How Can I Become an Oral Surgeon?
Are you interested in a specialized dental career? Would using surgical skills to correct mouth and jaw problems be fulfilling? If so, becoming an oral surgeon may be for you. Read on to learn about the requirements for this specialized career. Schools offering Dental Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Are the First Steps to Becoming an Oral Surgeon?
Dental schools often require a certain amount of college coursework completed before you apply, and some may prefer that you already hold a bachelor's degree. Prior to applying for dental school, you must also complete the Dental Admission Test (DAT). Your DAT score, grade point average and recommendations typically factor into the selection process for general dentistry programs. After completing a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) program, you can apply to an oral and maxillofacial surgery program.
What Types of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Programs Are Available?
You may choose to undertake a certificate program in oral and maxillofacial surgery, which typically takes four years to complete. Coursework and clinical experiences cover maxillofacial trauma, general surgical practices and techniques. Many schools also offer an integrated program combining studies in oral and maxillofacial surgery with medical training, culminating in a certificate in general surgery as well as oral and maxillofacial surgery and Doctor of Medicine (M.D.). This type of program typically takes six years to complete and also includes coursework in areas such as pathology, trauma, surgery and oncology.
What Will I Study?
No matter which type of program you choose, your coursework will consist of a combination of classroom study and clinical practice. Topics specific to training in oral and maxillofacial surgery include:
- Maxillofacial injuries
- Dental implants
- Reconstruction techniques
- Oral surgery in children
- Maxillofacial oncology
How Do I Get Licensed?
After completing a DDS or DMD program, you'll be eligible for state licensing, which is required in all states. Besides graduating from an accredited dental program, licensing typically requires passage of skills assessment examinations. Most oral and maxillofacial surgery programs require that you be eligible for general dentistry licensing before you can be admitted to the program. Depending on your state, you might also need to apply for specialty dentistry licensing after completing an oral and maxillofacial surgery program in order to announce yourself a specialist in the area.
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