What is the Difference Between an Oral Surgeon and a Dentist?

If you recently have been told you need oral surgery dayton oh, you may feel completely lost in finding a skilled and qualified oral surgeon. The truth is, depending on the procedure, you may not even need an oral surgeon. Modern dentistry is constantly changing and today it easier than ever for a general dentist to perform more complicated oral procedures in their regular dentist office. If you have the option of choosing between a general dentist and an oral surgeon, it is important that you know the major differences between the two dental professionals before scheduling your oral surgery.

Training to be an Oral Surgeon

One of the biggest differences between a dentist and an oral surgeon is the amount of training required. After training in general dentistry, oral surgeons spend an extra four to eight years specializing in oral surgery. This additional specialty includes intensive training that prepares them to become experts in oral surgical practice and a wide array of dental procedures. After completing years of additional training, oral surgeons further develop their expertise by performing complicated procedures for dental implants, jaw joint issues, facial pain, and wisdom teeth extraction. In general, oral surgeons are performing these surgical procedures more frequently than general dentists.

When to Expect a Dental Referral

If your dentist recommends a surgical procedure to treat your teeth and it is not a procedure they perform in their office, they will refer you to an oral surgeon. However, even if the recommended procedure is one they normally perform, you can ask for or seek out an oral surgeon for a consultation. While it varies from dentist to dentist, a general dentist usually performs the following procedures:

  • Routine dental exams and X-rays
  • Fillings and sealants to treat cavities
  • Installation of artificial crowns and bridges to replace missing teeth
  • Root canals to treat damaged and decayed teeth
  • Gum care to prevent and treat gingivitis

The more complex procedures that many dentists will refer patients to see an oral surgeon for include any of the following:

  • Tooth extractions
  • More complex tooth extractions that include working with the bone
  • Removing impacted teeth
  • Dental implants and implant alignment
  • Oral cancer treatments including tumor removal

What to Expect from Oral Surgery

Most oral surgeries are performed in just a few hours. Prior to surgery, your surgeon will have an appointment with you to walk through the procedure step by step. Again, the day of the procedure, they will remind you of the steps, allow you to ask questions, and when you are ready, they will administer either a numbing agent or a general anesthetic to help with pain control. When the surgery is complete, the nurse or surgeon will make sure you are recovering well and run you through instructions for recovery. Recovery instructions usually involve a list of recommended foods, foods to avoid for a few days, and tips to reduce pain and swelling. The typical recovery for most dental procedures is just a few days.

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