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Studies & Degrees in Oral Surgery

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Are you a student who is interested in the dental field, particularly the specialty of oral surgery?  Do you plan to pursue a career in oral surgery someday, and in need of more information regarding the type of education and training you’ll require for landing a position in this field?   If so, the following information may prove very useful.  Here we will outline the typical degree track for individuals interested in pursuing a career in oral surgery, including the course details, eligibility requirements and the subject matter you’ll need to master as a participant in the program.
Oral Surgery:  Degree Path, Course Details and Eligibility Requirements
The field of oral surgery, also known as oral and maxillofacial surgery, offers qualified graduates a wealth of rewarding and often very lucrative opportunities.  However, students who wish to acquire a position in this field must first navigate a very advanced and specialized program of education and training.  The first step in this process is applying and being accepted into an accredited dental school.  In addition to the application itself, you will typically need to provide academic transcripts, copies of test scores and no less than three letters of recommendation written by people (no friends or relatives) with personal knowledge of your academic abilities and achievements.  You will also need to sit for an interview with the program faculty and admissions officers, where you will likely be given a basic outline of the program and asked several questions pertaining to your specific knowledge and abilities.
Once you have been accepted to the dental school of your choice, you will typically undergo four to five years of rigorous study and training, ultimately leading to a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM).  This will be followed by an additional 4-7 years of education and training, specializing in the field of oral surgery.  While a Doctor of Medicine degree is not required to perform oral surgery, many candidates will opt to earn this degree concurrently with their specialty degree in oral surgery, as this distinction is often very helpful when applying for fellowships and residencies.  The Commission on Dental Accreditation accredits college dental programs, including degree, residency and fellowship programs. Graduates can also seek board certification administered by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.
Oral Surgery:  Course Content and Career Outlook
The course of study required to obtain Board Certification in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is very thorough and comprehensive, covering topics such as trauma, anesthesia, pain control, intravenous sedation and pathology, along with practicing surgical procedures.  In obtaining this certification, students will learn to treat both functional and aesthetic issues related to the mouth, jaws, face and neck.  They’ll acquire information on how to diagnose and surgically treat injuries, defects and diseases which may negatively impact these areas, and gain skills in performing dental implants, extractions and surgeries for oral tumors, cancers and cysts.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of oral and maxillofacial surgeons was expected to increase 15% from 2012-2018.   Back in May 2010, the BLS reported there were 5,330 oral and maxillofacial surgeons employed in the United States alone, earning a median annual salary of $214,120.