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What Qualifications are Required to Become an Oral Surgeon?

Diving into the world of oral surgery comes with its intricacies. An oral surgeon can be considered as a specialized guardian of our mouth and face. They are professionals who carry out operations in our mouths, faces, heads, and necks. A dentist might suggest a visit to an oral surgeon due to several dental issues. 

However, the journey to becoming an oral surgeon is a demanding one. It requires extensive education, stringent training, precise skills, and an enduring passion for the field. The commitment is significant, but so too can be the rewards.

Understanding the Educational Pathway

Embarking upon the path to becoming an oral surgeon requires diligence in education. It’s a step-by-step process, filling one with vast knowledge about the human mouth and everything contained within it. The stages involved in this educational journey usually include:

  • Pre-medical College Degree: The road to becoming an oral surgeon starts with your undergraduate degree. Most of those interested in pursuing this field select a pre-medical or science-related major as a stepping stone. This could typically involve specializing in biology, chemistry, or another science field, giving a solid foundation knowledge that will be built upon in dental school.
  • Dental School: After four robust years of higher education, the next step lies in dental school. Dental school only accepts the brightest aspiring dental experts eager to expand upon their undergraduate learning. Here, they study for another four years, obtaining either a Doctorate in Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctorate in Dental Medicine (DMD). This step gives individuals the expertise they need to even consider a career as an oral surgeon.
  • Residency Program: The learning does not stop there. After eight years of persistent, challenging study, would-be oral surgeons then venture into a surgical residency program. These demanding programs can last anywhere from 4 to 6 years. They are absolutely essential for aspiring oral surgeons. They offer significant training in various dental procedures. This includes everything from dental implants and pre-prosthetic surgery to the preparation of the jawbone for surgery.

The Importance of Certification and Licensing

As with many medical professions, becoming an oral surgeon is not just about the completion of education and training. Indeed, it also involves obtaining the appropriate certifications and licenses to practice the profession. The steps involved in gaining these credentials usually include:

  • Passing Licensing Examination: Before practicing as an oral surgeon, individuals must pass a state licensing examination. This usually comprises a rigorous written and practical component. It’s a significant milestone: a test of all that they have learned. It stands as a challenge that must be conquered before moving forward.
  • Gaining Board Certification: Some oral surgeons may wish to further prove their abilities by obtaining board certification. This takes even more hard work and studying, as it involves passing additional written and oral examinations. However, upon completion of this daunting task, these oral surgeons are discerned as highly skilled experts in their field.

What is an Oral Surgeon?

So now you have read about how laborious the journey is to become an oral surgeon, you might still be wondering what exactly is an oral surgeon. Well, consider them as experienced dental professionals. They are experts in performing detailed surgeries on the face, head, neck, and both the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region – quite literally everything ranging from the neck up. They are usually found in strong collaboration with other dental professionals like orthodontists, all working together to provide comprehensive care for patients.

Essential Skills and Abilities

The journey of learning to become an oral surgeon does not simply stop at the gaining of knowledge in a classroom, no matter how advanced or in-depth the course may be. Indeed, to be a successful oral surgeon, one must hone various other character skills and abilities that are crucial for daily operations in this profession. This area of focus includes:

  1. Physical Dexterity: An oral surgeon needs to perform intricate procedures that require a solid hand and precision. They must have excellent hand-eye coordination to ensure they can perform delicate operations successfully. Only a slight slip can make a massive difference, so a steady hand is vital.
  2. Problem-solving Skills: Oral surgeons are often faced with challenging cases that might not have straightforward solutions. Being able to think on one’s feet and possessing robust problem-solving skills are, therefore, crucial to finding the best treatment approach.
  3. Communication Skills: Despite their usually hidden position at a dental office, oral surgeons need to interact effectively with other healthcare professionals and patients. The ability to communicate effectively delivering clear and comprehensive information is essential.

The Role of Experience

Experience is often regarded as the best teacher, and this is no different for someone in the dental surgery profession. The experience offers one something that cannot be taught, replicating real life and embedding instinct into the surgeon. As part of an oral surgeon’s journey, gaining experience varies in form but can typically involve:

  1. Hands-on Learning: A hands-on learning experience in an oral surgeon’s journey can’t be gained from a textbook. It’s learned in a residency program, where new professionals experience real-life cases and ever-evolving procedures. This experience is employed when handling dental implants, understanding the complexities of gums and bones, ensuring denture comfort, and an array of other procedures in oral surgery.
  2. Real-life Cases: Dealing with several real-life cases during the residency program allows budding oral surgeons to get a feel for the job. They’ll get exposure to various dental issues, boosting their ability to handle multiple cases and adding to their knowledge base.

Benefits of Oral Surgery

Perhaps you are wondering why someone would choose to become an oral surgeon, given the vigorous demands of the job. Well, the benefits can be plentiful for both the surgeon and their patients. Individual improvements can arise from a visit to an oral surgeon’s office. This is especially true if the surgery is done at a reputable facility, akin to Seymour’s leading oral surgery center

In such establishments, individuals can solve several dental ailments, experience an improvement ment in their personal appearance, an elevation in their self-esteem, and an overall upgrade in the quality of their life. Dedicated oral surgeons do not only rectify dental issues, but they help transform lives overall, from fixing misaligned jaws to remedying slurring speech issues and installing dental implants that minimize denture slippage.

Deciphering Dentures

If you have ever wondered about the relevance of dentures in oral health, then know that dentures can play an incredibly significant role. In plain terms, dentures for improved oral health serve as replacements for lost teeth. They come in either full or partial sets of false teeth. 

The use of dentures can aid in resolving several issues, including unexpected denture shifts, slurring speech issues, enhancing the overall denture fit, and effective post-operative care for teeth extraction sites. In essence, they restore normalcy to the mouth, enhancing appearance, phonetics, comfort, and, without a doubt, a patient’s overall dental well-being.

Continuous Professional Development

Medicine, as a field, is constantly involved. With the advent of new technology and techniques, oral surgeon cannot afford to rest on their laurels. Staying abreast with the latest dental advancements and attending seminars and training sessions is a must. This includes:

  • Continuing Education: Most successful oral surgeons commit to lifelong learning due to the ever-evolving nature of the medical field. This incredible commitment to continuing education enables them to stay updated with the latest techniques, research, and treatment standards in oral surgery.
  • Professional Development: Seminars, webinars, training sessions, and other courses relevant to the field of oral surgery provide excellent opportunities for professional development. These avenues allow oral surgeons to broaden their knowledge, deepen their understanding, and improve their practice.


As clearly illustrated, reaching the professional peak of an oral surgeon does not come lightly. It calls for a significant sacrifice in terms of time, money, and effort. The requirements are demanding: a pre-medical college degree, a degree from dental school, a completed surgical residency program, and the triumphant passing of licensing examinations.

Aside from these academic requirements, other skills and virtues hold importance, too, like effective communication, critical problem-solving skills, practical physical dexterity, and a commitment to continuous professional development.