California Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Careers

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are “the surgical specialists of the dental profession,”
says the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS). These skilled professionals “treat the conditions, defects, injuries and aesthetic aspects of the mouth, teeth, jaws and face.” When patients complain of pain or problems in these areas, a general dentist will likely refer them to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for help.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons practice in all areas of the U.S., but the largest population resides in the State of California, followed by New York, Texas, Massachusetts, and Ohio.  

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Education and Training Programs

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMFS) is a highly specialized field that requires four to  six years of advanced education and training leading to a Certificate in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. This is in addition to years of undergraduate and graduate education in dentistry and related fields. These advanced OMFS or “OMFS residency programs” feature hands-on education and training at leading area hospitals.

Upon completion of an OMFS program, graduates must obtain an oral and maxillofacial permit in order to administer OMFS surgery. To qualify for an OMFS permit in California, applicant's must submit:

Current license certification from the Medical Board of California
Current license certification from each state in which the applicant is/was licensed to practice dentistry
Proof of being board certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (ABOMS), or of being a candidate for certification

An accredited OMFS program typically requires completion of dozens of courses and hands-on training in areas including, but not limited to, anesthesia, oral/maxillofacial surgery, neuroscience, pathology, pharmacology, maxillofacial trauma, pathologic lesions of the head and neck, correction of dentofacial deformities, maxillofacial reconstruction, temporomandibular joint surgery, dentoalveolar surgery, ambulatory general anesthesia and deep sedation, cleft lip and palate repair, management of odontogenic infections, dental implants, management of facial pain, facial aesthetic surgery, coding and nomenclature, and risk management.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Schools and Training Programs in California

The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) lists nine accredited OMFS schools/training programs in the State of California. They include:

David Grant USAF Medical Center Travis AFB, CA
Harbor UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA
Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Naval Medical Center - San Diego, San Diego, CA
University Medical Center Fresno, Fresno, CA
University of California - Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
University of California-San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
University of Southern California School of Dentistry and Los Angeles County/USC Medical, Los Angeles, CA
University of the Pacific/Highland Hospital, Oakland, CA

Employment and Earnings Outlook for California Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

California is home to 490 licensed oral and maxillofacial surgeons, averaging $179,920 per year. In 2008, the state was home to 860 surgeons averaging $153,900 per year.
At an average salary of $205,730 per year, the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara area has the nation’s ninth highest average salary for oral and maxillofacial surgeons.

Another California Metro area—San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, has the third highest population of oral and maxillofacial surgeons among the nation’s top ten metro areas for professionals in this field. This metro area also has the second highest concentration of jobs and location quotients in this field.

The U.S. is home to nearly 4,990 oral and maxillofacial surgeons averaging $216,440 per year, up from 4,760 surgeons averaging $190,420 per year. They work in offices of dentists and physicians, general medical and surgical hospitals; colleges, universities, and professional schools, and outpatient care centers, with offices of physicians and dentists at the top of the pay scale at an average of $226,280 to $230,350 annually.