An oral and maxillofacial surgeon is a regional specialist surgeon treating the entire craniomaxillofacial complex: anatomical area of the mouth, jaws, face, skull, as well as associated structures.
Depending upon the jurisdiction, maxillofacial surgeons may require training in dentistry, surgery, and general medicine; training and qualification in medicine may be undertaken optionally even if not required. An optional medical qualification can qualify the holder for hospital and operating room access not open to others.
Oral and maxillofacial surgery is universally recognized as one of the specialties of dentistry. In the UK and many other countries OMS is a medical specialty requiring both medical and dental degrees, culminating in an appropriate qualification (e.g. Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, FRCS, in the UK). All oral and maxillofacial surgeons must obtain a university degree in dentistry before beginning residency training in oral and maxillofacial surgery.
They also may choose to undergo further training in a 1 or 2 year subspecialty Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Fellowship Training in the following areas:
- Head and neck cancer – microvascular reconstruction
- Cosmetic facial surgery
- Craniofacial surgery/Pediatric Maxillofacial surgery/Cleft Surgery
- Cranio-maxillofacial trauma
- Head and neck reconstruction (plastic surgery of the head and neck region)
- Maxillofacial regeneration (reformation of the facial region by advanced stem cell technique)
The popularity of oral and maxillofacial surgery as a career for persons whose first degree was medicine, not dentistry, seems to be increasing in few EU countries[clarification needed]. However, the public fund spend for 14 years of training is a big concern of the state. Integrated programs are becoming more available to medical graduates allowing them to complete the dental degree requirement in about 3 years in order for them to advance to subsequently complete Oral and Maxillofacial surgical training.