How do I Become an Oral Surgeon?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 08 January 2020
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Oral surgeons are licensed doctors who specialize in treating disorders of the mouth, jaws, and surrounding areas. They receive extensive training to learn how to reshape congenital deformities, remove tumors and cysts, and repair injured bones and cartilage tissue. A person who wants to become an oral surgeon must complete four years of dental school, participate in a four-year residency program, and pass detailed licensing examinations. An additional two years of fellowship training are necessary to become an oral surgeon in a particular specialty, such as oncology or pediatric care.

Most people who are interested in pursuing oral surgeon careers first enroll in four-year bachelor's degree programs. An undergraduate who wants to eventually become an oral surgeon usually majors in health science or biology, with a focus on premedical studies. Courses in anatomy, physiology, chemistry, and biology provide a student with a basic understanding of the human body. Many undergraduates pursue internship positions or dental assistant jobs at local clinics and private practices to gain important experience dealing with patients.


Near the end of a bachelor's degree program, a student can begin applying to accredited dental schools and take the requisite written admissions test. In general, there is a high level of competition among applicants due to the relatively small number of available openings. Individuals who have the strongest test scores, grades, experience, and letters of recommendation are likely to be selected. Most dental school programs take about four years to complete, during which time a student takes courses dedicated to oral anatomy, general dentistry, and maxillofacial surgery. An individual who wants to become an oral surgeon usually has the chance to participate in a surgical internship while pursuing his or her degree.

A successful student can earn a Doctor of Dental Surgery in the United States or an equivalent degree in another country. Following dental school, a new doctor typically joins a four-year residency program at a specialty clinic to receive hands-on training from experienced oral surgeons. A resident has the opportunity to work directly with patients under the supervision of a mentoring surgeon to perfect his or her skills. Before practicing independently, the doctor generally must pass regional and national licensing exams to prove his or her competence for the job.

An individual who wants to become an oral surgeon in a specialty usually joins a fellowship program after receiving licensure. Fellowships are available in many specialties, including cosmetic surgery, pediatric care, craniofacial trauma, and head and neck cancer. After completing a fellowship and passing an additional certification test, an oral surgeon is normally eligible to work at clinics, hospitals, joint practices, and private dentist offices.



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Post 1

This website provides useful information about certified dental training programs that are required to become good, skilled oral doctors. Some bachelors degree programs are also offered by these dental schools.

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