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Become An Oral And Maxillofacial Surgeon

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Working As An Oral And Maxillofacial Surgeon

  • $205,700

    Average Salary

What Does An Oral And Maxillofacial Surgeon Do

Dentists diagnose and treat problems with patients’ teeth, gums, and related parts of the mouth. They provide advice and instruction on taking care of the teeth and gums and on diet choices that affect oral health.

Duties

Dentists typically do the following:

  • Remove decay from teeth and fill cavities
  • Repair cracked or fractured teeth and remove teeth
  • Place sealants or whitening agents on teeth
  • Administer anesthetics to keep patients from feeling pain during procedures
  • Prescribe antibiotics or other medications
  • Examine x rays of teeth, gums, the jaw, and nearby areas in order to diagnose problems
  • Make models and measurements for dental appliances, such as dentures, to fit patients
  • Teach patients about diets, flossing, the use of fluoride, and other aspects of dental care

Dentists use a variety of equipment, including x-ray machines, drills, mouth mirrors, probes, forceps, brushes, and scalpels. They also use lasers, digital scanners, and other computer technologies, such as digital dentistry.

In addition, dentists in private practice oversee a variety of administrative tasks, including bookkeeping and buying equipment and supplies. They employ and supervise dental hygienists, dental assistants, dental laboratory technicians, and receptionists.

Most dentists are general practitioners and handle a variety of dental needs. Other dentists practice in 1 of 9 specialty areas:

Dental public health specialists promote good dental health and the prevention of dental diseases in specific communities.

Endodontists perform root-canal therapy, by which they remove the nerves and blood supply from injured or infected teeth.

Oral and maxillofacial radiologists diagnose diseases in the head and neck through the use of imaging technologies.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons operate on the mouth, jaws, teeth, gums, neck, and head, performing procedures such as surgically repairing a cleft lip and palate or removing impacted teeth.

Oral pathologists diagnose conditions in the mouth, such as bumps or ulcers, and oral diseases, such as cancer.

Orthodontists straighten teeth by applying pressure to the teeth with braces or other appliances.

Pediatric dentists focus on dentistry for children and special-needs patients.

Periodontists treat the gums and bone supporting the teeth.

Prosthodontists replace missing teeth with permanent fixtures, such as crowns and bridges, or with removable fixtures, such as dentures.

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How To Become An Oral And Maxillofacial Surgeon

Dentists must be licensed in the state(s) in which they work. Licensure requirements vary by state, although candidates usually must graduate from an accredited dental school and pass written and practical exams.

Education

All dental schools require applicants to have completed certain science courses, such as biology and chemistry, before entering dental school. Students typically need at least a bachelor’s degree to enter most dental programs, although no specific major is required. However, majoring in a science, such as biology, might increase one’s chances of being accepted. Requirements vary by school.

College undergraduates who plan on applying to dental school usually must take the Dental Admission Test (DAT) during their junior year. Admission to dental school can be competitive. Dental schools use these tests along with other factors, such as grade point average, interviews, and recommendations, to admit students into their programs.

Dental school programs typically include coursework in subjects such as local anesthesia, anatomy, periodontics (the study of oral disease and health), and radiology. All programs at dental schools include clinical experience in which students work directly with patients under the supervision of a licensed dentist.

Completion of a dental program results in one of three degrees: Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM), and Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD). In 2015, the Commission on Dental Accreditation, part of the American Dental Association, accredited more than 60 dental school programs.

High school students who want to become dentists should take courses in chemistry, physics, biology, anatomy, and math.

Training

All nine dental specialties require dentists to complete additional training before practicing that specialty. This training is usually a 2- to 4-year residency in a program related to their specialty. General dentists do not require any additional training after dental school.

Dentists who want to teach or do research full time usually spend an additional 2 to 5 years in advanced dental training. Many practicing dentists also teach part time, including supervising students in dental school clinics.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Dentists must be licensed in the state(s) in which they work. All states require dentists to be licensed; requirements vary by state. Most states require a dentist to have a degree from an accredited dental school and to pass the written and practical National Board Dental Examinations.

In addition, a dentist who wants to practice in one of the nine specialties must have a license in that specialty. Licensure requires the completion of a residency after dental school and, in some cases, the completion of a special state exam.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Dentists must have excellent communication skills. They must be able to communicate effectively with patients, dental hygienists, dental assistants, and receptionists.

Detail oriented. Dentists must be detail oriented so that patients receive appropriate treatments and medications. They also must pay attention to the shape and color of teeth and to the space between them. For example, they may need to closely match a false tooth with a patient’s other teeth.

Dexterity. Dentists must be good at working with their hands. They work with tools in a limited area.

Leadership skills. Most dentists work in their own practice. This requires them to manage and lead a staff.

Organizational skills. Strong organizational skills, including the ability to keep accurate records of patient care, are critical in both medical and business settings.

Patience. Dentists may work for long periods of time with patients who need special attention. Children and patients with a fear of dental work may require a lot of patience.

Physical stamina. Dentists should be comfortable performing physical tasks, such as bending over patients for long periods.

Problem-solving skills. Dentists need strong problem-solving skills. They must evaluate patients’ symptoms and choose the appropriate treatments.

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Oral And Maxillofacial Surgeon jobs

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Oral And Maxillofacial Surgeon Demographics

Gender

Female

64.1%

Male

32.7%

Unknown

3.1%
Ethnicity

White

72.7%

Hispanic or Latino

14.5%

Asian

8.0%

Unknown

3.5%

Black or African American

1.3%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

53.3%

Polish

13.3%

Swedish

6.7%

Portuguese

6.7%

French

6.7%

Russian

6.7%

Arabic

6.7%
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Oral And Maxillofacial Surgeon Education

Schools

Howard University

14.7%

University of Phoenix

8.8%

Saint Louis Community College

5.9%

University of Pennsylvania

5.9%

Strayer University

5.9%

Austin Community College

5.9%

Columbia University

5.9%

Everest College - Reseda

5.9%

University of Southern California

5.9%

University of Utah

5.9%

University of Florida

2.9%

Texas Southern University

2.9%

Bucknell University

2.9%

Suffolk County Community College

2.9%

Springfield Technical Community College

2.9%

University of Massachusetts - Boston

2.9%

De Anza College

2.9%

Community Care College

2.9%

High Point University

2.9%

Miami Dade College

2.9%
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Majors

Advanced Dentistry And Oral Sciences

29.0%

Nursing

13.7%

Dental Assisting

8.4%

Biology

7.6%

Business

6.1%

Dentistry

6.1%

Health Care Administration

5.3%

Medicine

3.8%

Medical Technician

2.3%

Pharmacy

2.3%

Medical Assisting Services

2.3%

Management

1.5%

Nuclear And Industrial Radiologic Technologies

1.5%

Elementary Education

1.5%

Human Development

1.5%

Communication

1.5%

Real Estate

1.5%

Accounting

1.5%

Education

1.5%

Sociology

0.8%
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Degrees

Other

28.8%

Bachelors

22.4%

Doctorate

17.3%

Certificate

10.9%

Associate

10.9%

Diploma

5.1%

Masters

4.5%
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Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Oral And Maxillofacial Surgeon Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Wilson Dental, PC Binghamton, NY Jan 09, 2016 $626,100
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Sanford Clinic North Fargo, ND Apr 01, 2011 $400,000
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Meritcare Medical Group Fargo, ND Jun 30, 2010 $400,000
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Meritcare Medical Group Fargo, ND Mar 01, 2010 $400,000
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Meritcare Medical Group Fargo, ND Oct 28, 2010 $400,000
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Meritcare Medical Group Fargo, ND Nov 16, 2010 $400,000
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Elliot Health System Manchester, NH Nov 20, 2013 $376,250
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Elliot Health System Manchester, NH Apr 03, 2013 $376,250
Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon(Adult&Ped)Clinical SE Elliot Professional Services Network, Inc. Manchester, NH Oct 01, 2014 $376,250
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Elliot Health Systems Manchester, NH Jan 01, 2011 $350,000
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Elliot Health Systems Manchester, NH Oct 01, 2011 $350,000
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH Jan 07, 2014 $275,000
Maxillofacial & Oral Surgeon Greenberg Dental & Orthodontics, Pa Altamonte Springs, FL Feb 09, 2016 $250,000
Maxillofacial Surgeon Northern Facial Surgeons, P.C. Bismarck, ND Sep 30, 2009 $250,000
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Elliot Health System Manchester, NH Jan 01, 2011 $250,000 -
$350,000
Oral and Maxiillofacial Surgeon Roger E. Freilich, DMD, Pa Palm Beach Gardens, FL Sep 08, 2009 $250,000
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Northern Facial Surgeons, PC Bismarck, ND Oct 02, 2012 $250,000
Maxillofacial & Oral Surgeon Greenberg Dental Associates, LLC Altamonte Springs, FL Aug 01, 2015 $250,000
Maxillofacial & Oral Surgeon Greenberg Dental & Orthodontics, Pa Altamonte Springs, FL Sep 09, 2016 $250,000
Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon Lanzi Burke & Associates, LLC Haddonfield, NJ Nov 09, 2007 $212,500
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Texas Dental Professional Corporation Houston, TX Feb 17, 2016 $208,000
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Randolph Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Randolph, NJ Jun 03, 2014 $205,000
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Montefiore Medical Center New York, NY Jan 01, 2015 $200,665
Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon DRS. Russell, Pike & Nelson PC Martinsburg, WV Sep 12, 2015 $200,000
Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon Associated Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, PC Martinsburg, WV Nov 21, 2016 $200,000
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Ashok N Veeranki, DDS Inc. Manteca, CA Feb 14, 2014 $200,000

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Top Skills for An Oral And Maxillofacial Surgeon

OralSurgeryProceduresOfficeProceduresHard/SoftTissueBiopsyMaxillofacialSurgeryIVVitalSignsMaxillofacialSurgeonSurgicalProceduresFacialTraumaDentalImplantsBoneGraftsRoutineFrontOfficeInsuranceClaimsMedicalHistoryBloodPressureReadingsSurgicalExtractionsGeneralAnesthesiaPatientRecordsDentalX-Rays

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Top Oral And Maxillofacial Surgeon Skills

  1. Oral Surgery Procedures
  2. Office Procedures
  3. Hard/Soft Tissue Biopsy
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Assisted the doctor in oral surgery procedures and prepared patient to go with proper home care instructions.
  • Trained three assistants in front office procedures.
  • Trained many residents in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.
  • Aided patient in all activities of daily living including bathing, grooming, and ambulating.
  • Observe patients' vital signs to assess physical condition.

Top Oral And Maxillofacial Surgeon Employers

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Oral And Maxillofacial Surgeon Videos

Dr. Fenton discusses his pathway to oral and maxillofacial surgery.

Explore a Future in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

What is an Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon

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