Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons VS Oral Surgeons
The difference between an "oral surgeon" and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon is NOT just a medical degree. "Oral surgeons" have a significantly reduced scope of practice and training regime.
The qualification FRACDS(OMS) is the culmination of both a medical and dental degree, two years of general medicine and surgery and a further four years of formal hospital-based specialist surgical training. Often this takes upto 15 years of training. All contemporary oral and maxillofacial surgeons undergo a standardized Australasian training program which includes comprehensive and exhaustive entry and exit examinations. Furthermore, medical education ensures competency in the management of severe trauma and critically ill patients.
The FRACDS(OMS) is the gold standard for this training and registration in Australia and New Zealand. "Oral surgeons" only undertake a three-year dentally based training program and are not medically qualified and are only recognised by the dental council. This does not allow registration with the medical boards of Australia or New Zealand and does not provide the medical training necessary for the management of severely compromised patients in the trauma or intensive care setting. This group includes a small number of patients who develop complications after procedures such as wisdom tooth surgery.
There is no Australasian hospital-based program or final fellowship examination in "oral surgery". Oral surgery training only allows a clinican to undertake a small scope of practice by comparison. This may include wisdom teeth and dental implant surgery. Oral surgeons will have difficulty offering and engaging in higher level procedures and certainly cannot perform complex facial trauma, reconstructive, cancer or temporomandibular joint surgery.