Oral Surgeon vs. Dentist Norwalk, CT
While a general dentist can perform simple oral surgeries, an oral surgeon specializes in a full range of dental surgical procedures. A dentist often performs simple tooth extractions. However, more complex procedures often call for the additional education, training, and experience of an oral surgeon.
As an oral surgery practice serving Norwalk and the surrounding area, our team guides patients comfortably through each stage in the surgical process. If you are unsure whether to see a dentist or an oral surgeon, Premier Oral Surgery can help. To learn more about our services, call (203) 945-0049 for more information or to schedule a consultation.
What a Dentist and an Oral Surgeon Have in Common
Oral surgeons and general dentists are both professionals dedicated to oral health. After completing their undergraduate degrees, both attend dental school and must pass a licensing exam to practice. They perform some of the same procedures.
Wisdom tooth extractions and dental implant placement are examples of surgeries that both dentists and oral surgeons perform. Either professional is responsible for planning patient care and helping to ensure a successful treatment and recovery. Our oral surgeon will customize the patient’s treatment to meet their needs.
“Wisdom tooth extractions and dental implant placement are examples of surgeries that both dentists and oral surgeons perform.”
How Oral Surgeons Differ
Though a dentist can perform simple oral surgeries such as extractions, their primary focus is patients' overall dental health. They perform routine check-ups and provide referrals to specialists when something falls outside their purview. For example, a dentist with a patient who needs jaw surgery will likely refer that patient to an oral surgeon who is better equipped to perform that procedure.
Oral surgeons complete at least four years of surgical residency, where they perform a wide array of surgical procedures involving the maxillofacial area. Their education also includes anesthesia training, plastic surgery, and hands-on work treating patients in hospital settings. Finally, they must obtain a license in the state they plan to practice.
“…a dentist with a patient who needs jaw surgery will likely refer that patient to an oral surgeon who is better equipped to perform that procedure.”
When to See a Dentist
A general dentist is who a patient sees for all their regular dental checkups. They are also the primary source of information on maintaining oral health in general. Patients should see their general dentist at least two times a year for routine cleaning and to screen for any potential dental problems. A general dentist is the professional who turns to fill a cavity. However, they may also perform common procedures such as root canals and the placement of dental crowns.
Along with performing common dental restorations such as crowns, inlays, and cavity fillings, a general dentist also monitors the health of the gums, screens for oral cancer, and provides fluoride treatments when needed. General dentists may offer teeth whitening procedures and perform a deep cleaning procedure known as scaling and root planing. Preventive care is also an important aspect of a general dentist's work. These are the practitioners who catch small oral health problems before they become big ones.
“Patients should see their general dentist at least two times a year for routine cleaning and to screen for any potential dental problems.”
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When to See an Oral Surgeon
The more involved the procedure, the more likely it is that a general dentist will refer the patient to an oral surgeon. For example, a tooth extraction will likely involve more complications than usual. In that case, the dentist will want the patient treated by an oral surgeon with experience handling surgical complications. In addition, a patient is more likely to be referred to an oral surgeon for the following:
- Bone grafts
- Correcting congenital defects
- Extractions of impacted wisdom teeth
- Jaw Surgery
- Oral cancer treatment
- Surgical procedures involving IV sedation
- Surgery to help with obstructive sleep apnea
Patients who need to undergo long procedures or multiple procedures at once may also be referred to an oral surgeon.
“The more involved the procedure, the more likely it is that a general dentist will refer the patient to an oral surgeon.”
Questions Answered on This Page
People Also Ask
Tips for Finding the Right Dental Professional
A patient's general dentist is typically the first point of contact in finding an oral surgeon. These professionals are knowledgeable of the patient’s needs and dental history. In addition, they are likely to have a network of trusted professionals to recommend.
Patients who want to know more about an oral surgeon they have been referred to are likely to find information about the surgeon online and reviews from actual patients. The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons, AAOMS, even has an online tool where patients can search for oral surgeons by city, state, or zip code.
“These professionals are knowledgeable of the patient’s needs and dental history.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is oral surgery covered by my insurance?
A. You will have to check the details of your plan to determine which services are covered by the insurance plan. Typically, if a procedure is done purely for cosmetic reasons, it is not covered. We encourage each patient to check with their insurance provider about covered services and providers.
Q. Is oral surgery painful?
A. The level of discomfort varies per procedure. However, our team is highly skilled in keeping patients comfortable during any procedure. We offer sedation and aid patients with any discomfort during and after the procedure.
Q. How long does it take to recover from oral surgery?
A. Several facts affect recovery time, including the patient’s health, the procedure, and how well the patient follows aftercare instructions. The presence of complications can factor into recovery time as well. In most cases, we find that patients can return to regular activities in a few days.
Q. What can I do to speed up my recovery?
A. Above all, follow aftercare instructions to the letter and contact our office if anything unexpected happens. Those who are healthy before and after the procedure tend to have faster recovery times. It is also important to get as much rest as possible and stay hydrated. Smokers tend to take longer to recover than non-smokers.
Q. How can I find a qualified oral surgeon?
A. We recommend starting with your general dentist or friends and family. The internet is another good resource. Today it is easier than ever to find online reviews of oral surgeons from actual patients.
Start Feeling Better – Visit Us Today
By visiting us as soon as possible, our team can help get you the professional treatment you need. Instead of waiting around and allowing the symptoms to get worse, we can provide you with treatment options.
Call Us Today
Premier Oral Surgery is an oral surgeon serving Norwalk and the surrounding area. You are in good hands with our caring and professional team. Contact us at (203) 945-0049 for more information or to schedule a consultation today.
Helpful Related Links
- American Dental Association (ADA). Glossary of Dental Clinical Terms. 2023
- American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry® (AACD). Home Page. 2023
- American Academy of Maxillofacial Prosthetics. American Academy of Maxillofacial Prosthetics. 2023
- American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. 2023
- American College of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. American College of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. 2023
- National Cancer Institute (NCI). National Cancer Institute (NCI). 2023
- WebMD. WebMD’s Oral Care Guide. 2023
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