Oral Surgery Specialists

What is Oral Surgery?

Oral surgery is the branch of dentistry concerned with the diagnosis and surgical treatment of abnormalities or diseases of the teeth, jaws, and their surrounding tissues.

What is a specialist in Oral Surgery?

A specialist in oral surgery is usually a consultant in a dental hospital. They are involved in the management of patients who require surgical procedures involving the mouth, teeth, and jaws. They often work in a team with other consultants, senior house officers (SHOs), and dental nurses, and are involved in the education and training of dental students and trainee specialists.
Specialists in oral surgery may also work in specialist practices or in community dental services.

What treatments can a Specialist in Oral Surgery carry out?

Dental extractions are a common procedure carried out by oral surgeons, which usually involves removing teeth with various instruments such as forceps and elevators, under local anaesthetic. However, if patients are particularly anxious or nervous, are very young and uncooperative, or have special needs, the extractions may be carried out under conscious sedation or general anaesthesia. Dental extractions are normally required for very badly decayed or injured teeth that cannot be restored by other means. They can also be carried out as part of orthodontic treatment, where teeth are removed to make space for other teeth to grow or move into.

Sometimes the teeth may be difficult to extract because of their positions and/or angulations, or may be very badly decayed, or not fully erupted, and a surgical extraction might be carried out where a flap of gum is lifted and bone is usually removed to make the tooth easier to see and extract.

Other minor surgery procedures that an oral surgeon may carry out include the removal of tissue samples for biopsy specimens, and the removal of cysts (pathological cavities in the bone). Oral surgeons can also place implants, but this may require additional training.

What additional training and qualifications does a Specialist in Oral Surgery need?

Trainees must have at least two years of postgraduate general professional training (GPT), of which at least one year’s clinical experience must be obtained in a resident oral surgery post. A diploma of Membership of the Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons (MFDS or MJDF) is not essential, but desirable for entry onto a postgraduate specialist training programme in oral surgery. Speciality training involves three years of full-time postgraduate study and training to prepare for the Masters degree (MClinDent) in Oral Surgery, and the Diploma of Membership in Oral Surgery (MOralSurg) before being awarded a CCST.