Oral and maxillofacial surgery is an independent medical specialty that combines elements of both medicine and dentistry. Therefore, oral and maxillofacial surgeons in German-speaking countries are trained in both medicine and dentistry - and must also prove their expertise in both fields.
Oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMFS) - Further information
What is oral and maxillofacial surgery?
Oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMFS) deals with the diagnosis, therapy, prevention and restoration of the function of the jaw, teeth, oral cavity and face. Especially diseases, malpositions and injuries (as a result of an accident) are the main areas of treatment for specialists in oral and maxillofacial surgery.
Which diseases and disorders are treated by OMF surgeons?
OMFS specialists, or experts in oral and maxillofacial surgery, as they are also called, deal primarily with the following diseases, malformations and the consequences of accidents:
- Bite anomalies
- Jaw malpositions
- Cleft lip and palate
- Broken Jaw
- Dysgnathia ("false bite")
What is the range of services of oral and maxillofacial surgeons?
OMF surgeons are, as the name already suggests, mostly active in surgery. Their main task is to restore the natural functionality of the mouth, throat and facial area or make it look as natural as possible with the help of implants. Plastic-esthetic and reconstructive facial surgery is particularly important in the case of malformations (e.g. cleft lip and palate) or in the event of injuries and accidents. It is usually only through the work of OMFS specialists that the affected patients are able to lead a carefree life again. In the field of oral surgery, both implantology and maxillofacial surgery play an important role.
What qualifications do specialists in oral and maxillofacial surgery have?
As mentioned before, oral and maxillofacial surgery is a speciality in the German medical landscape. Since oral and maxillofacial surgery effectively combines two medical disciplines, specialists in oral and maxillofacial surgery must have a double licence to practice medicine in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The title "Dr. med Dr. med. dent." is therefore very common among OMF surgeons. A further special feature is that, due to the proximity to other organ systems, specialists in oral and maxillofacial surgery have to work together with neighboring disciplines more often than other physicians. Therefore, joint interventions on patients with the help of ophthalmologists, neurologists or ear, nose and throat specialists are often necessary.
Anyone wishing to work as an OMF surgeon in Germany must complete a medical and a dental degree at the same time. The prospective specialist must then complete a 5-year further training course to become a specialist in oral and maxillofacial surgery. Three years of this time must take place as ward service in the practice. During this time, the prospective OMF specialist is able to work out a sufficiently large surgical register, because the skills as a surgeon count a lot in oral and maxillofacial surgery. After successfully passing the examination to become an OMF surgeon, further training for the additional qualification "plastic surgery" can be added. There are currently about 1,500 OMF surgeons in Germany. About half of them are registered doctors in their own practice. The other half of the OMF specialists are mainly to be found in hospitals and special clinics or departments for oral and maxillofacial surgery.