Dentist and Oral Surgeon

What’s the Difference?

Your family doctor does a great job helping you cope with illness. They often know your health better than you do yourself. But you’d probably be apprehensive if they were about to remove your gall bladder, because that kind of surgery is a specialized procedure. It takes a different skillset than diagnosing problems and prescribing solutions — a skillset that family doctors generally don’t practice. Therefore, your MD usually refers you to someone who does have the proper experience for removing your gall bladder. Your doctor’s ego isn’t bruised, and your trust isn’t diminished. In fact, it might even increase as you are handed over to someone who completes the procedure successfully.

A very similar relationship exists between your dentist and an oral surgeon. Your dentists at the Placerville Dental Group administer dental cleanings, perform extractions, and restore decayed teeth. In many cases they even perform procedures that are considered oral surgery. But when the situation requires more complicated surgical processes, your dentist knows that someone with a different skillset is required: an oral surgeon.

Becoming an Oral Surgeon

To become a dentist, an individual must complete four years of study for a bachelor’s degree and an average of four more years study and practice to become a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM). This provides plenty of knowledge and training to manage oral health. Oral surgeons spend the same amount of time in study and training for general dentistry, but then continue with four to six more years to perform complex surgical procedures.

When an Oral Surgeon Steps In

Oral surgeons perform a wide variety of procedures —for instance, corrective surgery for a cleft lip, for jawbone problems, or reconstructive surgeries after an accident. An oral surgeon helps to restore a person’s mouth after a tumor is removed from bone. In fact, there are even specialties within the field of oral surgery! Depending on your personal circumstances, a dentist at the Placerville Dental Group knows an oral surgeon best suited to help with your issue.

Surgeries requiring an oral surgeon might also require different equipment than what’s available in a dentist’s chair. Your oral surgeon might do the procedure at a hospital, or perhaps in an outpatient setting. An anesthesiologist might be necessary to administer heavy sedation. However, follow-up appointments are usually right back at our Placerville office, often with your general dentist.

Your oral health is important, and your dentist has plenty of expertise to help you maintain it. But isn’t it comforting to realize that the Placerville Dental Group knows even more experts ready to support you? If you need an oral surgeon, feel free to give us a call or schedule an appointment online. The more you know about our staff, the more impressed you’ll be with the dental help they can provide.


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