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What Does an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Do? (Updated)

July 22, 2019

Filed under: Other Topics — Dr. Steve Koo @ 8:30 am

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are dental specialists who have years of additional training and experience focusing almost completely on the bone, skin, and muscles of the face, mouth, and jaw. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons have unique knowledge and expertise that exclusively qualifies them to diagnose and treat a host of functional and cosmetic conditions affecting this area of the body. If you’re searching for a qualified and compassionate oral health specialist, call to schedule an appointment with our team of specialists in Houston at Piney Point Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery today.

Education & Required Training for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons

Upon completion of an undergraduate degree plan and doctoral study in dentistry, oral and maxillofacial surgeons go on to complete four to six years of advanced surgical training. These additional years of education allow oral and maxillofacial surgeons the ability to offer a wide variety of treatment options for patients who have experienced trauma, significant dental misalignment, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, and other serious oral health concerns that may need targeted, surgical treatment for optimal care. The goal of training and education in this dental specialty is to prepare oral surgeons to serve as a bridge between dentistry and medicine. In fact, some medical doctors receive degrees in oral and maxillofacial surgery, and oral surgeons may decide to complete a medical doctorate in order to provide the widest variety of services.

In addition to advanced education and residency in oral surgery, most oral and maxillofacial surgeons have training and certification in all levels of anesthesia and sedation from local to general anesthesia as well as nitrous oxide, oral conscious, and IV sedation.

At Piney Point Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, we believe that continuing education should never stop. Our very own Dr. Koo and Dr. Weil know that well. They’re members of many top dental professional organizations, and they never tire of staying abreast of the latest research and developments in oral and maxillofacial surgery. With so much training and experience under our belts, you can trust that you’re in expert hands with your Houston oral surgeons.

Procedures Performed by Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons

After completing advanced education and training, oral and maxillofacial surgeons are able to offer a broad spectrum of surgical treatments, including all of the following:

  • Dental implant surgery
  • Wisdom tooth management and extraction
  • Treatment of facial injury (broken bones, facial lacerations, or broken eye orbits)
  • Facial cosmetic surgery
  • Airway correction for obstructive sleep apnea sufferers
  • Cancer diagnosis and removal for head, neck, throat, and oral cancers
  • Soft tissue and tooth surgeries to improve appearance or function
  • Cleft lip and palate treatment
  • Lip and tongue tie surgeries
  • Anesthesia administration to ensure comfort throughout surgical treatment
  • Corrective orthognathic (jaw) surgery
  • Treatments to correct temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction and relieve facial pain
  • Dentoalveolar surgery, including a range of tissue repair, shaping, and grafting procedures
  • Pre-prosthetic surgery to restore supportive structures before tooth replacement
  • Soft and hard tissue grafting
  • Correction of congenital craniofacial malformations
  • Diagnosis and treatment for chronic disease, disorders, or infections
  • Orthodontic surgery to improve the alignment of the jaw during or prior to orthodontic interventions
  • Endodontic microsurgery or advanced root canal treatment
  • Emergency interventions for knocked out or broken teeth, jaws, and other damaged oral structures and soft tissue lacerations

How to Find the Right Houston Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon

If you need to have an oral surgery performed, your general dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon in Houston who they trust. You do not have to take this recommendation, but it is usually a good indicator that the surgeon is someone they have worked with and know to provide good care.

If you wish to look for oral surgeons in Houston on your own, however, make sure you check for someone who has significant experience, values continuing education, and has case studies to prove their expertise. When you keep these tenants in mind, we are sure you will end up at Piney Point Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery! You are welcome to contact us to discuss a recommended oral surgery at any time.

Learn more about how to find the right oral surgeon for you.

Frequently Asked Questions about Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons

Visiting a dental specialist of any kind can be a stressful experience, but at Piney Point Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, we don’t want you to feel any undue stress or fear. That’s why our team of knowledgeable specialists are committed to creating a relaxed and welcoming dental office environment. We truly go the extra mile to make visiting us a positive experience. One way that we can help you feel more at ease in our office is to answer all of your questions. We believe a knowledgeable patient is a happy patient! If you have questions, never hesitate to ask. Below, we’ve compiled answers to some of those questions we hear most often.

What is the difference between an oral surgeon and a maxillofacial surgeon?

In some cases, you may hear specialists referred to as just an oral surgeon or just a maxillofacial surgeon. In most cases, training for both is combined in educational curricula for this specialty field of dentistry, so it’s appropriate to refer to them as oral surgeons, maxillofacial surgeons, or both. There may be some differentiation in the training necessary for these two similar specialties in specific situations. Oral surgeons, as the name implies, might focus advanced training on just diseases, trauma, and corrective procedures associated with only the mouth and oral structures. Maxillofacial surgeons would be trained to treat broader-reaching conditions that impact the mouth, face, head, and neck. Today, we realize that almost all cases require a combination of knowledge of the mouth and the whole facial region, so the vast majority of dental and medical schools offer degrees that combine training in oral and maxillofacial surgery.

What is the difference between a dentist and an oral surgeon?

It’s important to understand that oral and maxillofacial surgeons aren’t just dentists. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are dental specialists, surgically trained in a hospital-based residency program for an additional four years after dental school. They train alongside doctors of internal medicine, general surgery, anesthesiology, otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), plastic surgery, emergency medicine, and other special medical areas. This gives them a much broader spectrum of treatment knowledge and experience than a general dentist.

When should you see an oral surgeon?

If you experience severe facial trauma, need a tooth extracted, are diagnosed with disease impacting the face, need extensive jaw alignment prior to orthodontic treatment, or are dealing with a host of other conditions impacting the mouth, throat, head, face, and neck, the odds are good that seeking out an oral and maxillofacial surgeon will be the best solution. One or more of our doctors are on call at local hospitals to provide their expertise whenever needed. If you need a second opinion concerning recommended oral surgery or have a less traumatic surgical need (wisdom tooth extraction, dental implant procedure, etc.), you may call and schedule a consultation appointment with one of our skilled practitioners here in our Houston oral surgery office. At Piney Point Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, we work hand in hand with local dental offices and hospitals to provide assistance, guidance, and treatments to ensure optimal patient experience.

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