Dental surgery – what does an oral surgeon actually do?

If a dentist wants to work as an oral surgeon, he must also complete several years of further training after his license to practice medicine. Because dental surgery is not just about the surgical removal of teeth or implantology. At the center of the professional services of an oral surgeon are interventions in the entire area of ​​​​the oral cavity and the jawbone.

 

We spoke to the oral surgeons Dr. Buff and Dr. Nemitz, experienced dentists in Wiesbaden.

 

How does a dentist become a specialist in oral surgery?

Only dentists who have completed at least four years of full-time, full-time further training with a  final examination after their approval (approbation) may call themselves a specialist dentist for oral surgery or oral surgeon  . Oral surgery is a sub-area of ​​oral and maxillofacial surgery, but is separated from it. In contrast to an oral surgeon, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon must have a medical and dental education.

Which treatments belong to the field of activity of an oral surgeon?

Of course, a dentist specializing in dental surgery can also remove tartar, crown a tooth and  place fillings  . Dentists are also allowed to carry out oral surgical procedures as generalists. In more complex cases, however, patients benefit from the greater expertise and experience of the trained specialists. With the strictly regulated specialist dentist training, an oral surgeon is a specialist for all surgical procedures in the field of dental surgery.

The  theoretical part  of the training provides general basics. These include the area of ​​examination and diagnostics – including imaging diagnostics -, taking an anamnesis and dealing with patients. Stunning  methods and pharmacology (analgesics, antibiotics) are discussed, as well as recognizing and acting in emergency situations, such as post-bleeding, trauma or infections. In addition to medical knowledge, the structure and organization of an oral surgery practice is also taught.

A specialist in dental surgery acquires knowledge of the topographical anatomy of his specialty, methods of hemostasis and wound closure with sutures. Septic surgery, tumor surgery and traumatology are just as much part of the training as preprosthetic surgery and the surgical treatment of diseases of the maxillary sinus.

 

The list of  operations catalog  in the model training regulations is extensive. Before taking his exam, the doctor must complete it. An excerpt:

 

  • Biopsies for reliable diagnosis of changes in the oral mucosa
  • Surgical foreign body removal
  • Surgical periodontitis treatment
  • Removal of impacted or impacted teeth
  • Hemisection (removal of one or more tooth roots)
  • Implantology – dental implants
  • Bone surgery (bone formation and augmentation, removal of bone changes)
  • Lip and tongue tie correction
  • surgical removal of wisdom teeth and impacted wisdom teeth
  • Root tip resection as part of surgical endodontics
  • tumor surgery
  • Dental transplantation and reimplantation
  • Zystostomies

 

Equipment of an oral surgery practice

For precise diagnosis and treatment, an oral surgery practice must be equipped with modern technology. These include, for example, low-radiation DVT (digital volume tomography), laser technology, magnifying glasses, an operating microscope and intraoral cameras for precise diagnostics and treatment.

 

Interdisciplinary collaboration

Traditional dental practices refer patients to oral surgeons who need surgery or other multi-specialty treatments. In very complex cases with a high-risk potential, interdisciplinary cooperation between the dental surgeon and the maxillofacial surgery department may be advisable. Dental surgery is also a place to go for anxious patients who want an anesthetic for their treatment. The patients of an oral surgeon can have their interventions performed under local anesthesia, but also under twilight sleep or under generalanesthesia  . Therefore, a specialist in dental surgery always works closely with anesthesiologists.

 

Dental surgery in the context of an implantation

One focus of oral surgery is implantology. Many patients want  fixed dentures  on dental implants, as they are practically indistinguishable from their own teeth in terms of function, aesthetics and comfort. The activity of the dental surgeon includes the bone structure (augmentation) before an implantation, if there is not enough stable bone to anchor an implant securely. The oral surgeon works with animal, synthetic or autogenous bone replacement material (e.g. autogenous dentin) that restores the required bone width or height. In the same or a later intervention, the dental implant – an artificial tooth root – is then screwed into the jaw in order to attach the denture to fix. With the help of digital 3D implant planning, the oral surgeon places the implant perfectly in the jawbone.  As a surgical procedure, the  sinus lift also falls under the areas of responsibility of a dental surgeon.

 

Conclusion

A dental surgeon or oral surgeon is the specialist for all surgical interventions in the oral cavity and on the jawbone and also operates on patients under general anesthesia. He works on an interdisciplinary basis with traditional dental practices, anesthesiologists and oral surgeons.

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