Why Choose An Oral Surgeon?
An oral surgeon (also known as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon) is a dental specialist. All dentists, whether they are generalists or specialists, spend upwards of seven or eight years in college and dental college earning a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine). Both of these dental degrees are equivalent, allowing a dentist to practice general dentistry after passing a state licensing exam. An oral surgeon, however, spends an additional four to six years in training after dental school, mostly in a hospital-based surgical environment.
An oral surgeon agrees to forgo practicing the areas of dentistry outside of his or her scope of specialty training and focuses strictly on performing dental surgical procedures. These procedures include: simple and complicated teeth extractions (including wisdom teeth), dental implant placement, repair of broken bones in the jaws and face, removal of cysts and tumors of the jaws, soft tissue biopsies, jaw realignment surgery to correct bite discrepancies, and cosmetic and TMJ surgeries.
Contacting an oral surgeon for tooth extraction isn’t the first thing most people think to do unless they’ve been referred to one by their dentist. But often an oral surgeon is the best option as they extract teeth as a routine part of their practice. In fact, they perform literally thousands of extractions every year. The special expertise that the oral surgeon brings to the situation can mean the difference between an infection after extraction or not, a completed extraction or a partial extraction.
When to Choose an Oral Surgeon for Tooth Extraction
- Complicated Extractions
Complicated extractions necessitate a visit to the oral surgeon. Entangled or multiple curved roots, impacted teeth, teeth in close proximity to nerves, overly large sinuses and teeth or bone infections, can all be considered complex extractions.
- Cracked or Fractured Teeth
If the tooth is already fractured, it’s very likely to fracture further during extraction. An oral surgeon is better prepared to deal with these types of eventualities than a general dentist.
- If You Need Anesthesia
If you don’t want to be awake for your extraction, contact an oral surgeon. They are trained and licensed in IV Sedation and General Anesthesia and are certified in Basic Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support (which most Dentists do not have), and Advanced Cardiac Life Support. Dentists do not necessarily have these same qualifications and will extract teeth only under local anesthesia – the same anesthesia you would receive when having a cavity filled.
- Upon Recommendation
If your dentist recommends an oral surgeon, always follow the advice. This means the extraction is beyond the scope of the dentist’s capabilities and requires expert knowledge.