After an initial oral examination, it may be determined that the patient needs to see an oral surgeon for a surgical procedure beyond the scope of the general dentist. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons are the surgical specialists of the dental profession. After dental school, they complete at least four additional years of training encompassing anesthesiology, diagnosing and treating diseases found in the mouth, and the prevention, reconstruction or emergency care for teeth, jaws, mouth and facial structures. Oral Surgeons are best known for extracting wisdom teeth, but in reality they do much more. During an initial consultation, the general dentist may conclude that the patient's needs go beyond his or her scope. Reasons may include, but are not limited to.
Third molars begin to erupt in the teenage years coinciding with adulthood and, to some, the age of wisdom thus the term "wisdom teeth." Unfortunately, these teeth are usually erupting into a jaw too small to hold them, and thus are determined to be "unnecessary." When this occurs, teeth are considered "impacted," meaning they are prevented from fully erupting through the gumline and are not in a normal position to function properly.