Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at UMMC
How to Choose an Oral Surgeon
Choosing an oral surgeon should start with talking to your dentist. Typically, your dentist will recommend you the best person in your area to consult for the oral surgery you need. Your oral surgeon should be certified to practice and have special expertise performing the surgery that you require. Visit the oral surgeon you’re thinking of patronizing and find out more about their experience. Choose an oral surgeon who can adequately answer your questions and concerns.
Exploring Your Options
Talk to your dentist.Your dentist is the best person to recommend an oral surgeon for you since they know exactly what sort of oral trouble you’re having. Once your dentist recommends one or more oral surgeons based on your specific needs, you can go forward with the process of evaluating each surgeon.
- If your dentist doesn’t have anyone in mind, perform an online search for an oral surgeon in the area with good reviews. Alternately, talk to your friends and family members who have had oral surgery and find out if they were satisfied with their surgeons.
Find a specialist.Within oral surgery, there are a number of subfields. For instance, some oral surgeons specialize in providing implants, while other specialize in removing teeth. Use your knowledge of what you’re looking for in an oral surgeon to choose one who will meet your specific needs.
Ensure you can receive treatment.If you live in a nation that does not provide universal health coverage, you might have to pay a fee to a hospital or private insurance company for treatment. Even if you have health insurance, your provider might not allow you to receive treatment from the oral surgeon of your choice. Before choosing an oral surgeon, find out from your care provider or health insurance provider what your options are.
- You may also want to check with your primary care physician or dentist to see if you need a referral to go see an oral surgeon.
Check the cost.If the price is an issue for you, find out how different oral surgeons charge for the operation you need. Choose the price that best fits your budget.
- Ask your dentist how much the surgery you need typically costs. This will give you an idea of what the ballpark price for your surgery should be.
- Find out what surgery center the oral surgeon uses and what fees will be involved.
- Ask about additional fees for anesthesia.
- Ask what lab the surgeon uses and what fees will be involved with required lab work.
Visiting the Oral Surgeon
Get a diagnosis.When you see the oral surgeon for the first time, find out what the problem is and what they recommend you do about it. The diagnosis should be similar or identical to the initial one you received from your dentist. If it is not, consider getting a second opinion.
- Listen carefully to your doctor and take careful note of all the possible courses of treatment available to you.
- Once the diagnosis is complete, the oral surgeon should provide you with a printout describing the problem and their recommended surgical option. Each step of the procedure should be described along with a price for the services offered.
Ask questions.After the oral surgeon you’re thinking about choosing offers their diagnosis and treatment options, you will probably have questions. A good oral surgeon will ask you directly if you have any questions and answer your questions in a clear and confident manner. Even if the oral surgeon doesn’t ask you if you have questions, you should come prepared to ask a few anyway. For instance, you might want to ask:
- Is this procedure dangerous?
- Is there an alternative to the procedure?
- What happens if I don’t get oral surgery?
- Have you performed many surgeries of this type before?
- What are the risks of the procedure?
- What are the most likely outcomes of the procedure?
- How long will it take me to recover?
Ensure the oral surgeon works with reputable staff.When choosing an oral surgeon, you are also choosing the network of people they surround themselves with or calls upon. This network might include nurses, laboratory technicians, or other dental and medical professionals. Whenever possible, you should also ensure that these individuals are qualified and reliable.
- For instance, if you’re getting an implant, ask the oral surgeon what laboratory they will use, and if the lab tech is certified or accredited.
Find out what the emergency protocols are.Oral surgery is generally a minor procedure, but like all surgery, it entails certain risks. Ask the oral surgeon what these risks are and what emergency provisions they provide.
- For instance, your oral surgeon should have a direct line available for you in case something happens over the weekend while you’re recovering from the surgery.
Evaluating the Oral Surgeon
Ensure your surgeon is qualified.An oral surgeon should have board certification, meaning they have met the requirements outlined by their profession and can be trusted to perform oral surgery. They should also meet local licensing or certification requirements, which vary from place to place. For instance, your local state or province might have certain rules that the surgeon must conform to in order to practice.
Look for an oral surgeon who has membership in professional societies.When oral surgeons are members of professional societies, they demonstrate that they are committed to staying apprised of all the latest developments in their field, and deserve special consideration when you make your selection. Whenever possible, choose an oral surgeon who is a member of a society such as the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons or a similar group at the local or national level.
- Better still, find one who is not only a member of a professional society, but one who has received accolades or awards for their work.
Select an oral surgeon with experience.Generally, the longer an oral surgeon has been practicing, the more secure you should feel in their abilities. Select an oral surgeon who has been in practice for a number of years and is well-established in the community.
- Take notes while you are talking with your physician, dentist, and/or prospective oral surgeon.
- Note the time and date that you spoke with your health insurance provider, and make sure to get the name of the representative. You may also want to request an email that includes the information that was provided to you over the phone.
- Keep in mind that some oral surgeons only perform surgeries on certain days of the week. You may need to adapt your work schedule to accommodate this.
Video: Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery - Dr. Joel M. Friedman
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