Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
Oral and maxillofacial surgery is designated as one of dentistry’s nine specialty areas, and focuses specifically on treating diseases, injuries and abnormalities of the face, mouth, teeth, and jaws.
Oral surgeons undergo specialized training, including a residency program that requires four to seven years of intensive surgical training in a clinical setting. More advanced programs incorporate training in medical school.
In addition, oral and maxillofacial surgeons are among the only specialists trained in managing facial trauma, so most hospital trauma centers have an oral and maxillofacial surgeon on staff. An oral surgeon is also specially trained in administering anesthesia, so they can provide patients with in-office anesthesia services, including intravenous (IV) sedation and general anesthesia.
This specialized training is what makes an oral and maxillofacial surgeon the most qualified to perform dental implant surgery.
While many professionals place dental implants, there is a marked distinction between dentists who place implants and those who are dental implant experts. Due to the advanced, specialized training that the oral and maxillofacial surgeon undergoes throughout schooling and residency, oral surgeons are usually the best qualified to place dental implants.
General dentists typically serve as the referrers to the oral surgeon, working hand-in-hand with them to develop orthotics and prosthetic appliances to treat a number of aesthetic and functional issues.
General dentists will bring the patient in to determine if a dental implant is an appropriate tooth replacement option for them, and then refer the patient to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for the procedure.
The relationship between the general dentist and the oral and maxillofacial surgeon is a team-based approach that best serves the patient in providing the highest quality care.