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What Is an Oral Surgeon and How to Become One

What Do Oral Surgeons Do?

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, defects, and injuries to the head, neck, face, mouth, jaws, and oral tissues. This specialty is internationally recognized and, in some countries, even requires a dual degree in medicine and dentistry.

How to Become an Oral Surgeon

The path to becoming an Oral Surgeon is a commitment that typically requires at least a decade of schooling and training. Aspiring Oral Surgeons should start by achieving a bachelor’s degree in a science-related field like biology or chemistry. From there, Oral Surgeons attend dental school to earn their Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD). During your time in dental school, you’ll engage in significant clinical practice, and these programs are generally a four-year commitment. Like other medical professionals, a post-graduate residency within a hospital or specialty fellowship is generally the next step following your advanced degree. Oral Surgeons must also receive licensure within their state to practice, and most states require both a practical exam and a written exam through the National Board Dental Examinations. Finally, employers also require Oral Surgeons to maintain their education and keep up to date with certifications.

What Is an Oral Surgeon's Job Description?

Oral surgeons must attain advanced education which includes dental school and residency. In addition to the required training, education, and state-mandated licensing, oral surgeons must have solid leadership skills, be detail-oriented, have excellent physical and mental stamina, and possess the ability to handle stress in difficult, high-pressure situations.

What Degree Does an Oral Surgeon Have?

To be an oral surgeon requires a lot of education and training. These doctors must attend dental school, and oral and maxillofacial surgeons also must complete a minimum of four years in a residency program at a hospital. Some surgeons may be required to attend medical school or obtain advanced education, in addition to dental school.