When you find yourself with a dental problem that requires immediate attention, where do you go? Do you go to an oral surgeon or a DDS (doctor of dental surgery)? Often, people think oral surgeons and dentists are the same. But the truth is that the two are different. The difference comes from the amount of their training and the services they offer. Understand these nuances before you decide who to visit. This article discusses the main differences between an oral surgeon and the doctor of dental surgery.

Oral surgeon

Compared to dentists, oral surgeons undergo extensive training in their field. In most cases, patients who require oral surgery are referred to oral surgeons by their dentists. You may be referred to an oral surgeon if your emergency requires complicated tooth extraction or facial injury surgery. For instance, if you are having an impacted wisdom tooth that requires immediate removal, your dentist will advise you to go to an oral surgeon for the procedure.

This type of tooth extraction involves an intricate surgical procedure that general dentists are not as qualified to perform. Also, you will have to seek the help of an oral surgeon if your jawbone and gum requires restructuring. Oral surgeons have experience cutting or reshaping a misaligned jawbone to give the patient a natural smile. They also know what to do to restore an infected jawbone and prevent further bone loss. Also, oral surgeons have the skills to treat chronic oral diseases and conditions that arise from poor oral health.


Doctor of dental surgery are dentists with training in general dentistry. Although they have not specialized in oral surgery, they can perform various minor oral operations that do not involve complex surgical procedures. Principally, their work includes dental examinations, teeth cleanings, crown placements, root canals, and general gum care. When you visit your dentist, the first thing they do is to do all the necessary tests to ascertain whether they are in a position to handle your case, or they should refer you to an oral surgeon.

Dentists are also good at analyzing x-rays and interpreting diagnostic tests. Therefore, they are the ones who will do x-ray scans and other dental examinations. Once they have made a diagnosis, they will advise the patient on the available forms of treatment. If you are not sure about who to see, you should look for a medical facility that offers both experts.