Oral surgery (also oral maxillofacial surgery) is a specialty focusing on diagnosing and treating diseases in the tissues of the head, neck, face, jaws, and mouth (such as sleep apnea). Patients who complain of pain or problems in this area are often referred to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for help.
Surgical services offered by oral and maxillofacial surgeons include these:
- Sleep apnea surgery (jaw-advancement surgery)
- Facial trauma surgery
- Orthognathic surgery
- Facial reconstructive surgery
- Surgery for pathologic conditions of the jaws and oral tissues
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) surgery
Outpatient services provided by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon include these:
- IV sedation for minor oral procedures
- Wisdom tooth extraction
- Exposure and bonding of impacted teeth
- Placement of dental implants
- TMJ arthroscopy/arthrocentesis
- Treatment of pathologic conditions of the jaws and oral tissues
Recovering from Surgery at Home
To make sure your recovery after surgery goes smoothly, please read our guides about how you can speed up your healing at home.
Oral Health/Dental Specialists
What is a general dentist (DDS or DMD)?
To become a general dentist, a person must graduate from dental school and be awarded either a DDS or a DMD degree:
DDS - doctor of dental surgery
DMD - doctor of dental medicine
There is no difference between the degrees. Both dentists have the same education and completed the same curriculum requirements set by the American Dental Association's Commission on Dental Accreditation. The difference is merely wording. Some institutions award a DMD degree. Others award a DDS degree. Generally, 3 or more years of undergraduate college education plus 4 years of dental school are needed to graduate and become a general dentist. State licensing boards accept either degree as equivalent. Both degrees allow licensed individuals to practice the same scope of general dentistry.
Specialized areas of dentistry
More postgraduate training is needed to become a dental specialist. A patient often talks with a dental specialist after referral from his or her general dentist. Dental/oral health specialists include:
Pediatric dentist. A pediatric dentist works with the oral healthcare of children, from infancy through the teenage years. Pediatric dentists often work closely with pediatricians, family healthcare providers, and other dental specialists in providing comprehensive medical and dental care.
Endodontist. Also called pulp specialists, endodontists have undergone specialized training in root canal therapy. This branch of dentistry is concerned with the morphology, physiology, and pathology of the human dental pulp and periradicular tissues. Dental pulp is the soft tissue on the interior of the tooth under both the enamel and the dentin. This includes the prevention and treatment of diseases and injuries of the pulp and associated periradicular conditions.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are orthopedic facial surgeons responsible for treating a wide variety of dental problems. This includes the removal of impacted teeth and reconstructive facial surgery. This dental specialty also includes the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, injuries, and defects that involve both functional and esthetic aspects of the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region. Many oral surgery training programs offer both an oral surgery certificate and a medical degree in the 6- to 7-year dual training program.
Oral pathologist. Oral pathologists diagnose and manage diseases of the oral and maxillofacial structures. They use clinical, microscopic, radiographic and other means.
Public health dentist. Public health dentists help to prevent and control dental diseases on a community-wide basis. They administer community-based dental health programs and provide dental health education.
Oral radiologist. Oral radiologists produce and interpret images. They use radiant energy for the diagnosis and management of diseases of the oral and maxillofacial area.
Orthodontist. Orthodontists are specially trained dentists. They specialize in the development, prevention, and correction of irregularities of the teeth, bite, and jaws. Orthodontists also have specialized training in facial abnormalities and disorders of the jaw.
Periodontist. Periodontists are responsible for the care and prevention of gum-related diseases, guided bone regeneration, and dental implants. It is the specialty of dentistry that includes the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases of the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth or their substitutes. It also involves the maintenance of the health, function, and esthetics of these structures and tissues.
Prosthodontist. Prosthodontists are dental specialists who have undergone additional training and certification in the restoration and replacement of broken teeth or missing teeth. They do this with crowns, bridges, implants, or removable prosthetics (dentures). It is the branch of dentistry that also specializes in understanding the dynamics of the smile, preserving a healthy mouth, and creating tooth replacements. Prosthodontists often work closely with other members of the oral healthcare team in restoring natural teeth, replacing missing teeth, or developing artificial substitutes for damaged oral and maxillofacial tissues. In addition, prosthodontists may also have specialized training in the following:
Post oral cancer reconstruction
Jaw joint problems (such as temporomandibular joint disorder)
Traumatic injuries of the mouth
Snoring and sleeping disorders
Dr. Skirko is an assistant professor in the Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology with clinical research and clinical practice based at Primary Children's Medical Center. He has a passion for the care of children with cleft lip or cleft palate. He has created a quality of life instrument to better measure and understand how difficulties with speec... Read More
|PCH Outpatient Services at Riverton||(801) 662-1740|
|Primary Children's Hospital||(801) 662-1740|
Otolaryngology/ENT, Clinic 9
|Utah Valley Regional Medical Center||(801) 662-1740|
Dr. Williams was raised in Northern California and completed his undergraduate training at Brigham Young University. He received his dental degree from the University of the Pacific in San Francisco, graduating magna cum laude. He then completed an Oral Maxillofacial Surgery residency at Highland Hospital at Alameda County Medical Center. His resid... Read More
Cancer Survivorship, Dental Implants, Oral Pathology, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery, Sleep Apnea, Obstructive, Sleep Medicine, TMJ Disorders, Wisdom Teeth Removal
|South Jordan Health Center||(801) 587-8368|
Dental, Clinic 7
Otolaryngology/ENT, Clinic 9