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Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery FAQs


Find out what it takes to become an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and how they operate here.

What is oral and maxillofacial surgery?

Oral and maxillofacial surgery encompasses the art and science of diagnosis, surgical and related treatment of diseases, injuries, deformities, defects, and esthetic aspects of the oral and maxillofacial area. The word "maxillofacial" refers to the jaw and face.

What does it mean to be board certified?

Do you have questions about oral surgery?

Your board certified oral surgeon has graduated from an accredited dental school and is licensed in the state in which he or she practices. In addition, this individual has completed an oral and maxillofacial surgery residency program approved by the American Dental Association's Commission on Dental Accreditation.

During his/her oral and maxillofacial surgery residency, your board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon received graduate training in other disciplines such as general surgery, plastic surgery, medicine, anesthesia and pathology. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are trained to treat patients in the hospital, outpatient facilities, surgery centers and in private offices.

The American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is recognized by the American Dental Association as the specialty board for oral and maxillofacial surgery. The board is responsible for reviewing all applicants for board certification, as well as administering the examinations involved in the certification process.

In order to become board certified, an individual must complete an intensive application and examination process. Applicants for board certification in oral and maxillofacial surgery must provide verified written evidence of their educational and training qualifications. In addition, these individuals must provide evidence of their experience in all aspects of oral and maxillofacial surgery. Letters of recommendation from board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeons attesting to an applicant's acceptable ethical and moral standing in the profession and community are also required as part of the certification procedure. The applications of all candidates are reviewed by the board's "Credentials Committee."

Finally, your board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon was required to pass both a thorough written qualifying examination and a rigorous oral certifying examination to be certified as a "Diplomat of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery." Diplomats are encouraged to maintain current competence by ongoing continuing education. Diplomats are recertified in current competency every ten years by a comprehensive written examination.

Continuing professional education is an important tool keeping oral and maxillofacial surgeons current on new developments in the field. This is accomplished through national meetings, seminars, lectures, special courses, panels, symposia and self-study. The board- certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon has a demonstrated commitment to continual professional development. The American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery encourages its' diplomats to continue their professional development through various educational experiences.

What services do board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeons provide?

  • Removal of Diseased and Impacted Teeth and Anesthesia -- Oral and maxillofacial surgeons remove impacted, damaged and non-restorable teeth. They also provide sophisticated, safe, and effective anesthesia services in their office including intravenous IV dental sedation and general anesthesia.
  • Dental Implants -- Oral and maxillofacial surgeons, in close collaboration with restorative dentists, help plan and then place implants used to replace missing teeth. They can also reconstruct bone in places that need bone for implant placement and modify gingival (gum) tissue surrounding implants when necessary to make teeth placed on implants look even more natural.
  • Facial Trauma -- Oral and maxillofacial surgeons care for facial injuries by repairing routine and complex facial skin lacerations (cuts); setting fractured jaw and facial bones; reconnection severed nerves and ducts; and treating other injuries. These procedures include care of oral tissues, the jaws, cheek and nasal bones, the forehead and eye sockets.
  • Pathological Conditions -- Oral and maxillofacial surgeons manage patients with benign and malignant cysts and tumors of the oral and facial regions. Severe infections of the oral cavity, salivary glands, jaw and neck are also treated.
  • Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgery -- Oral and maxillofacial surgeons correct jaw, facial bone and facial soft tissue problems left as a result of previous trauma or removal pathology. This surgery to restore form and function often includes moving skin, bone, nerves, and other tissues from other parts of the body to reconstruct the jaws and face. These same skills are also used when oral and maxillofacial surgeons perform cosmetic procedures for improvement of problems due to unwanted facial features or aging.
  • Facial Pain -- Oral and maxillofacial surgeons possess skills in the diagnosis and treatment of facial pain disorders including those due to temporomandibular (TMJ) problems.
  • Correction of Dentofacial (Bite) Deformities and Birth Defects -- Oral and maxillofacial surgeons, usually in conjunction with an orthodontist, surgically reconstruct and realign the upper and lower jaws into proper dental and facial relationships to provide improved biting function and facial appearance. They also surgically correct birth defects of the face including cleft lip and palate.

If you need oral surgery, call us at 1-866-970-0441. We'll put you in touch with a great dentist today!

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