The need for oral surgery is rarely taken lightly, yet when that need presents itself, it seems one is never fully prepared. In many cases, the immediate need for a surgeon does not leave time to search for just the right person, creating additional stress.
Should you find yourself in need of an oral surgeon for yourself or a loved one, an important qualification for the professional is whether or not they are Board Certified. Doctors who are Board Certified through the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery can offer greater expertise and security beyond simple licensing.
What does it mean to be Board Certified?
While all practicing surgeons must be licensed in order to offer their services to patients, Board Certified doctors are recognized as having achieved and continue to maintain the highest standards within their profession. They voluntarily decided to meet additional standards above and beyond what standard licensing requires. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons who advertise themselves as Diplomats of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery are also Board Certified.
In addition to submitting a portfolio of cases demonstrating the oral and maxillofacial surgeon has experience with a broad array of surgical concerns the board certification process also requires an intensive written examination as well as a lengthy oral examination to test the surgeon’s level of immediate recall knowledge. Thus, board certification represents that oral and maxillofacial surgeon has demonstrated a high level of dedication and hard work above and beyond standard expectations. It represents someone strongly dedicated to providing his or her clients with the highest quality in care and service.
What is the Oral Certifying Examination?
In addition to the intensive written examination testing on a range of oral and maxillofacial surgery concerns, board certified surgeons must also pass the ABOMS Oral Certifying Examination (OCE). This is an oral-based examination intended to test applicants on their clinically applicable knowledge and judgment. It is actually a series of four tests, requiring the candidate to pass four different 50-minute sections in which the applicant is queried on different concerns to be addressed in surgery.
In addition, applicants can elect to become recognized as subspecialists, proving both their competence and their dedication to the kind of lifelong learning necessary to provide the type of high quality care they feel their every patient deserves.
Subspecialties can include things such as pre-prosthetic oral surgery needed to replace teeth or maxillofacial prostheses, oral surgery for the extraction of impacted and non-restorable teeth, and inpatient and outpatient anesthesia and sedation, among others.
Board certified diplomats must be recertified in current competency based on updated practices and techniques every ten years through the administration of a comprehensive written exam. Thus, continuing professional education is an essential element toward keeping oral and maxillofacial surgeons current toward maintaining their certification. Professional education can be accomplished through national meetings, seminars, lectures, attendance in specialized courses, participation in panels, attendance at symposia and/or through self-study.
Licensing vs. Board Certification
All practicing oral and maxillofacial surgeons must have graduated from an accredited dental school before becoming licensed in the state in which they practice. This includes board certified surgeons. However, board certified doctors have also gone several steps further than these basic requirements to meet additional standards and prove continuing training throughout their career. While being licensed does not necessarily indicate a specific doctor is qualified to practice in a specific medical specialty, board certification can include qualifications in additional subspecialties that indicate that doctor has been tested on recent techniques and practices in a given area of oral and maxillofacial surgery.
Board certification can only be achieved through the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, which is responsible for administering the required examinations involved in the certification process as well as reviewing all applicants before certification takes place.
The American Dental Association recognizes the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery as the specialty board for oral and maxillofacial surgery within this nation. Thus, board certification is a marker of a highly trained specialist who has demonstrated his or her expertise in the field and is now recognized by her or his peers as having achieved the highest standards of practice within the profession.
Patient Care Benefits
What this means to you – if you are in need of an oral and maxillofacial surgeon – is that you can rest easy in the knowledge that your health or the health of your loved one is in well-trained, constantly updated, professional hands simply by checking whether they have been board certified or are distinguished as a Diplomat of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.
The surgeon you choose may also be certified in one or more subspecialties that can further reduce your level of concern, particularly when those subspecialties directly address your needs. Simply by nature of being board certified, your surgeon demonstrates a dedication to continuous training in the current advances in medicine and patient care.
About the Author
Dr. Dachowski has been certified through the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery since 1992. His specialties include Implant and Pre-prosthetic Oral Surgery for replacement of teeth and maxillofacial prostheses; Oral Surgery for the Extraction of Impacted and Non-restorable Teeth; Anesthesia and Sedation, Inpatient and Outpatient; Facial Reconstructive, Orthognathic, Esthetic, and Cosmetic Facial Surgery; Temporomandibular Joint Treatment and Reconstructive Surgery; and Facial Trauma Surgery and Reconstruction of post trauma defects.