Difference between oral surgeon and general dentists

Who is an oral surgeon?

An oral surgeon is different from a dentist. He or she is a specialist with an extensive surgical training and specifically specializes in performing oral surgical procedures on a daily basis. The office of an oral surgeon may look similar to that of a dentist, but he or she uses more complex and specialized equipment compared to the ones found in a dentist’s office. The specialized equipment allows the oral surgeon to perform delicate surgical procedures more quickly, precisely, and comfortably.

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Who is a dentist?

Apart from performing simple oral surgical procedures, a general dentist is also involved in other non-surgical procedures on a day –to day basis, including cleanings, x-rays, fillings, root canals, preventive maintenance , and diagnostic exams . Essentially, he doesn’t specialize in performing oral surgical procedures as an oral surgeon does.

Difference between oral surgeon and Dentist

If you consider  treatment or academic background, you might get huge different between oral surgeon and general dental professional. You need to do major treatment as an oral specialists , however there are some other general work done by general dentist. For example, dental cleaning, regular check-up or more. Dr Lance West, oral surgeon at Auckland oral care said “An oral specialists are more likely involve with very niche dental treatment. They need to involve with major pre or post surgical treatment. Beside, a dentist can involve with regular dental procedures and he /she might refereed urgent patient to dental specialists. “There are a few differences between an oral surgeon and a dentist. These include:


After receiving a bachelor’s degree, both oral surgeons and general dentists must complete their coursework in dental school, which takes four years of full-time study. This coursework involves studying anatomy, pharmacology, physiology, oral surgery, and pathology. They also study how to diagnose and treat dental problems.

After successfully earning the Doctor of Dental Medicine or Doctor of Dental Surgery, a general dentist is required to complete a licensure examination in order for him or her to practice in a specific area. On the other hand, oral surgeons are required to complete surgical residency lasting from 4 to 6 years. In addition, the Commission on Dental Accreditation must accept the residency program. This requirement is meant to help ensure that each resident has successfully completed training in oral surgery, oral pathology, and anesthesia. After completing the surgical residency, a board certification examination is mandatory.

-Scope of work

General dentists are involved in providing primary care for dental medicine. For this reason, they provide such services as gum care, X-rays, teeth cleaning, root canals, veneers, dental fillings, crowns, as well as comprehensive screening of dental problems, among other duties .However, they are sometimes involved in performing simple tooth extractions, but do not usually perform complex surgeries.

On the other hand, oral surgeons are specialists in treating various conditions affecting the mouth, face, and jaw. They deal with complex cases which are beyond the expertise of a general dentist. Some of their duties include performing simple and complex tooth extractions and complex dental procedures on accident victims. Their other duties include performing soft tissue biopsies, jaw realignment surgery, tumor removal, and positioning of implants, among others.

Why the role of oral surgeons is vital
Oral surgeons play a very important role in society for a number of reasons, including the following:

-They perform complex surgical procedures

Unlike general dentists, oral surgeons are specifically trained to perform complex surgical oral procedures that are beyond the scope of general surgeons. For instance, they perform complex dental procedures on accident victims, a role that general dentists cannot perform.

-They work in collaboration with other specialists

Oral dentists often deal with patients who have been referred to them from general dentists because of complexity of their cases. Their work includes overseeing post- operative activity of their patients, as well as coordinating care with other specialists.

-They are well equipped than general dentists, making them more effective in dealing with complex oral problems.

-They can write scientific papers on special techniques and various topics in oral surgery, leading to more advancement on oral care.


Oral surgeons and general dentists play an important role in society when it comes to the provision of oral heath care. They work together to ensure that people access the best oral health care they possibly can.

Difference between oral surgeon and general dentists