What Do Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Do?
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are dental specialists who perform surgery and other procedures on hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region of the body. They treat diseases, repair injuries, and correct defects. They also perform evaluations in order to diagnose problems in the mouth and maxillofacial region. Surgical procedures can be for medical treatment or cosmetic enhancement.There is a growing demand for trained oral and maxillofacial surgeons across the country. The projected job openings are estimated to be 270 positions per year. That reflects a change of 16% annually.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Skills and Abilities
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are highly trained in medicine and dentistry. They also have an educational background in biology and psychology. In addition to having expert knowledge in surgical and dental technique, they must also possess customer service skills to develop doctor-patient relationships. Diagnosing and treating oral and maxillofacial issues involves complex problem solving and critical thinking skills. You must be able to make appropriate decisions for patient care. If you own or operate your own practice, you will also need to have management, accounting, and business administration skills.Other skills include:
- Near vision.
- Arm-hand steadiness.
- Finger and manual dexterity.
- Control precision.
- Advanced reasoning ability.
- Problem sensitivity and confidentiality.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Duties
You can expect to perform many of the same duties as a general surgeon if you work in this field. You will administer general or local anesthetics appropriate to the procedure. You will provide consultation with other dental professionals to develop care plans. Oral surgeons evaluate and remove wisdom teeth as well as impacted or damaged tooth structures. They also prepare oral spaces for dental implants and aid in regeneration of poor gum and bone tissue. In addition to dental surgeries, you will also treat infection and problems in oral soft tissue. This may include removal of tumors or other abnormal growths. Some oral surgeons also repair and reconstruct cleft lip and other palate defects. Additional responsibilities are:
- Continuing education.
- Providing quality patient care.
- Treating medical emergencies.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Tools and Technology
Tools that are specific to oral surgery are used frequently. They include dental elevators, forceps, and scissors. Dental cutting or separating saws are needed as well in surgical procedures. Periodontal knives are used for surgery involving gums or other soft tissue. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons also need to rely on medical software and graphic or photo-imaging software for record keeping and diagnostic testing.
Education and Training for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
Oral surgery is a medical profession that requires a doctoral or professional degree. Expect many years of advanced education in order to work in this profession. An internship or residency is also required, as is state and federal testing to achieve credentials. Related instructional programs can include an oral and maxillofacial surgery residency program. This is a highly competitive field, and admission into an oral surgery program is not guaranteed.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Salary
If you are able to achieve the education and training to become and oral surgeon, you have the potential to earn an impressive salary. The median range for oral surgeons is over $187,500. The bottom 10% earns $92,700, while the upper 10% can make well over the median salary.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Jobs by Geography
This dental specialty is needed in every region of the country. States with a high number of job openings include Florida, New York, and Massachusetts. You have the ability to earn the median salary range or more in almost every state, so your earning potential isn’t necessarily connected to geographic region.