Doctors for plastic and oral maxillofacial surgery in the local DFW area.  These skillful surgeons also perform surgery specifically for head and neck oncology, cosmetic, and reconstruction procedures.

Any surgery that changes the appearance or restructures any characteristic or body part is considered plastic surgery.

Maxillofacial surgery refers to surgery on the face and jaws while oral surgery targets the mouth. Here is more information on plastic and maxillofacial surgeons and the procedures that they do.

Recommended Dallas-Fort Worth Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery Doctors

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What is the difference between and Cosmetic and Plastic Surgeon

While many people use the terms plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery interchangeably, there really is a difference between them. This may be because many plastic surgeons decide to focus on cosmetic surgery at their practices.

They are similar, but there are distinct differences.

Each Surgical specialty has different Goals

Different goals separate these two surgical specialties. They guide the research, training, and philosophies of each surgical branch.

Plastic Surgery

Plastic surgery focuses on fixing defects that a patient may have to restore a normal appearance and improve the function of a damaged or flawed body part. Plastic surgery, or reconstructive surgery, is performed for medical reasons such as body or facial defects, trauma, disease, burns, or birth disorders.

Many plastic surgeons go on to take the additional training required for cosmetic surgery, but the foundation of their training is reconstructive plastic surgery. To illustrate that reconstructive and plastic surgeons are the same, the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons officially changed its name in 1999 to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Some examples of plastic surgery are:

  • Burn repairs
  • Breast reconstruction
  • Congenital defect repairs such as an extremity defect repair or cleft palate
  • Hand surgery
  • Lower extremity repairs
  • Scar revision surgeries

Cosmetic Surgery

Cosmetic surgery’s primary goal is aesthetic and focuses on enhancing the patient’s appearance. The surgeon operates to improve someone’s symmetry, proportion, and aesthetic appeal. These surgeries are considered electives and are not necessary to improve any body part defects or function.  Physicians in a variety of fields practice cosmetic surgery.

Some cosmetic surgeries include:

  • Breast lifts, augmentation, reduction
  • Cheek or chin enhancement, rhinoplasty
  • Neck, face, brow, eyelid lifts
  • Laser resurfacing for skin, filler treatment, Botox
  • Liposuction, gynecomastia treatments, tummy tucks


Since plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery have different goals, it makes sense their certification and training routes are separate. With plastic surgeons, there are six training categories and only one focuses on cosmetic training. For cosmetic surgeons, all the categories require a focus on cosmetic surgery.

The certification exam for plastic surgeons’ tests on 150 cosmetic surgery procedures. Per the American Board of Cosmetic Dentistry, doctors who want to become certified in plastic surgery must complete one of two training paths:

  • They must complete a comprehensive residency that combines general surgery for three years with an additional three years in plastic surgery or:
  • A five-year, independent residency in general surgery with an additional three years in a plastic surgery residency.

Plastic surgery residency programs may include a portion of cosmetic surgery but not every cosmetic procedure is covered in training.

Cosmetic surgeons must test out in 350 cosmetic procedures, and most of their training occurs after residency training. At this time there are no residency programs in America that focus exclusively on cosmetic surgery. As a result, cosmetic surgeons receive experience and training once they complete their residency. This is accomplished through a fellowship.

It is essential to do your research when you’re looking for a cosmetic surgeon because it is legal for any licensed doctor to practice in cosmetic surgery. Compare each doctor’s overall experience, training, and competency in the specific procedure that you want.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Dental specialists who treat patients for defects, esthetic and injury aspects, and conditions of the face, mouth, jaws, and teeth are oral and maxillofacial surgeons. They address problems like misaligned jaws, problems involving wisdom teeth, facial pain, accident victims with facial injuries and more.

Head and Neck Oncology

Patients treated for cancers in the head and neck are cared for by a treatment team including nutritionists, oncologists, nurses, radiation oncologists, physical therapists, speech and respiratory therapists, and social workers. These doctors care for problems associated with these cancers such as:

  • Pain
  • Abnormal growths
  • Swelling in the neck, scalp, head, oral cavity, face, throat, and skin regions
  • Any other associated health problems

Procedures Maxillofacial and Oral Surgeons Perform

  • Treatment and diagnosis of benign tumors, cysts, etc.
  • Dentoalveolar surgery (complicated tooth extractions, removing impacted teeth, extractions on patients with compromised health, prosthetic surgery or bone grafting for better anatomy, and placement of dental prostheses or dentures)
  • Procedures to insert osseointegrated dental implants
  • Treatment and diagnosis of cancerous cysts, tumors, etc.
  • Treatment and diagnosis of chronic facial pain issues
  • Treatment and diagnosis of congenital craniofacial deformations such as cleft palate and lip
  • Treatment and diagnosis of hard and soft tissue trauma of the face and neck (cheekbone fractures, eye socket fractures, jaw fractures, etc.)
  • Treatment and diagnosis of TMJ or temporomandibular disorders
  • Treatment and diagnosis of orthognathic and dysgnathia reconstructive surgery

Training for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (OMSes)

These surgeons begin with dental schooling for four years to learn the concepts of general dentistry. Afterward, the doctor earns a DMD, doctor of dental medicine, or DDS, doctor of dental surgery depending on the school they attend.

Next, they attend a hospital-based residency training program for four years. There is intense competition for these residencies. Only about 170 slots are available each year and most only except doctors in the top 10 percent of their perspective classes. During this education, OMSes learn along with future internists, anesthesiologists, emergency physicians, general surgeons, and plastic surgeons.

Some OMSes train an additional two years in a comprehensive OMS/MD program so that they can obtain a medical degree. Other training is available in complex surgical techniques. Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons receive referrals from both physicians and dentists. They usually become part of a team and share calls with fellow dental as well as medical doctors and area hospitals and trauma centers.