How to Become an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon


There is intensive training needed to become and oral surgeon. Ensuring your ability to perform surgical procedures requires years of advanced education and experience.

Learn more about becoming an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

Becoming an Oral Surgeon

When deciding to become an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, it’s important to note that the required education could take 10 or more years. Here’s a glimpse of the path to become an oral surgeon:

  • Complete an undergraduate degree
    • Improve your chances of acceptance to dental school by majoring in a science discipline such as biology, chemistry or other related subjects
  • Apply to dental school
    • In your junior year of undergraduate studies, you should take the Dental Admission Test (DAT), which is required for dental school applications. Many students apply to several dental schools, as admission is competitive.
  • Complete dental school
    • Complete either a Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) degree or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.) degree. Both degrees have the same curriculum, but respective dental schools choose which to award their students.
  • Complete residency
    • You must complete a specialty residency program to practice as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Some programs can take up to four years.
  • Receive dental licensing
    • State requirements differ, but you will need an accredited dental degree and a passing score on the National Board Dental Exam in order to practice anywhere in the U.S
  • Receive board certification
    • Upon residency completion, you must pass another exam to become a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon.



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