Dental Implant and Laser Surgical Specialists

Difference Between a Dentist and an Oral Surgeon

It is not uncommon for individuals in Orange County to interchange the terms dentist and oral surgeon. While the work of both a dentist and an oral surgeon overlap on occasion, there is significant difference between the work that each one does. An easy way to remember the difference is that all oral surgeons are dentists, but not all dentists are oral surgeons.

Dentist will go to school for four years to receive their license. Oral surgeons will go through that same process and then they will complete an additional 5 to 6 years of training after dental school. They will also work in a hospital as a resident before they qualify to become an oral surgeon.

A dentist will cover all of the general oral health problems a patient has. They will do things like cleanings, fillings, root canals, and tooth extractions. An oral surgeon, on the other hand, can perform a wide range of surgeries that affect the teeth, the jaw, the mouth, and the face. They may remove tumors, do soft-tissue biopsies, repair a torn cheek, reconstruct a fractured bone, and also do some facial cosmetic surgeries.

Typically, the more complicated a procedure is, the more likely that the patient will require the services of an oral surgeon. For example, a tooth extraction that needs a general anesthetic will likely be performed by an oral surgeon. A tooth extraction that simply requires local anesthetic does not necessarily need an oral surgeon.


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