive unique training in dental school. When more specialized oral or maxillofacial (relating to the jaws and face) care is needed, your dentist will refer you to a specialist like the board certified oral surgeons at the Oral Facial Surgery Institute.

OFSI’s very own Dr. Shawn B. Davis and Dr. Jamison P. Metcalf serve to provide the highest quality of care and make a difference in the lives of their Southern Utah, Northern Arizona, and Nevada patients.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons like Dr. Davis and Dr. Metcalf must attend four years of dental school before continuing on to become surgically trained in a hospital-based residency program for a minimum of four years. Oral surgeons are trained in anesthesia and sedation methods, ensuring your surgery goes smoothly.

Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon has many years of education and hands-on training to provide treatment for a wide range of conditions, including, but not limited to:

  • Dental implant surgery
  • Wisdom teeth extraction
  • Other extractions
  • Endodontic surgery
  • Facial aesthetic surgery
  • Facial trauma
  • Cleft lip/palate
  • TMJ/TMD and facial pain
  • Oral cancer

So whether it’s wisdom teeth extraction, or teeth in a day, our team is dedicated to ensuring your every experience at the Oral and Facial Surgery Institute is comfortable, communicative, and convenient. For us, there is no better feeling in the world than making a difference in our patients’ lives. Let us make a difference in yours—schedule an appointment at our oral surgery office in St. George, Utah today!