What does an oral surgeon do that a dentist does not? It’s a common question, and one we can answer clearly for you so you don’t have any misconceptions about who to go to for treatment.
What Is a Dentist?
A general dentist is like your primary care doctor, but for your teeth. All dentists are required to obtain an undergraduate degree, then attend four more years of school to obtain either a doctor medicine in dentistry (DMD) or a doctor of dental surgery (DDS).
In their everyday practice, dentists perform a range of procedures, including, but not limited to:
- Root canals
They also perform cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening, and some are able to provide orthodontic services like Invisalign.
What Is an Oral Surgeon?
An oral surgeon returns for another four to eight years of education after dental school to become highly trained in their specific area of practice.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons take on the complicated cases that involve procedures such as:
- Temporomandibular joint treatment and surgery
- Jaw or facial injuries or infections
- Impacted teeth or tooth loss
- Wisdom teeth removal
- Dental implants
- Cyst removal
- Simple and complex extractions
Their scope of practice is wide-ranging. While they have also received general dentist training, they focus on complex issues like bone repair and jaw realignment. Typically, when the patient needs a procedure completed that is outside of their scope of practice, the general dentist will refer them to an oral surgeon.
What Do You Need?
When you have a dental complaint or a procedural need, call your dentist first and set up an appointment. This is a smart first step. With full knowledge of your clinical history, your dentist is able to assess the situation in context and come up with the best course of action to take.
When you need an oral surgery procedure, it’s often your dentist who will make the referral to a qualified surgeon they trust so they can work hand in hand with them to ensure the best possible outcome.
What We Do
At Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, we work with a range of providers to give our patients the high-quality care they deserve. We complete hundreds of complex oral and maxillofacial procedures. Talk to your dentist for a referral or call our office for more information. We are looking forward to helping you with all your oral surgery needs.