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What is an oral maxillofacial dental surgeon?
An oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMFS) has the skills and training to address complex oral and facial deformities that can affect not just your teeth, but your appearance and quality of life. This includes birth defects and severe trauma that affect your mouth, jaws, face and skull – otherwise known as the craniomaxillofacial complex.
What conditions can an oral maxillofacial dental surgeon treat?
- Dentoalveolar surgery for impacted teeth, bone grafting, and pre-prosthetic surgery
- Facial Trauma and face bone injuries.
- Maxillofacial implants for prosthesis or hearing aids that need to be anchored to the bone
- Corrective jaw surgery
- Surgical treatment of benign and malignant tumors caused by head and neck cancer
- Reconstructive surgery for those who have had trauma to the face or wish to correct facial asymmetry
- Correction of genetic malformations like cleft lip and palate and craniosynostosis
In many cases, an OMFS will work with other specialists as part of a comprehensive treatment. For example, pediatric surgery for correction of cleft lip will involve working with the child’s pediatrician, while any cases that involve oral cancer will involve the oncologist, ENT specialist and any specialists required to manage the complications that involve that disease.
What kind of training does an oral maxillofacial surgeon need?
After dental school, an OMS needs additional training and residency to earn a certificate in oral and maxillofacial surgery. This is followed by board certification and licenses to practice in the country.
OMS are also expected to have many hours of hospital and clinic practice, which enables them to handle a wide variety of cases. Since the specialization straddles both dental and surgical fields, and involves very sensitive procedures that affect facial appearance, bones and nerves that affect breathing, speech and eating, it is critical to get an OMS that is both credited and credible.