What is the Difference Between
a Dentist and an Oral Surgeon?

All dentists and dental specialties, including oral surgeons, orthodontists, pediatric dentists, periodontists, and more, must complete dental school. After four years of dental study, they earn a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree. General dentists can begin practicing immediately following dental school. Oral surgeons must complete dental school and also complete a residency program, which is an additional 4–6 years of training.

These extra years of training provide oral surgeons with hands-on surgical experience in a hospital setting. Oral surgeons learn how to manage patients with a variety of oral health needs and are trained to administer all forms of anesthesia or sedation. This extra training is what sets oral and maxillofacial surgeons apart from dentists.

Following residency training, an oral surgeon can choose to specialize in an area, such as orofacial pain, oral pathology, orthognathic surgery, and many others. Many surgeons begin practicing following their residency, while others pursue additional training or internships before opening or joining a practice.

With these many years of training and education, oral surgeons are the most qualified dental professionals to handle conditions of the mouth and face. Many people will require some type of oral surgery in life, whether it is to have wisdom teeth taken out or to restore a missing tooth with a dental implant. For all of your oral surgery needs, you can trust our highly skilled and board-certified surgeon, Dr. Ioppolo, to provide excellent care and improve your oral health.

Are Oral Surgeons a Type of Dentist?

Oral surgeons and dentists both complete dental school and earn a dental degree. Although all oral surgeons are dentists, not all dentists are oral surgeons. After dental school, a dentist can begin practicing, while an oral surgeon must begin a residency program, which lasts for 4–6 years.

Who Extracts a Tooth, Dentists or Oral Surgeons?

General dentists can perform simple tooth extractions, but if a tooth is impacted or requires incisions, an oral surgeon is the most qualified specialist to perform surgery. Dentists can often only administer local anesthesia, so any type of procedure that requires more advanced anesthesia is most suited for an oral surgeon. Wisdom teeth removal, for example, typically involve extracting multiple teeth and sedation, so dentists refer patients to oral surgeons for treatment.

Oral Surgeon in Lubbock, TX

When you and your loved ones need oral surgery, you can depend on Dr. Ioppolo and his team to provide the highest standard of care. Dr. Ioppolo is board-certified and offers the full scope of oral surgery treatments for patients of all ages. Contact Hill & Ioppolo Oral & Dental Implant Surgery of Lubbock to schedule your consultation at our office in Lubbock, TX.