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Career profile Oral Surgeon

Also known as Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon (OMS), Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon-Practice Owner, Oral Surgeon, Resident Surgeon, Surgeon

Oral Surgeon

Also known as Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon (OMS), Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon-Practice Owner

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Social
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$63,840 - $208,000+ (annual)
Required Skills
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Critical Thinking
Knowledge Areas
  • Medicine and Dentistry
  • Biology
  • Customer and Personal Service
Core tasks
  • Administer general and local anesthetics.
  • Collaborate with other professionals, such as restorative dentists and orthodontists, to plan treatment.
  • Evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth to determine whether problems exist currently or might occur in the future.
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What does an Oral Surgeon do?

Oral Surgeons perform surgery and related procedures on the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial regions to treat diseases, injuries, or defects.

In addition, Oral Surgeons

  • may diagnose problems of the oral and maxillofacial regions,
  • may perform surgery to improve function or appearance.

What kind of tasks does an Oral Surgeon perform regularly?

Oral Surgeons are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Administer general and local anesthetics.
  • Collaborate with other professionals, such as restorative dentists and orthodontists, to plan treatment.
  • Evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth to determine whether problems exist currently or might occur in the future.
  • Treat infections of the oral cavity, salivary glands, jaws, and neck.
  • Remove impacted, damaged, and non-restorable teeth.
  • Perform surgery to prepare the mouth for dental implants, and to aid in the regeneration of deficient bone and gum tissues.
  • Remove tumors and other abnormal growths of the oral and facial regions, using surgical instruments.
  • Provide emergency treatment of facial injuries including facial lacerations, intra-oral lacerations, and fractured facial bones.
  • Treat problems affecting the oral mucosa, such as mouth ulcers and infections.
  • Restore form and function by moving skin, bone, nerves, and other tissues from other parts of the body to reconstruct the jaws and face.
  • Perform surgery on the mouth and jaws to treat conditions, such as cleft lip and palate and jaw growth problems.

The above responsibilities are specific to Oral Surgeons. More generally, Oral Surgeons are involved in several broader types of activities:

Assisting and Caring for Others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

What is an Oral Surgeon salary?

The median salary for an Oral Surgeon is over $208,000, and the average salary is $234,990. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Oral Surgeon salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Oral Surgeons earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Oral Surgeons earn less than $63,840 per year, 25% earn less than $156,210, 75% earn more than $208,000, and 90% earn more than $208,000.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Oral Surgeons is expected to change by 7.7%, and there should be roughly 200 open positions for Oral Surgeons every year.

Median annual salary
Over $208,000
Typical salary range
$63,840 - Over $208,000
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
7.7%

What personality traits are common among Oral Surgeons?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Oral Surgeon are usually higher in their Realistic, Social, and Investigative interests.

Oral Surgeons typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Also, Oral Surgeons typically have strong Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Lastly, Oral Surgeons typically have strong Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Oral Surgeon tend to value Independence, Relationships, and Recognition.

Most importantly, Oral Surgeons very strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Second, Oral Surgeons very strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Lastly, Oral Surgeons very strongly value Recognition. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Oral Surgeons must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, dependability, and integrity.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Oral Surgeons, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Self-Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

What education and training do Oral Surgeons need?

Many Oral Surgeons have earned a graduate degree. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a doctoral degree, such as a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D..

Oral Surgeons may need some on-the-job training, but most candidates will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Educational degrees among Oral Surgeons

  • 2.5% earned a Master's degree
  • 97.5% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Oral Surgeons

Oral Surgeons may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as medicine and dentistry, biology, or customer and personal service knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Oral Surgeons might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Medicine and Dentistry
Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Biology
Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Psychology
Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Important Abilities needed by Oral Surgeons

Oral Surgeons must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Oral Surgeons need abilities such as arm-hand steadiness, near vision, and finger dexterity in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Oral Surgeons, ranked by their relative importance.

Arm-Hand Steadiness
The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Finger Dexterity
The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Critical Skills needed by Oral Surgeons

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Oral Surgeons frequently use skills like judgment and decision making, complex problem solving, and critical thinking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Oral Surgeons, ranked by their relative importance.

Judgment and Decision Making
Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Complex Problem Solving
Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Monitoring
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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