What is Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are the surgical specialists of the dental profession. Their extensive education and training, surgical expertise and unparalleled understanding of esthetics and function uniquely qualify them to treat the conditions, defects, injuries and esthetic aspects of the mouth, teeth, jaws and face. Patients who complain of pain or problems in this area are routinely referred to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for help.

Training and Scope of Practice

Following dental school, oral and maxillofacial surgeons complete a minimum of four years in a hospital-based surgical residency program. They train alongside medical residents in internal medicine, general surgery and anesthesiology, and also spend time in otolaryngology, plastic surgery, and emergency medicine. Their training focuses almost exclusively on the hard (ie, bone) and soft (ie, skin, muscle) tissue of the face, mouth, and jaws.

Office Surgery and Anesthesia

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are unique among non-anesthesiology practitioners in health care, in that they train with anesthesiologists and anesthesiology residents. No other dental or medical specialty requires this level of training and, as a result, oral and maxillofacial surgeons are the only healthcare specialists, aside from anesthesiologists, to administer all levels of sedation and general anesthesia. Anesthesia administered in the OMS office ranges from conscious sedation, to deep IV sedation and general anesthesia. The level of anesthesia administered is carefully matched to the specific needs of the patient and the type of procedure that is to be performed.