Over the years, you’ve built trust and confidence in your general dentist. So if your general dentist recommends that you see an oral surgeon to have an impacted wisdom tooth removed, your first question may be, “Do I really have to see a specialist?”
Here’s why the answer is yes. Oral surgeons are the surgical specialists of the dental profession. Just as you wouldn’t ask your family doctor to perform an appendectomy, there are certain procedures that should only be performed by oral surgeons, who have extensive education, training and surgical expertise. Following dental school, oral surgeons complete a minimum of four years in hospital-based surgical residency programs, where they train alongside medical residents in internal medicine, general surgery and anesthesiology, while also spending time in emergency medicine, plastic surgery and otolaryngology. Their training focuses almost exclusively on the bone, skin and muscle of the face, mouth and jaws.
After completing this demanding program, oral surgeons have the skills, training and expertise to:
- Perform complex tooth extractions, including removing impacted teeth, such as wisdom teeth.
- Evaluate, plan a course of treatment and place dental implants to replace one or more teeth.
- Diagnose and treat facial pain due to conditions such as TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder).
- Diagnose and surgically treat obstructive sleep apnea.
- Surgically reconstruct inadequate bone structure in the jaw area.
- Treat accident victims who suffer head or neck trauma along with injuries to the face, jaws, mouth and/or teeth.
- Perform facial cosmetic surgery procedures to enhance facial appearance.
- Treat patients with tumors and cysts of the jaws.
- Diagnose and treat oral cancer and other diseases in the maxillofacial region.