Is becoming an oral and maxillofacial surgeon right for me?

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What do oral and maxillofacial surgeons do?
What are oral and maxillofacial surgeons like?

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How to become an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

The educational training involved in becoming an oral and maxillofacial surgeon is not for individuals looking to get through school quickly. Four years of undergrad work, four years of dental school and four to six years of residency is lengthy. Although one specific university major is not required to apply to dental school, good grades and several science classes are needed such as biochemistry, physics, biology, organic chemistry and general chemistry. After graduating with a four-year degree, the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) needs to be taken before going off to dental school for four years.

In the United States, there are a couple of different paths individuals can take to become an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. One path is to apply for a surgical residency approved by the American Dental Association’s Commission of Dental Accreditation. The surgical residencies for oral and maxillofacial surgeons are usually four to six years in length. After completion of the residency, surgeons can take a written and oral exam to become board certified in oral and maxillofacial surgery.

The second path is to earn dual degrees as both a dentist and medical doctor. There are several training programs and residencies that provide medical education concurrently, which is incorporated into the oral and maxillofacial residency. This route results in a medical degree also being awarded, and typically takes six years to complete.