What is Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery?
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is a surgical specialty which involves both dental and medical surgical treatments. It diagnoses and treats diseases, deformities, injuries and cosmetic defects of the facial and oral region. OMFS are considered the "orthopedic and plastic and reconstructive experts of the Maxillofacial region" (the upper jaw, cheek bones, the bones that support and surround the eyes, lower jaw, chin, jaw joints, associated facial structures, and the intra-oral structures including teeth and their supporting bone and gum tissues, salivary glands, and lining tissues of the mouth).
Oral and Maxillofacial education begins after completion of dental school and may include a hospital based internship as a prerequisite. Completion of an OMFS residency requires 4-6 years of hospital based training focusing solely on the maxillofacial region. The residency includes medical training and rotations such as neurosurgery, critical care medicine, emergency room, internal medicine, general surgery, pediatric surgery and plastic surgery. OMFS residents also receive training in the administration of out-patient anesthesia and are required to administer hundreds of anesthetics during their residency training.
What is Endodontics?
Endodontics, also called root canal therapy, is the area of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of the diseased dental pulp. The pulp is the small amount of soft tissue containing minute nerves and blood vessels within the tooth. During initial tooth development the pulp is responsible for the formation and growth of the hard part of the tooth. After the crown and root(s) of the tooth have matured, the pulp tissue remains locked inside the tooth in a small root canal space.
During a lifetime, the pulp may become diseased due to a variety of reasons (decay, trauma, deep fillings, cracks). The inflamed pulp can quickly cause pain and even infection of the surrounding bone and soft tissue. Elimination of the diseased pulp can be accomplished in two ways: saving the tooth by performing endodontic therapy, or extracting the tooth. Endodontists are known as root canal specialists.
Endodontic training begins after completion of dental school with and additional 2 or more years of specialty training in endodontics (root canals). In addition to digital radiography, Endodontists utilize special operating microscopes. Magnification and fiber optic illumination are helpful in aiding the doctor to see tiny details inside your tooth. Also, a tiny video camera on the operating microscope can record images of your tooth to further document the doctor's findings.