Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are dentists who specialize in treating a variety of conditions of the teeth, mouth, jaw, and face including defects, injuries, and diseases. These doctors have special training in interventional treatments of the face, mouth, and jaw.
To become an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, students will need to complete 12 to 14 years of educational requirements.
Students who want to become oral and maxillofacial surgeons need to earn an undergraduate degree in a field of science, and go on to complete a four-year program at an accredited dental school. Future oral and maxillofacial surgeons must graduate from dental school with a Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) degree.
After completing dental school, oral and maxillofacial surgeons must complete a residency program in dental surgery. These residencies usually last four years.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons can also choose to complete a fellowship program in a subspecialty of oral and maxillofacial surgery including:
- Cosmetic surgery
- Oral, head, and neck oncology
- Pediatric craniomaxillofacial surgery
- Dental implants
To practice medicine in any state, oral and maxillofacial surgeons will be required to obtain a dental license. Dental licenses are awarded through comprehensive exams administered at the state level and requirements for the exam will vary by state.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons must also gain board certification through the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Doctors usually take the qualifying exams after completing their residency programs.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons will maintain this certification by upholding certain professional standards, taking continued education classes, and eventually by retaking the qualifying exams.
Where Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Work
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons work in a variety of different health care settinsg depending on their training and subspecialties. Most oral and maxillofacial surgeons work in private and group practices and in outpatient centers, but these doctors may also work for hospitals and clinics.
How Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Help People
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons treat a wide variety of diseases, conditions, and injuries of the mouth, teeth, jaw, face, head and neck. They treat patients with common conditions like facial pain, misaligned jaws, and painful wisdom teeth problems, and also treat patients suffering from trauma injuries. Trauma patients may require dental implants and cosmetic surgeries. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons will also care for patients with tumors and other abnormalities.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons help patients manage pain resulting from dental and maxillofacial conditions and from interventional treatments.
Some common services offered by oral and maxillofacial surgeons include:
Facial trauma surgery
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons treat facial injuries by setting fractured jaw and facial bones, repairing nerves and ducts, and treating skin lacerations.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons work as a part of the patient's care team to treat the patient with dental implants. Patients may need implants to replace missing teeth or to repair a bone.
Congenital craniofacial deformities
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons care for patients with congenital defects, like cleft lip and palate, and alignment disorders of the jaw and teeth.
Snoring and sleep apnea corrective surgery
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons may perform invasive treatments to reduce snoring and sleep apnea, including jaw and nose alignment.
Tumor and cancer surgery
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons will remove tumors, cysts, and other abnormalities from the face and mouth.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD)
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons treat TMJD along with a variety of facial pain conditions.
Reconstructive and cosmetic facial surgery
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons perform a variety of reconstructive and cosmetic surgeries on patients who suffered trauma, birth defects, cancer, or other abnormalities, or on patients who want to aesthetically improve their face, jaw, or teeth.
The average salary of oral and maxillofacial surgeons is $217, 380.
Medical Negligence and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
Oral and maxillofacial surgery is complex and risky, so patients need to be able to trust that their doctors are providing them the best possible care. When doctors fail to provide the standard of care to patients, they commit malpractice.
Malpractice in oral and maxillofacial surgery can include:
- Diagnosis errors including failure to diagnose, delayed diagnosis, and misdiagnosis
- Nerve damage
- Permanent and temporary loss of taste
- Injuries to the lips, tongue, jaw, and teeth
- Bad reactions to anesthesia
- Unnecessary procedures, excessive treatment, or wrong tooth extraction
- Failing to obtain informed consent from the patient
- Failure to review medical history before diagnosing and treating
- Wrongful death
Complex dental procedures are expensive and often require months or years to fully complete. Injuries from interventional dental and maxillofacial treatments can be painful and require additional surgeries.
If you believe you have suffered an injury from malpractice, obtain a record of your dental records including all x-rays, doctor notes, and prescriptions.
Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorneys
If you or a loved one suffered an injury while under the care of an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, you may be entitled to compensation for expensive medical bills to correct a mistake, disfigurement, or your personal pain and suffering. You need to talk to an experienced medical malpractice attorney who understands the complexities of your case.
The attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian have a track record of success in protecting medical malpractice victims and helping them recover compensation for their injuries and losses.
Call (800) 529-6162 today to begin your case and to learn more about your legal options.