Choosing Your Surgeon

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is a unique surgical specialty in that it  involves both dental and medical surgical treatments. This field diagnoses and treats diseases, deformities, injuries and cosmetic defects of the facial and oral region. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons (OMFS) are considered the “orthopedic and plastic and reconstructive surgeons of the Maxillofacial region” (The term “ Maxillofacial” literally means “ jaws and face”).  Dr. Matouk, Dr. Sperling, and Dr. Guevara are all Board-certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons who practice the full scope of oral and maxillofacial surgery.

Over the past ten years, the training of contemporary OMFS has changed dramatically in response to medical and dental healthcare advancements. The training begins after completion of dental school and may include a hospital based internship as a prerequisite. Completion of an OMFS residency requires up to 6 years of hospital based training focusing solely on the maxillofacial region. It includes extensive training on traditional oral surgery as well as facial surgical training. It also includes medical training and rotations such as anesthesia, critical care medicine, emergency room, internal medicine, general surgery, pediatric surgery. OMFS residents also receive training in the administration of out-patient anesthesia and are required to administer hundreds of anesthetics during their residency training.

While it is not required for the practice of OMFS, Dr. Matouk and Dr. Guevara have chosen to also obtain a Medical degree and undergo licensing by both the Medical and Dental Boards. This broader training enhances patient care, especially in complicated cases.
Many of the procedures performed are in an office ambulatory surgical setting. These procedures include the removal of teeth, management of oral and facial pathology, laser surgery to manage snoring, surgical aspects of dental implants, regeneration of deficient bone and gum tissues around teeth and implants and cosmetic periodontal surgery to enhance gum tissue contours and beautify a patient’s smile. They also include basic cosmetic procedures such as chin and cheek-bone enhancements , the reshaping of noses and lids, minor facial rejuvenation procedures including the use of botox and laser technology to reduce facial wrinkles.

The remainder of oral and maxillofacial surgical procedures are performed in the hospital. These procedures include corrective jaw surgery to treat jaw growth problems which can affect both the function and appearance of the oral and facial area, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) surgery, treatment of complicated facial injuries and fractures, reconstruction of jaw or facial regions resulting from trauma or pathology, management of craniofacial and cleft lip and palate deformities, and treatment of tumors of the jaw and face.

Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon has extensive hospital based training in the delivery of inpatient and outpatient general anesthesia and intravenous sedation. OMFS is a unique specialty in that Anesthesia and Sedation are delivered daily to our patients under the care of the surgeon.  Almost no other medical or dental specialty performs a comparable number of anesthesia and sedation procedures except the specialty of Anesthesia itself.  That is why other specialties may require the help of an anesthesia specialist to perform their sedations.  Our staff is trained in assisting with surgery and anesthesia under the guidelines of the AAOMS within our state of the art office setting. Patients are continuously monitored during and after surgery. In addition, general anesthesia, IV sedation, nitrous oxide and local anesthetic techniques are available within our facility as well as in the hospital.  General anesthesia and sedation are however not taken lightly, in select medical situations, our doctors may decide that it is in your best interest to have an Anesthesia specialist dedicated to your care or to have the procedure performed in the hospital. 

Frequently asked questions about the choice of a surgeon:

Is this doctor a licensed practitioner?

This is the minimal requirement of any doctor that will be treating you.  Placing the letters DDS, DMD, DO or MD after one’s name only indicates the degree obtained during training and does not guarantee licensure, as the training may be from a different country where the criteriae are not the same. 

To be licensed, a doctor needs to satisfy rigorous ethical, continuing education and safety standards.  Dr. Matouk is licensed by both the Medical and Dental boards of the Florida Department of Health.

For patient protection, the Florida department of health website maintains a search engine where license status can be verified.

Is the doctor Board-Certified?

Choosing a Board-certified maxillofacial surgeon is to your advantage because these specialists have demonstrated a commitment to treating conditions of the face, head, and neck.

Board certification is often the first question by patients.  However, one needs to be careful as to what type of entity allots the certificate.  Some dental implant or cosmetic boards are easy to obtain and have lesser standards.

Simple dental implants can be performed by any dentist or periodontist if they are trained since dental implantology itself is not a specialty but a field of study.  Board certification in a specific surgical specialty such as Oral and maxillofacial surgery shows that the surgeon underwent specialized training and testing.

And while many other specialists are trained to perform facial surgery (ENT, Dermatology, Ophthalmology, Plastic and general surgery),each one of these specialties has a “Board” that is dedicated mostly to their graduates (such as The American Board for Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery which is for ENT and Plastic surgeons). 

It is important that you know your surgeon’s expertise in your specific procedure, not just his or her degree.  All of our doctors are Board-Certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.  This requires a rigorous training and certification process.

Does the doctor belong to organizations?

Many organizations are just study clubs with minimal criteriae to join.  The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) has specific training requirements and enforces ethical practices.  Dr. Matouk, Dr. Sperling and Dr. Guevara are all Fellows of AAOMS and members of many other organizations, including the Florida Cleft and Craniofacial Association, the American Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Association and the American College of Surgeons.

Is OMFS the right specialist for my specific case?

Once you have made the decision to undergo maxillofacial surgery, you should give serious thought to choosing your surgeon. Your face and smile are unique and are a vital part of your personal identity. When you place your body into your surgeon’s hands, it should be because you trust your surgeon. Maxillofacial Surgeons concentrate on the complex three-dimensional anatomy and physiology of all the organs and structures of the face and jaw. This provides the surgeon a uniquely focused perspective on the anatomical region being treated. By focusing on the entire face, a specialized level of care is delivered to you.

Minor oral surgery is performed by many specialists, but there is no question that OMFS is the main specialty with the breadth to routinely manage complex grafting around vital structures such as nerves and sinuses, followed by the surgical placement of cosmetic dental implants.  In fact, for a long time, OMFS was the only specialty allowed to place Dental Implants by the companies that produced them.

As for Corrective Facial Surgery and Facial Cosmetic Surgery, OMFS is routinely the primary medical or dental specialty that performs bony facial reshaping as well as temporomandibular joint surgery, requiring surgical experience deep in the face and not just skin deep.  OMFS is a highly specialized field dedicated solely to oral and facial surgery.  

Is the doctor current on the latest surgical techniques?

Continuing education has become a requirement for modern procedures, as newer approaches and modifications are being developed every day.  Our doctors do not only participate in continuing education programs around the world every year, they also teach cutting edge techniques to their colleagues locally and nationally.

Can we see the results obtained in other patients?

Our doctors maintain a large set of before and after pictures of patients which they would be happy to share with you. They even encourage you to contact prior patients yourself so that you can question them about their experiences.  Please feel comfortable to ask about this, and of course we would appreciate adding you to our patient-list to be contacted after your own procedure.

Is my doctor credentialed to perform surgery in the hospital?

Even if your procedure will be performed in the office, it is important to find out if your surgeon is also credentialed to perform hospital surgery in case complications arise and the patient needs to be transferred there.  Our doctors are credentialed to perform Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in multiple local hospitals.

Can I become comfortable with this doctor?

Communicating your wishes and understanding what your surgeon will do for you is absolutely essential. You should be able to establish a good rapport with your surgeon and have all your questions answered. Learn your surgeon’s philosophy regarding surgical goals and outcome. One important goal should be to combine good function with natural features, thereby improving your appearance and minimizing abnormalities. In addition, he/she should be able to achieve improvement through surgery, but without obvious physical evidence that surgery was performed.

You should bear in mind, however, that a maxillofacial surgeon is a highly trained, skilled and artistic physician, not a miracle worker. The degree of success depends not only on his technical skills and analysis, but also upon the limitations inherent in each patient’s type of soft tissue, bone structure, and healing capacities.   Therefore you should also discuss with your doctor what would be done if the results do not match your expectations.

Ultimately, the decision to undergo surgery is a personal one.  Our doctors understand this and have designed this website to help with your decision.  Of course, intimate comfort will only be reached once you come in and discuss your own situation with us. We welcome your questions and appreciate your visit.  Feel free to call our office with any questions that may help you in your decision.