Oral Surgeon Training Programs and Schools

A sub-field of dentistry, oral surgery focuses on correcting illnesses or disorders of the head, neck and jaw. Continue reading to learn more about the training required to become an oral surgeon. Review the requirements for licensure as a dentist, and check the typical salary for an oral surgeon. Schools offering Dental Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Oral surgeons perform surgery on the mouth, jaws and face of patients who have damage due to injury or deformities. Eight years of dental school and residency is required before licensure.

Responsibilities Examine patients, make diagnosis, perform surgical reconstruction of damage or abnormalities
Training Four years of dental school followed by four years of residency
Licensing Licensure is required by all states

What Does an Oral Surgeon Do?

As an oral surgeon, sometimes referred to as an 'oral and maxillofacial surgeon', you work to diagnose and surgically correct disorders in the hard and soft tissues of the maxillofacial and oral areas. This area includes the mouth, jaws and face. You may reconstruct bone, fix trauma to the jaw or replace teeth. Sometimes, your treatments will be esthetically oriented, but other times they will be functionally oriented.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 6,700 oral and maxillofacial surgeons in the nation in 2012 (www.bls.gov). At that time, these surgeons earned a median annual salary of more than $187,199.

What Training Do I Need?

Oral surgeons complete dental school plus several years of medical residency rotations. Dental school consists of four years of study, the last two years of which consist of residency rotations. Therefore, in a oral surgery training program, you complete a total of six years of rotations, two years during your final two years of medical school and four years after completing medical school. As such, if you attend a program in conjunction with dental school, your training lasts for a total of about six years. If you attend post-dental school graduation, your training lasts about four years.

Upon completion of these programs, you would be awarded either a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree as well as an Oral and Maxillofacial certificate. Some programs also allow you to earn a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Oral and Craniofacial Sciences. In Ph.D. programs you study for a total of about nine years.

What Would I Learn in a Program?

The residency rotation portion of a program includes experiences in general surgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine and plastic surgery. You also complete internal medicine and otolaryngology rotations. In a Ph.D. program, you conduct research and write a dissertation.

Do I Need to be Licensed?

All dentists must be licensed to practice. To become licensed, you must graduate from accredited dental school and pass the National Board Dental Examinations. The American Dental Association accredits oral surgery training programs (www.ada.org).

To work as an oral surgeon you must be board certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. To become certified, you must pass an exam.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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