What is a Board Certified Oral Surgeon?
Oral surgeons can receive the required training and have specialty knowledge, but they must be board certified in order to practice dental medicine. What this means is that, once they complete their schooling, they must receive certification from the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. This is similar to how a nurse, doctor, teacher, lawyer, and other careers would require special licensing or certification in order to legally work in the field. We have an available board certified oral surgeon at Precision Dental Specialties to provide for all of your oral surgery needs.
To become an oral surgeon, our professionals must first complete an undergraduate degree (Bachelor’s) in dental medicine or a similar field. After graduation, they can then apply for a specialty dental degree, such as a DMD, DDS, BDS, or BDent. This is an additional four years of schooling post-undergraduate studies.
Once they have graduated from this advanced dental medicine program, they can complete four to six years of residency training. Four years is the minimum, with the additional two being for the purpose of earning a medical degree. During this residency, our oral surgeons practice dental medicine and surgical skills, but also gain knowledge of working directly with patients. This includes skills such as communication, compassion, and documentation.
Before oral surgeons can officially practice their craft, they must pass the certification exams from the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. The qualifying exam includes three hundred questions regarding ten different subject areas. Successful completion of this exam allows them to then take the oral certifying exam. The oral certifying exam consists of three sections with four twelve-minute cases each. Oral surgeons have three years to take the oral certifying exam following their completion of the qualifying exam.
In addition, oral surgeons may also choose to complete a fellowship so they can be more specialized in their work. This includes areas such as cancer of the head and neck, cosmetic facial surgery, craniofacial and pediatric maxillofacial surgery, and cranio-maxillofacial trauma. Fellowships generally last between one and two years. In total, the total education time for board certified oral surgeons is about twelve to fourteen years.
What Do Oral Surgeons Do?
Oral surgeons treat a wide array of dentofacial injuries and diseases that are too complex for a dentist to treat in their office, due to insufficient training or available equipment. Some of these treatments include tooth extractions, dental implants, orthognathic (jaw) surgery, facial trauma treatment, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder treatment, tumor removal, and facial reconstructive surgery.
In addition, oral surgeons often work as a part of a team of medical professionals. For instance, dental restorations are often customized for individual patients. So, while our oral surgeon or a dentist may be able to make a mold of your teeth, a dental lab technician would need to be the one to actually craft the new tooth for you. Oral surgeons may also send tissues and other diagnostic tests to specialty labs for follow-up. Call Precision Dental Specialties at 435-522-5629 if you would like more information on oral surgeon qualifications and duties.