HomeSurgery ArticlesWhat Are Oral Surgeons?

What Are Oral Surgeons?

Every day there are thousands of people across the globe who undergo surgeries. These procedures can range from something minor like a biopsy removal to something major like an organ transplant. Despite a large number of surgeries happening regularly, only certified physicians – more specifically only surgeons are allowed to perform these operations.

Surgeons are doctors whose specialty is to evaluate as well as treat certain health concerns that could possibly necessitate surgery or a physical change in the human anatomy (amputations, plastic surgery, etc.). During a procedure, surgeons work with a team of nurses and doctors to ensure that the entire operation goes successfully.

Different types of surgeons

Like any other physician, surgeons also have specialties. Different surgeons exist to cater to a specific body part. Not to mention that each surgeon brings to the table varying techniques, some learned while others have been developed through years of practice and experience in the medical field. There are countless surgical specialties being practiced but these are the most common ones:

General surgeon – this type of physician can operate on a diverse range of health conditions affecting basically all parts of the human body.

Neurosurgeons – these surgical practitioners deal with various illnesses and disorders affecting the nervous system and the brain.

Obstetricians – also known as a gynecologist, these doctors are typically in charge of delivering babies. Aside from caring for newborns and their mothers, OBGYNs also help treat numerous female reproductive concerns.

Plastic surgeon – undeniably one of the most recognized of all the surgeons, they are best known for providing cosmetic related surgeries as well as repairing or reconstructing a part or parts of the body.

Urologist – these surgical badasses are capable of performing procedures on the kidneys, urethra, bladder, ureters, testes, and prostate. 

Pediatric surgeon – whenever children are involved a pediatric surgeon is on hand. Aside from kids, they also help treat newborns and teens.

Orthopedic surgeon – diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal issues such as problems with the muscles, bones, arteries, nerves, joints, and soft tissues are under their specialization.

Vascular specialty surgeon – the circulatory system is a complex one which requires the expertise of a medical practitioner who has spent his career learning everything he can about it. This includes knowing the best way to treat any health concerns involving the system.

Cardiothoracic surgeons – are the operating physicians for concerns related to organs in the chest and of course the heart.

Oral surgeons – and last but not the least are oral surgeons, they are the types who operate on surgeries involving the face, neck, mouth, jaw, and even the head.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeon

Specialists who tend to or treat individuals requiring attention particularly in the craniomaxillofacial region. To be more precise, this includes mouth, jaw, skull, neck, head, and face – as well as any anatomical structures associated with it.

The educational background required to practice oral surgery will depend on the country or territory. In some areas it is enough for a maxillofacial surgeon to have a medical degree, in others completing dentistry education is enough. There are however instances where both dental and medical degrees are necessary to practice oral surgery.

 Generally, doctors are required to complete 5 years as surgical residents before they are allowed to work as surgeons in their specialization of their choosing.

Types of oral surgery being performed today

Currently, there are several kinds of oral surgical operations being performed. The most common of which is the removal of teeth or the treatment of infection (root canal). For these minor procedures, oftentimes a dentist or endodontist can handle the issue. When the problem involves the removal of a tumor or jaw repositioning then a specialist oral surgeon is called in. Other oral surgeries being performed includes treatment of an impacted tooth, grafting gums, implanting teeth, facial repair from injuries, and maxillofacial operations.

Oral surgeon vs dentist

There is often a confusion between a dentist and oral surgeons. This comparison is not surprising considering that both professionals are tasked with caring for and treating the vast majority of oral issues. But how exactly are these two healthcare workers different?

For starters, a general dentist can act as a primary health care provider for anything surrounding dental medicine. Patients who visit their dentist can receive teeth cleaning services, complete delta screening, as well as X-rays. Additionally, a dentist can work on dental fillings, install veneers, create crowns, bridges, provide gum care, and also perform root canals. Since dentists pay close attention to the oral health of their patient, they can provide an assessment and dental treatment recommendations for any problems that would manifest themselves. While it is possible for the dentist to perform basic extractions, complicated operations that are beyond their scope of work should be accomplished by a surgeon.

On the other hand, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon who is specially trained to treat a slew of oral conditions that can strike the mouth, face, and jaw. Typically, a patient is referred to an oral surgeon when the concern is no longer within the scope of expertise of a general dentist. Similar to a dentist, an oral surgeon can be tasked in performing tooth extractions that range from simple to complex ones. Unlike the dentist, an oral surgeon is equipped to handle reconstructive oral or dental surgery on individuals who are victims of an accident. The removal of tumors, a biopsy of soft tissues, realignment of the jaw, repair of tissues, and implant positioning are also under the capacity of an oral surgeon. Determining which oral professional to seek out can be challenging. Most people will seek a diagnosis from their general dentist before they consider consulting with a surgeon.

The tooth of the matter

Oral surgery can take the form of an emergency situation or an elective one. Whichever the case may be, getting the right diagnosis is vital. This is to ensure that a surgical procedure is in fact required or there are other non-invasive means that a patient can explore first. 

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