What is the difference between a maxillofacial surgeon and a general dentist?

When we go for a dental check-up or when we have to treat oral pain, we consult our dentist. However, depending on the type of procedure required, the dentist will either treat you himself or refer you to a dental specialist such as a maxillofacial surgeon.

Although both work in the dental field, their respective professions are quite different. Discover what makes a maxillofacial surgeon different from a general dentist.

The maxillofacial surgeon: a specialist dentist

Maxillofacial surgeons are specialist dentists who are certified to perform surgery on teeth, jaw bones and the face. They are trained to treat disorders, diseases, injuries and abnormalities in these parts of the body. It is their responsibility to correct facial deformities.

The aspiring surgeon’s academic trajectory

Before becoming a maxillofacial surgeon, this oral health specialist must have the same education as a general dentist; that is, a doctorate in dentistry. Only then can they begin their post-doctoral studies in oral and maxillofacial surgery. This training is spread over a period of four to seven years depending on the university centre and the specialization program. At his discretion, the surgeon can subsequently undertake a sub-specialization in a particular area of his specialty.

The maxillofacial surgeon’s role and responsibilities

General dentists, doctors and other specialists frequently call upon the skills of this oral and maxillofacial surgeon when caring for their patients. This is especially the case when a patient suffers from dental abnormalities, cysts and jaw tumours. The oral and maxillofacial surgeon also deals with dental bone grafts, dental implants, fractures and jaw deformities, to name a few.

The general dentist

The general dentist is responsible for your overall oral health. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied. These include the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases and other disorders that affect oral health. The general dentist works in conjunction with the oral and maxillofacial surgeon. In some cases, the general practitioner refers his patient to the surgical specialist for his expertise. There is a valuable collaboration between them when it comes to the surgical care of their patients.

Clinique MFML: a team of maxillofacial surgeons dedicated to helping you take a bite out of life

Good oral health is essential to overall health. Thanks to the talent and skills of maxillofacial surgeons, people with access to these services can fully sink their teeth into life.

If you think you need to see a maxillo-facial surgeon, or if you’d like more information, you can visit us at our maxillo-facial clinic in Montreal, by phone at +1 514-637-1606 or via our online form.

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