An Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery expert witness is a surgeon testifying on injuries and disease of the head, face, jaw (maxilla/mandible), mouth, and teeth. Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, also known as OMFS or “Oral Surgery,” is a surgical specialty dedicated to treating injuries, congenital malformations, and diseases of the skull, face, jaw (maxilla and mandible), mouth, and dentition. Although Oral Surgeons treat many of the same conditions as Plastic Surgeons and Otolaryngologists, OMFS is actually a subspecialty of Dentistry. To become an Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon, most candidates complete dental school and earn a DMD (Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry) or DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree followed by an additional 4 to 6 years of surgical training in OMFS. Alternatively, some candidates simultaneously obtain degrees in both dentistry and medicine (M.D.) This pathway takes 6 years to complete and results in a dual M.D./DDS degree. Graduates from either pathway are eligible for Board Certification by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (AMOMS). Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons treat a broad range of conditions including craniofacial trauma, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain, and even wisdom teeth and dental implants. Some OMFS specialists undertake additional fellowship training and specialize in a variety of fields, including: Head & Neck Cancer (Maxillofacial Oncology), Microvascular Reconstruction, Cosmetic Facial Surgery, Pediatric Maxillofacial Surgery, and Dental Implant Surgery.
An Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery expert witness serves a valuable role in complex litigation by drawing conclusions regarding standard of care, harm, and causation. Complications of TMJ surgery, persistent oroantral communication, and issues related to dental (e.g. wisdom tooth) extraction are common areas of litigation. In terms of harm and causation, a top-tier expert in Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery is an invaluable asset for educating the trier of fact on the existence, etiology, relevance, permanency, treatment, and prognosis of various TMJ, dental, and craniofacial problems.