Why an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Should Manage Your Wisdom Teeth

Dentists learn to remove teeth in dental school the same way physicians learn how to cast a broken bone in medical school. However, as with broken bones, the difficulty, complexity and risk of a procedure varies, often requiring specialty training in order to provide the most effective, safe, and comfortable treatment.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are dentists who receive 4 to 6 years of additional medical and surgical training beyond dental school in order to specialize in surgical procedures related to teeth, the jaw, and the face, as well as to administer general anesthesia.

While Dentists are licensed to perform any treatment or procedure they believe necessary that falls within scope of the state’s dental practice act, including tooth removal, occasions may arise when removal of an impacted or erupted tooth is difficult or complicated. It only makes sense to have these more difficult and complicated procedures performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon with both the training and expertise to help realize the best patient outcome. If a dentist without appropriate training performs a difficult or complicated tooth removal, for example, patients may have increased risk of infection, dry socket, nerve injury, a lengthy and unpleasant procedure, and may require additional surgery for complete healing.

Heath Hendrickson of Wisdom Teeth Only is NOT an Oral Surgeon

Some general dentists, like Heath Hendrickson of Wisdom Teeth Only, appear to market themselves aggressively as a specialist. Others would seem to limit their procedures to tooth removal only. Patients contemplating a more difficult or complicated procedure should inquire as to whether or not their practitioner is a formally trained oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

Public Awareness Campaign

It is our opinion that the public should be aware of the risks involved with choosing a general dentist for any procedure that would better be performed by a trained oral and maxillofacial surgeon. We are using billboards and other means of advertisement to inform the public of these issues.

We encourage all patients to understand the possible issues that may arise if they choose a general dentist for a specialized procedure or removal.

If complications occur during removal, for example, the patient is often then referred to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. In such cases, the patient has often experienced considerable stress and discomfort that likely would have been avoided if a properly trained oral and maxillofacial surgeon had been consulted originally. 

As dental professionals, oral and maxillofacial surgeons are often providers for the same dental insurance as a general dentist. This means that the cost of specialty care provided by the oral and maxillofacial surgeon is comparable to the cost of care rendered by the general dentist. Therefore, the perception that specialty care is more costly is often inaccurate.

Patients should consult with their current dental provider about the complexity, risk, and ease of proposed surgical treatment and when appropriate, request referral to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.