Do Dentists Ever Perform Surgery?

Do dentists ever perform surgery? Learn about the difference between general dentists & oral surgeons & when it's necessary to see one.

Do Dentists Ever Perform Surgery?

Oral surgeons are often the go-to professionals for surgical procedures that improve oral health, but general dentists can also perform surgeries on their patients. This is convenient for those who prefer to have their primary dentist take care of necessary oral surgeries. Most dentists are qualified to perform basic oral surgery procedures, but if you have specialized treatment needs, you may need to see an oral surgeon. It's important to find a trusted dentist who can inform you of your grades before your appointment and refer you to a qualified specialist if needed. Many of the procedures performed by an oral surgeon are also offered in the office of a local general dentist, making patients wonder which provider they should choose for their oral health treatment needs.

While both providers may be “qualified to treat a problem,” oral surgeons have much more experience and training in complex treatment protocols than dentists. Both attend the same four years of dental school, earning the title of Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry, but oral and maxillofacial surgeons receive specialized training in an additional four-year surgical hospital residency program along with medical professionals. They learn to diagnose, treat, and manage dental and health problems related to the mouth, face, jaws, and surrounding soft tissue. Although dentists can remove wisdom teeth, most of these procedures are not simple extractions. In fact, most patients have impacted wisdom teeth or other problems that make the procedure much more complex.

Oral surgeons are specifically trained in the treatment of complicated extractions and remove thousands of wisdom teeth during their residencies and every year thereafter. They are also fully trained in both intravenous sedation and general anesthesia, which is a major component of their surgical training and allows for greater pain management options for complex procedures. Most general dentists use only local anesthesia to perform extractions and do not provide intravenous sedation. Of the few that do offer intravenous sedation, most have only completed a short weekend course to learn how to do it. Oral surgeons focus on performing surgeries to treat problems in the mouth, jaw, or face.

They can perform tooth extractions, including wisdom tooth extraction, as well as soft tissue biopsies, tumor removal, jaw realignment surgery, soft tissue repair, implant placement, and reconstructive surgery after an accident. In summary, a general dentist can perform certain types of minor oral surgery. However, experienced dentists recognize personal limitations and will refer patients to an oral surgeon who specializes in caring for particular dental situations. Oral surgeons also place dental prostheses (crowns or caps, veneers, bridges, implants and dentures) that need to be surgically fitted to a patient. If you need oral surgery, call (57) 349-2073 to schedule an appointment at our South Bend, IN dental office. At Michiana Family Dental we can provide you with the surgical procedure you need to maintain or restore your oral health.

We can examine your teeth and give you an opinion on whether you need surgery or not, what procedure will benefit you, and what you can expect from the process. When it comes to dentistry, only certain dentists perform surgical procedures. Patients are usually referred to an oral surgeon when a problem is beyond the scope of a general dentist's experience. Your dentist may also suggest that you see an oral surgeon for these procedures if your anesthesia preferences do not match what the dentist can provide. If you don't know if your situation requires a dentist or an oral surgeon, visit your dentist first. An experienced general dentist should be able to identify if a patient will need surgical treatment and if the dentist can handle it personally; this is usually the case if a patient only needs minor gum surgery or minor non-emergency surgeries to remove teeth.