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Why can a dentist recommend an oral maxillofacial surgeon?
Posted on 3/20/2023 by Dr. Michael Allard
A dentist refers a patient to a maxillofacial surgeon when they require specialized and complex treatment that the dentist cannot provide. Although they can perform various oral procedures, some are too complex as they do not have the advanced training to perform them. Oral surgeons have undergone intense training of 4-6 additional years and specialized training and are equipped to handle any oral procedure and complications that might arise from the procedure.
Some types of dental care like bone grafting, extractions of wisdom teeth, jaw surgery, facial cosmetic surgery, trauma, tumors of the neck and head, and other complications of the facial region require a specialized expert to carry out the treatment. A general dentist might also feel incompetent to perform the procedure, even one they are trained for, depending on the nature of the health care. This is because general dentists are not trained to deal with complications from surgical procedures. They have limited exposure to the procedures in dental schools; they will therefore refer a patient to a specialist for any complex surgery. A dentist might also refer a patient to an oral surgeon if they feel uncomfortable performing the surgery.
Dentists also refer patients to maxillofacial surgeons for treatment of emergency dental accidents like traumas, such as jaw fractures and dislocations, corrective surgeries, cosmetic procedures, removal of cysts, benign cancerous tumors, and deformations cleft and palate conditions common in babies.
When to see a dentist
Dentists are specialists with no further specialization after dental school and are trained to perform non-invasive oral operations like tooth extractions and treat simple oral disease cases. In contrast, oral surgeons can handle cases of dental implanting, grafting, and other complex oral conditions. A general dentist has limited expertise, and a patient needing a dental checkup and teeth cleaning alongside other obvious oral conditions can schedule for a dentist.