What do oral and maxillofacial surgeons do?

What do oral and maxillofacial surgeons do?

What Does An Oral Surgeon Do, and What Procedures Do They Perform?

An oral surgeon is a dental specialist who performs surgery on the face, mouth, and jaw. Oral surgeons are highly trained professionals who specialize in treating conditions of the mouth, teeth, and jaws. They perform various procedures, ranging from simple extractions to complex reconstructive surgeries.

Standard procedures performed by an oral surgeon include wisdom tooth removal, corrective jaw surgery, dental implants, facial trauma repair, sleep apnea treatment, and orthognathic surgery. In addition to these more common procedures, oral surgeons may treat facial pain or TMJ disorders (temporomandibular joint disorder). They can also provide cosmetic treatments such as lip augmentation or chin implantation.

Oral surgeons must complete a four-year residency program after graduating from dental school before practicing as oral surgeons. This residency includes extensive general anesthesia and intravenous sedation training for surgical procedures.

An oral and maxillofacial surgeon, or simply an oral surgeon, performs surgery on the mouth and jaws.  This can be done to repair birth defects, such as a cleft lip and palate, facial reconstructions, and teeth removal.

Is An Oral Surgeon The Same As A Dental Surgeon?

No, an oral surgeon and a dental surgeon are not the same.  A dental surgeon is simply a dentist.  They are trained to do a certain amount of surgery in the mouth, such as removing teeth.  But they haven’t studied to do the more complex surgeries that an oral and maxillofacial surgeon performs.

Oral surgeons have an extra 4 to 6 years of training than dentists and therefore have the expertise to do much more complex surgeries.  Dentists remove teeth daily as part of their job, but they refer more complicated tooth extractions, such as impacted wisdom teeth, to an oral surgeon.

What Procedures Does An Oral Surgeon Perform?

It’s a common misconception that all oral surgeons do is remove teeth.  The span of procedures they perform is much broader and more complex than many people realize.  Some of the procedures of oral and maxillofacial surgeons do are:

  • Removal of teeth.  Oral surgeons commonly remove impacted wisdom teeth and teeth that are broken down and difficult to remove.
  • Orthognathic surgery (jaw surgery).  This surgery can be done to realign the jaws and may be done in conjunction with orthodontic braces.  Orthognathic surgery may also treat problems with the jaw joint (TMJ) and other jaw conditions.
  • Birth defects.  Children born with a cleft lip and palate will need several surgeries by an oral surgeon.
  • Facial reconstruction.  An oral and maxillofacial surgeon will reconstruct the mouth and face after an accident.
  • Dental implants.  Oral surgeons do the surgical aspect of an implant, and the patient is then sent back to their dentist or prosthodontist to have the crown placed on top.
  • Removal of benign tumors and cysts.
  • Oral cancer.  Oral surgeons perform biopsies of suspicious tissue as well removal of oral cancers.


An oral surgeon is a highly specialized dental professional who performs complex procedures and surgeries to diagnose, treat, and prevent various diseases, disorders, and conditions of the mouth, teeth, gums, and jaw. Oral surgeons have years of additional training beyond that of a general dentist, which allows them to perform procedures such as wisdom tooth extraction, dental implants, facial trauma repair, and more.

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