Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Oral and maxillofacial surgery ("OMFS") is dentistry that goes far beyond cleanings and cavities. Practitioners of OMFS are generally thought only to deal with the extraction of wisdom teeth, but it's about much more than impaction. The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons describes practitioners as those who:

care for patients with problem wisdom teeth, facial pain, and misaligned jaws. They treat accident victims suffering facial injuries, place dental implants, care for patients with oral cancer, tumors and cysts of the jaws, and perform facial cosmetic surgery.

Surgeons care for accident victims, perform reconstructive and dental implant surgery, treat jaw tumors and cysts, and have advanced training in pain control and anesthesia.

It is one of the most highly competitive specializations in dentistry—most schools only accept two or three candidates for residency per year, and look for NBDE Part I and Part II scores above the 90th percentile. Programs for OMFS range from four to six years (the six-year programs grant an MD). Students can pursue further specialization with another one or two years of training for fellowships ranging from treatment of cleft palates and head and neck cancer surgery to cosmetic surgeries like facelifts and nose jobs.

For more information about becoming a dentist, visit the American Dental Association website or predentistry.com.