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What is an Oral Surgeon?

By Nat Robinson
Updated: Mar 02, 2024

An oral surgeon is a dentist who completes additional years of training to become qualified to perform surgical procedures on the teeth, gums, mouth, and jaws. Root canals, removing wisdom teeth, and surgically repairing damaged gums and jaws are some common procedures done by this type of surgeon. By seeing an oral surgeon, a patient can be adequately diagnosed and receive treatment of the most severe dental problems. Oral Surgeons are also trained in anesthesia, and many complete some surgical procedures in their offices, although they may also work in a hospital setting.

Surgeries involving the teeth are some of the most common procedures performed by an oral surgeon. Common surgeries include removing the wisdom teeth and extracting impacted teeth. The surgeon may also perform root canals, in which the internal living pulp of a tooth is removed due to damage or infection. A doctor trained in oral surgery may be the ideal consultant for such situations because the patient may be able to experience a pain-free procedure by being sedated. Additionally, an individual with broken or missing teeth due to disease or injury may consult a doctor specializing in oral surgery to have the teeth extracted and replaced, including receiving dental implants.

Gum surgery and mouth surgery are also often performed by doctor of oral surgery. Many gum surgeries are performed due to disease and other deteriorating conditions. A gingivectomy, which involves the removal of gum tissue, is one procedure which may be done by the surgeon. Additionally, individuals affected by birth defects, such as a cleft lip, and other conditions concerning the lips and mouth may consult a specialist in oral surgery for treatment.

An oral surgeon with some years of additional training may be qualified to perform oral and maxillofacial surgery. This type of surgeon may perform surgery on any part of the head and neck, including the face, jaw, or skull. They often perform reconstructive surgery for individuals involved in accidents.

There are other common procedures done by this type of surgeon. The surgeon can diagnose oral cysts and tumors, which may then be removed and treated. Additionally, the most severe types of oral cavity infections can be treated by a doctor in this specialty. Some surgeons also treat sleep disorders, such as apnea and snoring.

Due to the wide range of procedures that can by performed by the surgeon, a common day may include seeing a variety of patients with varying degrees of oral complications. In addition, the doctor may spend a great deal of time giving advice on how to prevent oral diseases and consulting with patients prior to performing surgery. An individual interested in becoming and oral surgeon will need to obtain an undergraduate degree and enter dental school. After completing dental school, the student will generally complete additional years of study, typically in a surgical residence program in order to become an oral surgeon.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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