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Oral Surgeon vs. Dentist: What’s the Difference?

oral surgeon vs dentist difference

When it comes to dental care, it can be confusing to understand the different types of dental providers and the services they offer. Especially when you consider all of the different types of dental specialists there are to choose from. Two of the most commonly confused dental professionals are oral surgeons and dentists. While both are highly trained and skilled in their fields, there are distinct differences between the two.

It can be extremely helpful to understand the differences between oral surgeons and dentists, including their areas of expertise and the services they provide. Many of the treatments offered by oral surgeons are also available with Dr. Bestandji, a highly qualified dentist here at Canal Vista Family Dental in Princeton, NJ.

Oral Surgeon vs. Dentist for Extractions

One of the most common procedures that both dentists and oral surgeons perform is tooth extractions. From emergency extractions to therapeutic tooth removal to wisdom tooth extraction, either professional can help you. 

However, there are some cases where an oral surgeon may be the better choice, especially if there is a surgical or complicated procedure you require. For example, if a tooth is impacted or if multiple teeth need to be extracted and they’re located next to a major facial nerve, an oral surgeon may be better equipped to handle the procedure, especially given the technology they have on hand. Oral surgeons also have the training and expertise to manage more complex cases – such as jawbone or sinus issues involving grafting or augmentation. These are more progressive surgeries that typically require deep sedation, additional surgical supplies, and involve oral anatomy beyond that of the immediate mouth area. 

At Canal Vista Family Dental, Dr. Bestandji is trained in both general dentistry and oral surgery. This means that she can handle a wide range of extractions, from simple to complex cases. We provide everything from basic dental extractions to emergency tooth removal and wisdom tooth surgery. If you or your teen has impacted wisdom teeth, we can take a full-mouth digital image to evaluate their third molars and recommend an appropriate care plan. 

Are All Dentists Oral Surgeons?

While all oral surgeons are dentists, not all dentists are oral surgeons. Dentists receive a broad education in all aspects of dental care, including preventative care, restorative procedures, and some oral surgeries. 

However, not all dentists choose to specialize in oral surgery. Those who do will go on to study for an additional 2-3 years in the area of oral and oromaxillofacial surgery. At that point, they can choose to become board-certified. Some of them even have an “MD” behind their name. 

Once a dentist becomes an oral surgeon, they typically no longer offer the same comprehensive care associated with general dentistry. Instead, they solely focus their services in the area of oral surgery. 

At Canal Vista Family Dental, Dr. Bestandji is a highly trained and experienced general dentist who also provides certain oral surgery services. This means that we can provide a wider range of services to our patients, such as wisdom tooth removal, dental implant placement, and soft tissue or bone grafting. But if there is an extremely complex case where unique oral anatomy needs to be considered, we can refer you to an oral surgeon to have those concerns addressed. 

Dentist vs. Oral Surgeon (Wisdom Teeth)

One of the most common procedures that oral surgeons in Princeton perform is wisdom teeth extraction. While many dentists also perform this procedure, an oral surgeon may be a preferred choice for patients who have multiple impacted wisdom teeth, complex root systems next to major nerve structures, or other complications. Fortunately, that’s not always the case with our Princeton dental patients. 

At Canal Vista Family Dental, Dr. Bestandji is highly experienced in wisdom teeth extractions, including cases that require oral surgery. We use the latest techniques and technologies to ensure that patients are comfortable and that the procedure is as efficient and effective as possible. That way, you can enjoy complete dental care under one roof and a more efficient care experience. We want you to feel relaxed and safe, and have as easy of a recovery as possible. 

Do Oral Surgeons Do Root Canals?

While root canals are typically performed by general dentists or endodontists, oral surgeons do not perform this procedure. Since they are specialists in oral surgery—and root canal treatment is an endodontic procedure involving the inside of a tooth—you won’t find root canal therapy at a surgeon’s office. 

At Canal Vista Family Dental, Dr. Bestandji is a highly experienced general dentist who can perform a wide range of endodontic procedures, including root canals. She works closely with patients to ensure that they receive the care and treatment they need to maintain their natural teeth as long as possible. 

Root canals are often the last line of defense when it comes to tooth preservation. Unfortunately, a lot of Princeton general dentists refer their root canals out to more expensive specialty clinics. By offering root canals at Canal Vista Family Dental, we help you and your family access more affordable dental care without sacrificing quality. 

Dentist vs. Oral Surgeon for Dental Implants

Dental implants are a popular option for patients who need to replace missing teeth. While both dentists and oral surgeons can perform this procedure, it can be a bit daunting trying to determine which provider to see. 

While general dentists like Dr. Bestandji place dental implants as well as restore them (installing a visible “tooth” on top,) oral surgeons usually only install the implants and then refer the patient back to a dentist for the fixed restoration like the crown or bridge that goes on top of the implant. 

Working with our implant dentist in Princeton streamlines the process, as the entire treatment is completed under one roof. 

At Canal Vista Family Dental, we offer complete smile care for all ages. Call us today to reserve your next appointment with our experienced, compassionate dental team!

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