Introduction to Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons are specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of a broad range of disorders affecting the facial complex and skeleton, including the jaws and oral cavity.
Contemporary training in both medicine and dentistry enables oral & maxillofacial surgeons to treat conditions requiring expertise in both fields. These include a range of common oral surgical problems (eg. impacted teeth, dental implants), jaw and congenital facial disproportion, facial trauma, oral cancer, salivary gland disease, temporomandibular joint disorders, and various benign pathologies (eg. cysts and tumours of the jaws).
Following the acquisition of dental and medical degrees, prospective trainees must complete basic general surgical training as residents and then apply to be selected into one one of the six training centres throughout Australasia. Specialty training involves four years with an examination in the first year and the final examination in the fourth year. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery training, together with a compulsory research component and the final Fellowship qualification, are recognized by both the New Zealand Medical and Dental Councils. The training, accreditation and examination requirements are administered by the Board of Studies in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery within the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons. This culminates in the qualification FRACDS(OMS) which is the gold standard qualification of the Australian and New Zealand Medical Councils.
Patients are referred to an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon by both general and specialist dental and medical practitioners. In many instances, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons work in collaboration with other specialists such as orthodontists, ear nose and throat surgeons, plastic and reconstructive surgeons and oncologists as part of multidisciplinary teams to optimise the treatment of major conditions and diseases of the mouth, faces and jaws.