What is an Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon? | Types Of Dentistry


Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are experts in the mouth, face, and jaw surgery. They are the only dental specialists recognized by the American Dental Association who are surgically trained in a hospital-based residency program. The path to becoming an oral and maxillofacial surgeon is quite rigorous, and the total length of education and training after high school is 12 to 14 years.

Typical training for an oral and maxillofacial surgeon includes:

  • Four years of undergraduate study.
  • Four years of dental school.
  • Four to six years of residency training (six-year training options include two additional years of study for acquiring a medical degree).

During training, some surgeons complete a supplemental medical school education to receive a medical degree (MD). They train alongside medical residents in internal medicine, general surgery, anesthesiology, plastic surgery, otolaryngology (ENT), emergency medicine, and trauma surgery.

Board Certification

After the completion of surgical training, oral and maxillofacial surgeons are encouraged to complete the board certification process. Like other Boards in medicine and dentistry, the objective of theAmerican Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (ABOMS) is to elevate the standards of oral and maxillofacial surgery through a certification process. The ABOMS certification process assures the public that certified oral and maxillofacial surgeons have successfully completed a rigorous peer evaluation process by requiring surgeons to present and maintain professional credentials, and demonstrate the requisite training, experience, and knowledge. Patients find tremendous comfort in knowing that their oral surgeon has completed this process and are held to the highest standards in their field.

About Dr. Suketu Patel

Dr. Suketu Patel attended the University of Michigan where he earned his B.S degree in Cell and Molecular Biology. Following his undergraduate studies, Dr. Patel continued at the University of Pennsylvania where he received both his dental (DMD) and medical (MD) degrees. He completed his residency training in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Health System and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Dr. Patel is a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, a Fellow of the American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons. He has extensive training in the full scope of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery with particular areas of interest that include the extraction of wisdom teeth, dental implants, pediatric oral surgery, orthognathic surgery, facial trauma, oral and maxillofacial pathology, and TMJ disorders. In addition, Dr. Patel is a former Clinical Assistant Professor of Oral Surgery and Pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. Dr. Patel is proud to be on staff at East Georgia Regional Medical Center in Statesboro, Georgia and Emanuel Medical Center in Swainsboro, Georgia; and is an active member of the Ogeechee River Medical Society and the East Georgia Physicians Group.



Dental School Graduate

Last day of residency!

Medical School Graduate

Dr. Patel and wife, Dr. Anjali Patel, celebrating the end of residency!



When Do You Need a Bone Graft?

East Georgia Center for Oral & Facial Surgery

Richard J. Hammond, DMD; and Suketu J. Patel, DMD, MD

Adequate bone is necessary when you are trying to replace missing teeth with dental implants. Bone grafts become essential when there is damaged or missing bone in your jaw. Dental implants are secured to the bone in your jaw, and the bone needs to be strong and thick enough to support an implant for a very long time.

After you lose an adult tooth, about 25% of your bone shrinks within the first year. When a tooth is missing, the constant bite force is no longer occurring, and the jaw bone becomes less motivated to stay healthy. This process continues if left untreated for an extended period of time. After a certain point, the bone levels become too thin to support a dental implant. At this point, a bone graft would be needed to regenerate this lost bone.

Teeth need to be removed for various reasons: infection, deep cavities, periodontal/gum disease or traumatic injuries. Often times, we will recommend that a bone graft is performed simultaneously with a tooth removal procedure. This sort of bone graft is frequently called “ridge preservation” or “socket preservation.” The goal of this type of bone graft is to preserve the existing jaw bone for a dental implant. A dental implant can typically be placed 3-6 months after a socket preservation bone graft, and it allows for more predictable healing and stability for the implant.

Dental trauma can occur when a tooth is displaced, or the jaw bone is fractured from an injury. Due to the nature of these injuries, sometimes bone can be lost, and a bone graft would be necessary to replace the injured teeth with implants.

Periodontal disease or “gum disease” can cause a significant amount of bone loss. Periodontal disease can result from inadequate oral hygiene at home, failure to receive dental cleanings every 6 months, or genetics. Certain bacteria colonize under your gums and on plaque around your teeth. These bacteria then eat away at your bone causing bone loss and loosening of your teeth.

The surgeons at East Georgia Center for Oral and Facial Surgery have a high level of surgical expertise and a vast knowledge of the advanced technology for bone grafting procedures. If you are considering dental implants or have been told that you require bone grafting, please trust one of our expert surgeons to deliver the specialized care that you deserve.

Contact East Georgia Center for Oral & Facial Surgery to schedule a consultation:

Statesboro Office: 912-764-5435
Swainsboro Office: 478-419-2100


Guide for Recovery After Dental Implant Surgery

Once your dental implant surgery is over and has gone well, you’re going to want to comfortably recover and follow your surgeon’s advice to ensure maximum healing. Below are a few tips to keep in mind after you leave our office upon undergoing a dental implant surgery.


After your surgery, your surgeon will place a gauze pad over your surgical site. Place gentle pressure on the gauze pad and remove it after about 60 minutes. If bleeding is persistent, replace the gauze with a new piece moistened with a few cool drops of water. You can replace the gauze every 30-60 minutes until the bleeding has stopped. Some mild bleeding and redness in your saliva is normal up to 24 hours after your surgery.


Swelling is normal after surgery and can peek at about 48 hours after your procedure. To minimize swelling, place an ice pack or bag of ice on your cheek adjacent to your surgery. Apply ice for 20 minutes and then remove the ice for 20 minutes before applying again. After the first 24 hours after surgery, a heating pad or warm towel can be used to help reduce swelling.

Pain Management

Once the surgery is completed, you will be numb in the area of the surgery. Implant procedures do not typically cause a significant degree of discomfort. However, you will still likely be prescribed medications to help control soreness after surgery. It is best to stop by your pharmacy to pick up your prescriptions immediately after surgery. Consider taking your pain medication prior to the numbing agent wearing off to help better manage your discomfort.


Drink plenty of fluids after your surgery. Try to avoid any overly hot foods as this may cause bleeding or discomfort at the sensitive surgical site. Liquids and soft foods should be consumed on the day of your surgery. Try your best to resume your regular diet thereafter unless directed otherwise by your surgeon. Nutrition is key to healing. Furthermore, you’ll be less likely to deal with side effects such as nausea caused by pain medication or antibiotics if these medications are taken on a full stomach

Oral Hygiene/Brushing Your Teeth

Good oral hygiene and a clean mouth is very important for healing. Brushing your teeth and over your implant healing abutments is not a problem. You may also receive a prescription for Peridex mouth rinse. Please follow the directions provided by your surgeon. You will typically rinse with the mouthwash for 30 seconds twice per day.

A dental implant will be one of the best and smartest investments that you will make. You will have the opportunity to feel confident, smile, eat, and speak like you may not have previously been able to do. Please call our office to set up your dental implant consultation.

An Exparel Update from East Georgia Center for Oral & Facial Surgery

Welcome to East Georgia Center for Oral & Facial Surgery

Richard J. Hammond, DMD; Suketu J. Patel, DMD, MD

Last year, East Georgia Center for Oral and Facial Surgery introduced a new medication, Exparel, into our practice. Exparel is a non-opioid medication that provides longer-lasting pain relief so patients can reduce or avoid opioid medicines after surgery. Exparel is injected adjacent to the incision sites during your surgery. The medication utilizes time-release technology to deliver pain relief to the surgical sites over the next 72 hours.

The response that we have received has been quite remarkable. Patients who choose to include Exparel with their treatment have been very pleased. They have recommended it to others, and we often receive hugs and gratitude during follow up visits. There have also been many times when parents of patients wish that Exparel was available when they had their wisdom teeth removed.

The most common procedure that Exparel is being administered for is Wisdom Teeth Surgery. However, we have also utilized the medication for dental implant surgery, TMJ surgery, and multiple tooth extraction procedures. Patients seem to recover a bit quicker and do not have to be exposed to some of the side effects of heavy pain medication.

We are very proud to offer Exparel in our practice. Dr. Suketu Patel and Dr. Jeremy Hammond are available to provide their expertise to provide a pleasant experience for you.

Feel free to call our office at 912-764-5435 to a schedule consultation for your oral surgery treatment.

The National Opioid Crisis And Our Practice’s Approach To Reducing Post Surgical Use Following Wisdom Teeth Surgery


You should have a say in how your pain is treated after surgery. The majority of patients receive an opioid medication after surgery.  While opioids have been a mainstay in post-surgical pain control, they are also at the center of an ongoing national crisis. 1 out of 15 surgical patients goes on to long-term opioid use. In addition, 4 out of 5 new Heroin users started out by misusing opioids. Even when opioids are used responsibly, they are associated with side effects (nausea, vomiting, constipation) which can complicate recovery after surgery. As a result, most patients prefer non-opioid options following surgery.

The doctors at East Georgia Center for Oral and Facial Surgery have recently introduced Exparel into our practice. Exparel is a non-opioid medication that provides longer-lasting pain relief so patients can reduce or avoid opioid medications after surgery. Exparel is injected adjacent to the incision sites during your surgery. The medication utilizes extended-release technology to deliver pain relief to the surgical sites over the next 72 hours. The most common procedure that Exparel is being administered for is Wisdom Teeth Surgery. However, we have also utilized the medication for dental implant surgery, TMJ surgery, and multiple tooth extraction procedures. We have received very favorable feedback from our patients, parents, and medical/dental colleagues, and we are very excited to continue to offer Exparel to our patients.

During your initial consultation appointment, we will determine whether you are a candidate for Exparel, and we will offer strategies for pain management to help ease your concerns. You will have the opportunity to discuss your options with your surgeon to select a strategy that works for you. Our practice strives to remain at the cutting edge of medical and dental technology to improve the lifestyle and health of our patients. Our goal is to utilize Exparel to reduce opioid use, decrease post-surgical discomfort, and allow our patients to experience an easier surgical recovery.

TMJ Disorders: More Common Than You Think


The American Dental Association reports that 15% of Americans are affected by Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is a small joint located in front of the ear on each side of the head and allows the lower jaw to move and function. Each joint works in close collaboration together and with ligaments, muscles, and cartilage to allow for activities such as chewing, talking and swallowing.

TMJ disorders are relatively common, and most patients experience symptoms such as earaches, headaches, jaw clicking, and limitations in jaw opening and range of motion. TMJ disorders can occur when there are disturbances or disruptions in the normal anatomy or physiology of the bones, muscles, ligaments, or cartilage involved in the functional temporomandibular joint complex. Causes of TMJ disorders can include teeth grinding or clenching, stress, trauma, arthritis, dislocation, or jaw misalignment.

Proper evaluation and diagnosis are very critical in treatment. Like most health problems, early detection is essential. Often, patients are referred to an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon by their dentist or physician for assessment of a potential TMJ disorder. After examination and x-rays, further specialty imaging (CT scan or MRI) may be suggested for further investigation. Most patients improve with nonsurgical treatment. These recommendations can include eating a soft diet, taking short term nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, splint therapy, stress management, and physical therapy. In severe cases of teeth grinding, Botox treatment has assisted patients by slightly weakening their clenching muscles leading to a significant decrease in the intensity of teeth grinding. As a result, there is less stress and pain on these muscles.

When nonsurgical treatment is unsuccessful or if there is significant damage to the joint, surgical intervention may be indicated. Surgery can involve an open joint surgery or an arthroscopy (a minimally invasive procedure performed with utilization of a camera and small instruments).

No one treatment can resolve TMJ disorders completely, and treatment takes adequate time to be effective. East Georgia Center for Oral and Facial Surgery can help you have a healthier and more comfortable jaw.

Visit our website for more information.


It is time to consider options other than dentures because you deserve the best.  
More of our patients are selecting dental implants to replace their missing teeth.

TEETH-IN-A-DAY is a revolutionary concept providing patients with fully functioning teeth on dental implants in one single procedure that lasts about a few hours.  This innovative process involves collaboration with an experienced surgeon, your dentist, and a member of our laboratory team.  We work with only highly skilled professionals and utilize products that have proven results.  Teeth-in-a-day involves the precise placement of dental implants into your jaw to provide stability for your new teeth.  A new prosthesis is then temporarily fastened to the dental implants.  Over the next four to six months, you will continue to utilize this set up of stabilized teeth while your implants heal.  During this process, your dental implants will begin to fuse to the jaw bone and heal.  Once your surgeon confirms the jaw bone is healed, a final permanent set of teeth will be fixated to the implants providing a wonderful cosmetic and functional solution.

Teeth-in-a-day can offer predictable results when performed by skilled professionals. It is quite remarkable how a simple procedure can improve self-confidence, show a more youthful appearance, improve speech and social interaction, and allow people to finally begin eating the healthy and delicious foods that they once enjoyed.  Furthermore, we are able to eliminate the daily frustrations and embarrassment faced by patients with missing teeth.

Please contact our office to schedule a consult with one of our board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeons.

Pediatric and Adolescent Oral Surgery

All of our patients deserve quality dental care with the highest standards.  We strive to establish positive treatment experiences during an individual’s developmental years to help shape a favorable outlook towards future dental and medical care.  When choosing an oral surgeon for your child, it is essential that you select a practice that is experienced, knowledgeable, and comfortable with pediatric dental and medical health.  Your child’s oral surgery treatment is very important to us, and our board certified surgeons pride themselves in being the region’s premier specialists in pediatric and adolescent oral and maxillofacial surgery.  Our staff and doctors want your child to feel safe, confident, and comfortable by explaining treatment clearly and encouraging their questions.

Tooth Extractions:

Baby Teeth may require removal if they develop cavities that are too large for dental fillings.  The extensive decay on these teeth can cause severe pain and infection.  

In addition, we often remove Baby Teeth to help minimize crowding of growing Adult Teeth.  In the event a Baby Tooth is delayed in falling out on its own, removal of one or more Baby Teeth is required to ensure that the underlying Adult Teeth can come into the mouth in normal position.  

Lastly, we will often receive a referral from your child’s orthodontist for removal of Adult Teeth to facilitate orthodontic treatment when correcting significant dental crowding.  These teeth are typically Adult Premolar Teeth and are removed to help create space to assist in tooth alignment. 

Exposure of Impacted Canines:

When a permanent canine tooth (“eye tooth”) is not able to grow completely into the mouth due to crowding or poor positioning, we are able to perform an exposure procedure for the tooth to allow it to erupt as it would naturally.  This minor surgery is performed in conjunction with orthodontic treatment.  Depending on the positioning, a small bracket is placed on the impacted tooth to allow your child’s orthodontist to place traction on the tooth to guide it into its correct position.  The procedure is quite simple and associated with minimal discomfort.  


A Frenectomy is performed to treat a child who is “tongue tied.”  Tongue Tie can be caused when a thick band of tissue on the undersurface of the tongue restricts tongue movement and range of motion.  This can lead a child to have difficulty speaking and eating, and can cause recession of the gums or gaps in between front teeth.  Evaluation and treatment for this condition is important since Tongue Tie can affect a child’s confidence and the ability to achieve developmental milestones.  The Frenectomy procedure is a very minimally invasive procedure, and any stitches that are placed will fall out on their own.  

Sedation and Anesthesia:

Your child’s safety and comfort are our primary concern.  There are several anesthesia options that we are able to offer our pediatric patients.  At the initial consultation appointment, we will review your child’s health history, discuss treatment and anesthesia options, and provide our recommendations.  A complex medical history or extensive oral surgery treatment will sometimes require procedures to be performed in a hospital.  Rest assured, this process is easy and an overnight stay is rarely required. Our doctors are proud to be on active staff at East Georgia Regional Medical Center and Emanuel Medical Center.       

Accelerated Orthodontics

Your Smile Is Your First Impression.

        Your Smile Is Your First Impression

Your smile is your first impression and is very important to you!  Many patients resist improving their smile or correcting their bite with conventional orthodontic treatment due to the number of years that are dedicated to traditional braces.  Accelerated Orthodontics is an advanced revolutionary approach to help rapidly transform your smile in months!  Accelerated Orthodontics is when braces or Invisalign are applied by an orthodontist in conjunction with minor oral surgery to decrease the time needed for correction.  This technique can be utilized in orthodontic patients of all ages, has been well-researched, and is an expanding trend in the field of dentistry.

With Propel or Piezotome instrumentation and a CT scan, our surgeons can precisely place small perforations in gums and bone to allow teeth to shift into the correct place more quickly.  The surgical procedure will involve a few days of soreness, but the obvious benefit is the vast reduction in time necessary to wear braces.  The procedure also has the ability to create better long term stability of your teeth by strengthening the bone and gum tissue.  In addition, since teeth shift faster, treatment will require weekly trips to the orthodontist rather than the monthly trips involved with conventional orthodontic treatment.

Furthermore, this impressive technique can serve two additional purposes:

First, orthodontic treatment can sometimes require removal of up to four healthy adult premolar teeth to correct crowding.  We are now able to offer alternatives to this option so patients can keep the teeth that once required removal in the past.

Secondly, some patients with excessive or deficient jaw growth require corrective jaw surgery (orthognathic surgery) to realign their jaws, correct their bite, and treat their skeletal discrepancy.  We are now able to incorporate the Accelerated Orthodontic treatment protocol to eliminate more invasive jaw surgery in some of our patients.

Accelerated Orthodontics is a very effective and convenient treatment option when performed by an experienced and well-informed oral and facial surgeon and orthodontist.  At East Georgia Center for Oral and Facial Surgery, our board certified surgeons pride themselves in staying abreast with advances in dentistry and medicine to provide our patients with numerous treatment options for their dental treatment.

Not only is orthodontic treatment effective in creating an esthetic smile, but it is also an instrumental treatment modality in correcting your bite to help prevent facial pain, headaches, and temporomandibular joint disorders.  Please feel free to speak with your dentist or orthodontist regarding Accelerated Orthodontics, or contact our office to set up a consultation with one of our specialists to determine if you are a candidate for Accelerated Orthodontics.  Feel good about yourself and feel good about your smile!

Related Links:



Dental Implants: Best Treatment Option for Missing Teeth

Dental ImplantsDental implants are the best treatment option for missing teeth and more patients are taking advantage of this expanding technology.  Dental implants are able to replace one or several missing teeth.  They are gently placed into your jawbone by an oral and facial surgeon and are embedded there just like your natural teeth.  Rather than having a removable denture that rests on your gums or having to compromise your adjacent teeth as anchors for fixed bridges, dental implants are secure, predictable, and the best long-term replacement for missing teeth.

Our patients are extremely pleased with their decision to pursue dental implants.  It is quite remarkable how a very quick and easy procedure can improve self-confidence, allow individuals to finally begin eating the healthy and delicious foods that they once enjoyed, improve speech, and provide a more youthful appearance.  Furthermore, implants eliminate the daily frustrations faced by patients with missing teeth.

At East Georgia Center for Oral and Facial Surgery, Drs. Suketu Patel, Rod Uribe, and Mark Clayton are board certified specialists who have broad expertise in dental implant placement.   We work with some of the finest general dentists in our area to provide you with the results that you deserve.   We are well-known and trusted by our patients and colleagues for our ability to deliver successful outcomes for the most challenging and difficult scenarios.

During your initial visit, your surgeon will evaluate your medical history, perform an examination, and review your x-rays.  In addition, we have CT scanners at both of our offices and utilize the latest cutting edge technology to allow your surgery to be more predictable, take less time, and allow you to have a faster and healthier recovery.  Often, we are even able to place implants without making incisions or placing stitches!

Let us assist you in creating a healthy and beautiful smile.  For more information, please visit our website or contact our office to set up your consultation for dental implants.


613 East Grady Street
Statesboro, GA 30458

Phone: 912-764-5435
Fax: 912-764-9789


6 Medical Office Way
Swainsboro, GA 30401

Phone: 478-419-2100
Fax: 478-419-2300