1 Why and how you should read this book
Surgery is a very practical subject and requires ‘hands-on’ experience to develop the skills required to practise it successfully. However, it also requires extensive theoretical knowledge to back up the manual skills. This makes it possible for surgeons to:
This book is directed at dentists in training. It should provide you with a basic theory background to assist you in developing your skills, point you towards further reading and stimulate your desire to read more deeply. It is not expected that you will merely ‘cram’ your way through it, regard yourself as trained and launch immediately into major surgery.
You may have certain expectations of a textbook. Does this text give answers to exam questions? Yes, we hope it will help you to pass any dental school exams in oral surgery; yes, we hope it will help you pass your finals; yes, we hope it will help if you are preparing for postgraduate exams. But no, these are not the reasons we have written the book. It has been produced with the intent of developing particular abilities which will make you a more competent dentist. If you are looking for a magical key that you can use to unlock the hardened hearts of your examiners without having to develop an understanding of your subject, this book is probably not for you.
Because the book is firmly directed at developing skills, chapters start with lists of objectives that we attempt to address within the chapter. Each of these objectives has direct relevance to the work a young practitioner may be expected to undertake. We have not stipulated a precise career level at which this book would become important, nor when it would cease to be of value, partly because undergraduate courses will continue to vary in the timing of various components and partly because the skills required to practise in either a primary care or a hospital setting vary from practice to practice and over a period of time.
Should you read the chapters in the order they are presented? No, not necessarily. We have tended to put toward the beginning of the book those subjects often taught early in an oral surgery course, but the chapters are independent of each other and can be read in any order. However, the beginning of each chapter contains a brief statement of the assumed knowledge that you should have before reading the chapter. The ‘assumption’ is ours, but if you do not have a command of the stated areas you will gain far less from that chapter. It is in your interest to develop your skills in a sensible and logical order, recognizing areas of weakness (even if they h/>