Blog Post

oral surgeon in Boca Raton performing an oral surgery to a patient

General Dentist vs. Oral Surgeon 

October 25, 2021

You may have overheard someone chatting about oral surgeons and wonder what makes an oral surgeon different from a general dentist. Maybe your kid requires dental treatment, and you want to ensure that they receive the best available services. Allow us to take the time to explain the differences between a general dentist and oral surgeon in Boca Raton so you can make an informed decision. 

oral surgeon in Boca Raton examining a patient's dental X-ray

Difference Between a General Dentist and Oral Surgeon 

What Does a Dentist Do? 

Hopefully, your regular check-ups have taught you a little about what a dentist does! A dentist, in addition to cleaning and scaling, can provide dental treatments such as dental bridges, gum care, root canal therapy, crowns, fillings, and more. They are in charge of your dental hygiene and maintenance procedures and can perform a wide range of treatments, but they are limited when it comes to more complicated procedures. 

What Does an Oral Surgeon Do? 

An oral surgeon is someone who specializes in jaw, face, and mouth surgery. It is a medical specialty of dentistry and entails further training in oral and maxillofacial surgery. They are someone who can offer services beyond that of a dentist. These include procedures such as bone grafts, complex surgeries, extraction of impacted teeth, and more.   

Oftentimes, a dentist refers a patient to an oral surgeon when the treatment required is beyond the scope of the practice. Upon recommendation or referral, the oral surgeon will then perform a variety of surgical treatments. 

Educational Background 

After earning a bachelor’s degree, both oral surgeons and general dentists enroll in dental school. They will study basic oral surgery, pathology, pharmacology, physiology, and anatomy. The courses will normally take four years of full-time study. At this stage, they also participate in clinical practicums, where they learn how to identify and treat dental disorders firsthand. 

Once they completed dental school and earned a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) or Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree, they will now get their license to practice dentistry in a specific area. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons, shortly known as oral surgeons, complete a four to six-year surgical specialist training course.   

The residency program applied by oral surgeons must be approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation to ensure that each resident gets training in oral surgery, anesthesia, oral pathology, and other areas necessary for competent practice.  

After completing the surgical specialist training, they will now take a specialist examination to get their license as certified oral surgeons. 

Scope of Dental Practice 

General dentists offer primary dental care and treatments. The services they commonly provide are dental crowns, bridges, veneers, root canals, dental fillings, and gum care. In contrast, oral surgeons treat more complex dental situations. They perform wisdom tooth extractions, implant positioning, soft tissue repair, jaw realignment surgery, tumor removal, and soft tissue biopsies. 

oral surgeon in Boca Raton and nurses treating a patient

Are You Looking for an Oral Surgeon in Boca Raton? 

It can be challenging to determine what specialist best fits your dental needs. Schedule an appointment with us to know if you need the services of an oral surgeon or not. At 5th Ave Dental, we have a team of experienced and knowledgeable dentists who can provide and give you the right treatments. Don’t shy away, and call our friendly staff to get things done!