HCDM 24 | Oral Surgeon


Did you know that there are ten specialties within dentistry that you can get board certification in, including ones that can do surgery? The specialization that is probably most affiliated with surgery is that of an oral & maxillofacial surgeon, or simply oral surgeon. Practitioners of this unique specialty handle cases that are beyond the services offered by general dentistry. In this episode, Dr. Richard Marn is joined by one of these oral surgeons to describe to us what that career looks like and how someone can get into it. Dr. Sherrill Fay is a board-certified oral surgeon who runs a successful independent practice in New York City.

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The Surprising Aspects Of An Oral Surgeon’s Job With Sherrill Fay, DMD, MD

In this episode, we’re going to focus on a unique specialty within dentistry. One thing great about receiving a Dental degree is that technically you could start working independently even right after school. It’s different than getting a Medical degree where the overwhelming majority of new graduates from medical school eventually go on to do a residency, which is like an apprenticeship if you will. If you’re one of those dentists that want to specialize in dentistry, there are a handful of specialties that you can specialize in. Do you know how many specialties within dentistry there are that you can get board certification in? There are ten specialties in dentistry where you can become board certified. Did you know there are certain specialties that can do surgery? There are only a handful of dental specialties that do surgery.

Two specialties that come to mind are periodontist and pediatric dentist. The one that is probably most affiliated with surgery within dentistry is that of an oral maxillofacial surgeon or an oral surgeon, as some people call them. In this episode, we’re going to meet one of those oral surgeons. In fact, we’re going to meet an uncommon type of oral surgeon and that is a female oral surgeon. There are not that many of them. If you read this episode, you’re going to learn how few women are relative to men in this profession. That’s one of the things that makes this guest stand out. Not only is our surgeon a woman, but she’s also a physician with an MD degree. She also has a successful practice in downtown Manhattan, which is not easy to do.

My guest also happens to be a wonderful person, a dear friend of mine and someone I’ve been working with for the past few years. My guest on this episode is Dr. Sherrill Fay. She is a board-certified Oral Surgeon in New York City. Dr. Fay initially got an Associate degree in Dental Hygiene from UMDNJ and then eventually got her Dental degree at the UMD of New Jersey. She completed a residency in oral and maxillofacial surgery at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, then received her MD degree at Jefferson Medical College and then follow that with a one-year general surgery internship. In this guest interview with Dr. Fay, you’re going to learn how this specialty, oral surgery, stands out from other dental specialties. Let’s jump into this interview.

Sherrill, thanks for joining me on this episode. I appreciate you joining me.

I’m happy that you invited me. Thank you.

I’m excited to work with you on this as well, as people don’t know that we work together every so often because I help do sedations for some kids and adults sometimes for your practice.

That’s how we first met.

Through a mutual friend, Paul Chiu. Since we’re talking about that, what exactly do you do, Sherrill? What is your job? What responsibilities do you have?

I’m an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, which is a mystery to a lot of people. I am a specialist in dentistry. Truly, we probably have almost the least to do with dentistry of all the dental subspecialties or dental professionals. We’re in a little groove that’s in between dentistry and medicine. The things that we provide are surgical aspects of dentistry. Most often, in a private practice setting, those procedures would include impacted wisdom teeth, placement of dental implants, surgical biopsies for lesions that might be inside of the mouth or about the mouth. In the hospital setting, it’s a little broader where it can be all of the maxillofacial complex, meaning the entire face and bones of the face. Some people call us the orthopedists of the face.

In a hospital setting, you would find us doing things like repairing facial fractures. Sometimes things such as jaw resection and reconstructions for larger areas within the upper and lower jaws and things like that, which might be done in the operating room. Also, orthognathic surgery, which we own that space like maxillofacial surgeons, is when the upper or lower jaw needs to be re-positioned or reset because of how it relates to the face or the lower jaw.

What clinical problems? Do you have to deal with it? You told me a little bit about some of the procedures but what are the problems people have that come to you? For example, why would you have to reset someone’s face?

There can be a mismatch between the upper jaw and the lower jaw. The way that the teeth or jaws should fit together, as far as the upper jaw meeting the lower jaw, you can have a relatively overgrown lower jaw or a relatively undergrown lower jaw. Same thing for the top jaw. It develops into this mismatch where it can cause functional issues as far as chewing, sometimes even with speech and even cosmetic. It can sometimes be a visible deformity where the lower jaw might be overgrown and that person may or may not like how their appearance is. Once the jaw is reset into place, we always try to put it into a functional place but oftentimes, it improves a patient’s physical appearance as well.

To digress a little bit, you said you’re an oral maxillofacial surgeon but other people refer to your profession as oral surgeons or MFS, is that correct?

Yes. Oral surgery is the easy way of describing it because you don’t have to say that big word, maxillofacial, which is more official.

It’s a mouthful, isn’t it?

HCDM 24 | Oral Surgeon

Oral Surgeon: People think about oral surgeons mostly for wisdom teeth and they’re surprised at the other things that they do, especially at the hospital component.


Yes, it is.

A previous guest I had was an orthodontist, he said that his specialty is trying to make the bite correct as an orthodontist? Do you work with other professions within dentistry closely or is a lot of your work to do as a standalone?

Almost all of our cases are in collaboration with another dental professional. Orthodontics especially, that’s where the orthognathic, meaning the jaw surgeries, need to be done hand in hand with the orthodontic specialist as well. Oftentimes, the orthodontist does his or her work first in order to set everything up surgically so that at the time of the surgical procedure, things are put together in the most predictable way. I find it essential to work with the orthodontist for that. With other dental professionals, even the general dentist many times will refer their patients to me for whatever specific procedure they may need. Whether that might be the wisdom teeth or perhaps even a single tooth that’s failing and needs to be removed and then replaced or something that the general dentist found in his or her exam that they want me to evaluate and treat for them.

Would you say that therefore as an oral surgeon, as an OMFS, that your profession does most surgery compared to other dental specialties?

There’s another specialty within dentistry called periodontics. They describe themselves as being a surgical specialty as well. However, as far as the entire maxillofacial complex, which is the entire face and skull, the facial portion of the skull is our territory. It’s a little beyond the mouth and teeth itself.

What does your typical day look like from start to finish?

I’m primarily in private practice. I’m in my private office and the days will typically have a patient schedule certainly. It varies a little bit from day to day. People come and see me usually for a specific reason. Most often, a patient will come in and have a consultation for whatever we may need to be talking about. We will schedule them for their surgical procedure. I’ll usually have a follow-up or a post-operative appointment with them. If you were to come into my office any of the days of the week, you would see some combination of consultations, surgical procedures and follow-up appointments.

I try to be organized and how those things are scheduled through the week because there seem to be certain times that are more popular for doing surgical procedures and other times that are easier to have the initial consultations or the follow-ups, which are more non-surgical procedures. When you looked at the schedule for my day or the week, you would see blocks of time, which would be specific to consultation procedures and then blocks of time that was dedicated to surgical procedures.

What time does your day start? When does your day end when you’re in that office setting?

In my office, we’re basically 9:00 to 5:00. I will say that this is sometimes unusual but this is more of a Manhattan thing than it is in other places of the country. Other surgeons start their surgical days especially their surgical procedures, like 7:00 or 7:30 in their private practice. Manhattan patients don’t want to come in at 7:00 or 7:30. They’d like to come in around 9:00 and that’s when we start. As you know, when we have procedures that involve sedation, which I do very routinely in my practice, we like to schedule those patients earlier in the day. Even with that, I find that Manhattan patients like to come out around 9:00 and even 10:00 and 11:00. That seems to be what works for them. That’s how our schedule is day to day. It is 9:00 to 5:00.

You are also doing procedures and surgery in the hospital setting. How often do you do that? Is that usually something you do in the morning, evenings, weekends?

For elective cases, meaning cases that we’re planning on doing, we have to make that reservation with the hospital and with the operating room. I say it’s often like making a hotel reservation that you have to make sure that that room is going to be open and available for you when you want to do that. That’s usually coordinated. I prefer to have my cases early in the morning, first start as we know because then the likelihood of being delayed is much reduced. For me, doing cases in the hospital, it ebbs and flows. I’ll probably have maybe 2 or 3 cases per month, but sometimes a month will go by and I haven’t had any hospital cases.

This is a little bit different than when I take a call for the hospital, which is oftentimes required in order to maintain your hospital privileges. That means that you have a block of time where you are responsible to work with the residents for any emergencies that may come in for that, for example, a week at a time. Those cases sometimes are done at nights and weekends because they either need to be done in a more urgent fashion or that’s the time that you’re able to get because it’s not so much scheduled ahead of time.

What are the misconceptions people have about your profession?

It’s interesting sometimes I feel like people don’t know what we do at all until they come in and meet with us and see what happens in an oral surgeon’s office. There are general dentists who can do surgical procedures like the more straightforward type of extractions, tube extractions. Some general dentists, if it’s their interest to do so, will educate themselves on how to take out wisdom teeth. People think about us mostly for wisdom teeth but then they’re surprised at the other things that we do, especially at the hospital component. Almost nobody is that familiar with the hospital component of our specialty. I see that both from the dental side and from the medical side. I will meet other medical professionals who don’t have that much of an understanding of some of the bigger surgeries that we do.

Oral surgery sits in the little groove between dentistry and medicine. Click To Tweet

You’re right because my first interaction with an oral surgeon professionally was in the hospital setting and doing procedures there. Are there a number of oral surgeons that do work in a hospital setting primarily? Is that a large part of your profession, a lot of people work in a hospital, or that’s a minor number of people that do that?

It’s a major part. Our residency is all hospital-based. To give you an idea, we go to college and then we go to dental school, which is four years. In order to get into an oral surgery residency, which is additional training after dental school, it’s at least a four-year surgical residency and it’s hospital-based. There is also a component of training where you can get your MD degree as well. I would say probably about 50% of residency programs have an MD component with that too. That means going to medical school. We do usually get advanced standing in medical school. Each program differs a little bit but you usually do about two years or a little over two years in order to complete the medical school requirements. The entire surgical experience, whether or not you have a medical school component, is all hospital-based.

With that being said, most of the major hospitals have an oral surgery training program incorporated, the same way that you would have EMT physicians or emergency room physicians that are in training. Many oral surgeons are full-time academics and will be part of those training programs. I find that for the majority of oral surgeons, you’re mostly either full-time academics or full-time private practice. Most people, when they’re finishing their program, want to do some of both because there are benefits to both and there are fun parts to both. Once the demand starts to come across a little bit more as far as your private practice, then that’s a lot of times where it diverges into one or the other or primarily one with some of the other.

You mentioned some of the fun parts. What is the fun part or rewarding part of your job?

We’re well-trained surgically that it’s hard to give that up. When you finish all of that surgical training, the bigger procedures that we do in the operating room, in the hospital, it’s hard to give that up and go into private practice where you’re doing sometimes what we call tooth procedures. When we’re able to still maintain components of those larger operations, it’s quite satisfying to do that. Sometimes as time goes on and your private practice is becoming busier and you’re spending a lot more time in private practice, there’s a natural progression where you switch over into private practice and you’re doing fewer hospital cases. That’s the fun part, again of being on-call and still being involved in the trauma cases and with the training programs and keeping in touch with the residents. That keeps you in that portion of it, the hospital portion, even though you’re primarily in private practice.

The fun part of private practice is having control over how you run things day to day. You can gravitate towards the cases that you prefer to do. It’s a nicer personal relationship a lot of times with your patients in private practice. You have the opportunity to make a connection with those patients. A lot of times you can make a big difference in their lives honestly, as far as if somebody is having problems with their wisdom teeth and most often, they’re painful or unpleasant some way. You can assist them with that. It makes a difference for them. I find that I enjoy making a personal connection with my patients and having them come back and say that wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I was expecting. I feel like we have the opportunity to assist patients through their procedures. That’s a private practice thing.

Sherrill, is there a particular case or patient that stands out in your mind that maybe you took care of either recently or a while ago that speaks to how you impacted somebody in your career or your profession?

I do think that some of the biggest impacts that we make are with the orthognathic surgery when we move the jaws around and it can be sometimes in ways that you expect and don’t expect. What I mean by that is when you give somebody the job positions where it improves their function, that’s what you would expect then that’s how we approach those cases. In order to put somebody into their best functional position with their jaws, with their teeth, with their jaw joints so that they are functioning the way that most of us do. It definitely has a cosmetic component to it. It’s best described as form follows function. When you put things in the right place, things also appear to be in the right place. A facial appearance a lot of times can improve by improving the functional standpoint of a person.

I had a woman one time that was interested in having the surgery done. It’s a big surgery, I will say. It sometimes is 6 to 8 hours in the operating room. It sometimes requires 1 to 2 nights of hospital stay afterward. There’s a lot that goes into it ahead of time, along with orthodontics and even after so this is one of the bigger things that we do. She hadn’t told many of her co-workers what she was up to. After everything was said and done, she went back to work afterward. She had about 2 to 3 weeks off. When she went back to work, they couldn’t figure out what looked different about her. They kept saying, “Did you get your hair cut?” She’s like, “No.” “Did you get a nose job?” She’s like, “No, I didn’t get a nose job.” They couldn’t pinpoint what it was but they knew that there was something that looked improved about her. I thought that was such a great compliment because I always want that appearance to come out looking very natural. For her, it was and it was subtle. There are many follow-up appointments with that type of procedure.

What surgery was it?

This was double jaw surgery. This was top and lower jaw surgery. It was orthognathic surgery for both the upper and lower jaw. When she came in, she said, “I wanted to tell you, Dr. Fay, how happy I am with my outcome. After all this time, I finally look like my twin brother,” which I hadn’t even realized was anything in her list of perceived problems. She had started off with a prominent lower jaw. Once her facial balance was restored, she could see the facial features that looked similar to her twin brother. That was significant to me to hear that feedback coming back from her. That was one of the more memorable things that I’ve had in my career with a big surgery.

On a smaller scale, it is helping patients get through their procedure within the private practice. As I said, I feel happy when people come back and tell me, “That wasn’t at all as difficult as I thought it would be, or “I was over this much quicker than I anticipated,” or “My friends told me this was going to be the worst thing and it wasn’t.” Some of that, it’s case by case. Some cases can be super smooth and some cases will require some extra time and effort. I also think that setting expectations is also what helps quite a bit.

How would you describe the work-life balance for your profession?

Doing what you do as far as your profession is one part of it. Running a private practice is also a part of what needs to be considered when talking about work-life balance. When I was in the first few years of my private practice, it was all private practice. It required a lot of time, energy and effort. At some point, I had a little discussion with myself about how we can make a better work-life balance, especially living here in Manhattan. There were many things to take advantage of and to get involved with. I did at one point rethink my schedule day to day and how to limit my day each day so that I would have the opportunity to partake in activities that would be non-work related. Not going out and meeting with other dental colleagues but going to the ballet or going to the gym or joining an exercise class or things like that are readily available to us especially here in Manhattan. Initially, I was focused on getting my practice up and running. At some point, it’s important to make sure that you do have that work-life balance and it’s possible. You have to make it so.

Do you recommend this career to other students?

HCDM 24 | Oral Surgeon

Oral Surgeon: At some point, it’s important to make sure that you do have that work-life balance and it’s possible. You have to make it so.


Yes. I think it’s a great career if it’s something that you’re interested in. This isn’t for everybody. Even in medicine, when you’re in medical school and you’re with all the medical students in the class and how people filter into different aspects of medicine. Whether it’s surgical, non-surgical, patient-oriented, non-patient oriented, super intense, less intense, all of those things, there’s something for everybody, when you look in the world of medicine and even dentistry. It’s a great profession. It’s something that puts you at the higher tier within dentistry.

What do you mean by higher tier?

We have the most education out of anybody in dentistry especially postgraduate. We sometimes are the go-to person within dentistry. Things filter to us by default at some point because we have to figure it out. It’s not that you don’t learn medicine in dentistry but we learn medicine beyond dental school. We are at the upper tier of dentistry itself. That’s enjoyable and it’s rewarding. There’s a lot to offer if it’s something within a person’s interest.

What is your future outlook like for your profession?

It’s great. As long as we have wisdom teeth, we’re going to be in good shape. Wisdom teeth, there are definitely evolutionary changes that are happening to wisdom teeth and we see this every day. Wisdom teeth can be in all different varieties. A lot of wisdom teeth don’t come in straight. They can be completely sideways or they can be at a 45-degree angle. That’s how I meet most of my patients, honestly. Sometimes patients ask me, “Do wisdom teeth ever come in straight?” I say I guess they could. I don’t meet them as often.” Wisdom teeth, in terms of evolution, are on their way out. It’s going to be some time before they’re completely gone.

Another interesting thing about wisdom teeth is that most human patients have four wisdom teeth but again, they don’t follow the rules all the way these days. Some people have less than four wisdom teeth and some people can have more than four wisdom teeth. All of those variations are part of the evolutionary process of wisdom teeth, not being as useful as they used to be. As a profession, there’s a lot to look forward to. Wisdom teeth are going to be there for a long time. We’ll have those to rely on. The way that we replace missing teeth now has evolved. It used to be that when a tooth was taken out and needed to be replaced, the dentist would sometimes make a bridge, which is a series of caps to fill that space. Now we’re routinely placing dental implants and placing the implant definitely falls under the surgical portion of what we do. Making the crown on top is a lot of times with the general dentist but there’s a collaboration with that too. Even technology is continuing to improve and evolve as we get more research and information together.

You talked about it before briefly about how you had to go through a certain number of years of schooling to get your own surgery degree. Before we even get into those details about your journey through that, were you planning on being an oral surgeon when you were younger?

Not even. When I was graduating high school, if anyone told me that I would be an oral surgeon or that I would even have gone to dental school, let alone dental and medical school, I would have said, “You may have the wrong person.”


I didn’t know that that was going to be the case. I was taking college courses, generic, the usual things.

Why did you not think that?

I had no idea that I was even in the running for something like that. I didn’t have any frame of reference for what it was.

You had no dentist or medical people in your family?

Not one.

Where would you rank yourself as a bright student?

The fun part of private practice is having control over how you run things day to day. Click To Tweet

I didn’t know how smart I was. I don’t know how to say that. I don’t think I knew that I had the ability to get a doctorate. I wasn’t aware. I did well in school. I had good grades.

What was your aspiration then as a high school student?

It was unclear. I started taking classes, generic things as far as English Comp 1 and Comp 2 and things like that. In the meantime, I took a part-time job in a dental office. I started off as a dental assistant. I was assisting the dentist and I was trained on the job and I was chairside with the dentist who I’m still good friends with. From there, I saw what the dental hygienists were doing in the office and I thought that the atmosphere was nice. I thought this was great. I talked to the dental hygienists and I went to dental hygiene school from there.

You’re in dental hygiene now as a profession.

I thought that was great. I was like, “This is a nice profession.” It still is. I still think it’s a great profession. However, when I was in dental hygiene school, in the dental school building and I met the dental students, I quickly came to the realization that I can do this.

Being a dentist?

Yes. After I finished my hygiene school, from there I finished the prerequisites that I needed and applied to dental school. I went to dental school from there.

Did you ever work as a hygienist then or not really?

I did. It was brief but I did because I worked while I was taking my prerequisites to get in. Even when I first started in dental school, I would work on weekends as a hygienist. It was helpful to do that.

You were awesome. You were busting your butt because being a dental school graduate school is demanding and you’re working on top of that on weekends.

It was not easy to keep it up but I felt like it kept me also connected a little bit. I tried to work as much as I could on the side. I thought going to dental school would be great. I thought it did a good thing for me. After dental school, I did a one-year general practice residency, which is doing hospital-based dentistry. This is where it happened. As part of the hospital residency, the oral surgeons that were there, you had to rotate through with the oral surgeons as well, the oral surgery residents, I should say, the oral surgery department. I went into the operating room on what I saw what they were doing there. I was blown away.

I was interested in what they were doing as far as the facial fractures and the orthognathic that they were doing that I started asking myself, “How can I get into this? How can I do this?” It went from there. It was my interest to find out more and I did. I got myself into an oral surgery residency program. For me, it was step by step. I certainly met people. When I got into my dental school class, I met people who from day one said, “I’m going to be an oral surgeon.” That definitely wasn’t my experience. I also feel like I was super fortunate to be able to have the opportunity to get myself into that position.

It’s great that people realize that you don’t have to decide your end profession or you’re proficient that you’re working and until after you graduate from maybe graduate school. In your case, you graduate from dental school and then you still weren’t set on being an oral surgeon. There’s only a year after that. It’s important.

I sometimes tell people that work with me in similar ways is you sometimes need to see what’s there, what opportunities are presented to you that you don’t have to know right off the bat or from the day that you graduate high school. That’s why back to the same thing that I said before. When I graduated high school, if you told me where I’m going to be after college, I didn’t even know I was going to go beyond college at that point. I didn’t have the frame of reference or the way of knowing what was available. I feel, again, very fortunate to have had that pathway. Would I have done anything differently coming up that way? I probably could have gotten myself there a little quicker. I probably could have saved a couple of years because it is a long road.

You have your college years, you have four years of dental school. You have a 4 or 6-year residency program for oral surgery. I also did a year of general surgery as well so that I would be qualified as having a medical license, which is state by state. When you add it all up, it can seem like a bigger number. I probably could have gotten there more quickly had I known at the beginning but I didn’t. I don’t know that I would have done anything differently, except for I could have maybe saved a couple of years.

HCDM 24 | Oral Surgeon

Oral Surgeon: You sometimes need to see what opportunities are presented to you that you don’t have to know right off the bat or from the day that you graduate high school.


I want to talk briefly about that because as a dentist, after you got your Dental degree, at one point you decide to get an MD degree during your oral surgery training. That’s one thing I learned about when I was talking with some oral surgeons. This was years ago. Some of them have an MD degree. I’m like, “You’re a dentist. What do you mean you got an MD degree as well?” This is the only profession I know of in dentistry, after your dental degree and only for oral surgeons, you can get an MD degree in that Oral Surgery program. How did that work out? You’re in oral surgery, you’re doing that oral surgery residency? You then say I want to get an MD degree as well. I remember you said 50% end up getting that. You’re not required to so how does this work out from a training standpoint?

For the most part, it’s program by program. When you’re deciding to apply for oral surgery, you should probably know at that point if you’re interested in the single-degree program, which is four years or the double degree program, which is going to be 6 or 7 years. It’s usually program by program. You can apply to this residency program knowing that there’s an MD component already offered, it’s a longer program. You can go to a straight four-year program where you’re going to get all of your oral surgery training, all the surgical training but you’re not going to have an MD and you may not have the opportunity for that. For me, I didn’t fit in either of those boxes because when I went to my program, it was a traditional four-year program but it had an MD option after your four years were done. You had to be recommended by the chairman of the program in order to be allowed for that MD option. I will say that now the program that I graduated from has a six-year program well in place but when I started, it didn’t.

When I finished my four years, I thought, “I think I’m good. I’ll try to find a job now.” I went out on some job interviews, even though my program director at the time was encouraging me, “Sherrill, you should go to medical school.” After I went on a few job interviews, I was a little unsure whether I wanted to be, again, straight in private practice because I had done surgical training. I went on some job interviews and then I went back to my program director and I said, “I do think that I would be interested in going to medical school.” This isn’t the normal way of getting into medical school at all. He put that connection together. From there, I went to two years of medical school having already finished my surgical residency.

You finished your dental school, you’re almost at the end or at the end of your oral surgery training. Why get the MD degree? What’s the purpose? What’s the point? You’re a doctor already.

You’re right. Who would do that? It sounds crazy. There were two parts to it. The one was that I was a little disappointed in the job opportunities that I was getting. They were private practice-based. They didn’t want you going to the operating room. They wanted somebody in the office working, producing and that sort of thing. When I was asking these potential employers, “Are you guys doing any hospital cases?” “No, we’re doing straight, bread and butter oral surgery.” I felt like I wasn’t ready to do only that. I wanted to still be able to use my surgical skills. The other thing, quite honestly, is that there’s not a lot of women in oral surgery. It’s getting better. It continues to get better.

That was my future question. How many women are in oral surgery? For every one woman, how many are there that’s a male oral surgeon?

Out of 100 oral surgeons, you’ll have 10 to 12 women. In any surgical specialty, they sometimes tend to be male-dominated. I thought if I want to have everything and feel like I’ve put myself at the top of my training, it would be to my benefit to have my MD degree as well. That’s also why I did a year of general surgery too. I wanted to be able to have everything that I needed to say I’ve got everything. I’m not going to fall short of anybody’s estimations or expectations. I do think that that was definitely a part of my decision-making at that point, being able to have everything as far as credentialing that I wouldn’t have to answer any questions going forward about a new portion of training that I may or may not have.

What does the MD degree allow you to do as an oral surgeon that you wouldn’t otherwise get to do if you had the DDS?

That’s a good question. For the most part, it doesn’t change you that much because your surgical skills come from your surgical residency, whether you’re an MD or not. I will say the MD training has made me a better surgeon. I have a much better understanding of my patients at a higher surgical level. It’s not to say that you can’t get that by your surgical residency but it’s different. There are some states and this goes state by state because licensing in dentistry and medicine is state by state. There are some states where there are certain procedures that you’re not allowed to do unless you have an MD degree also. Those are things like hip grafts like we take bone from the hip if we need to take bone from someplace to bring it into the jaw somewhere. Some states will only allow you to do that if you have an MD degree, but mostly there’s not that much that differentiates you in terms of procedure that you’re allowed to do anything more or less with MD or without.

I want to shift gears a little bit to a more lighthearted portion that I like to call Marn’s Lightning Round. It’s shorter answers. If there’s a story, I want to hear it. Would you rather be able to speak every language in the world or be able to talk to animals?

I’d rather speak every language in the world.

Favorite sport to watch?


Favorite junk food?

I have a hard time saying this out loud but I guess I will. Doritos.

As long as people get wisdom teeth, oral surgery is going to be in good shape as a career. Click To Tweet

What is your absolute number one biggest pet peeve?

Horns honking in New York City.

Would you rather cuddle with a baby panda or a baby penguin?

Do I have to choose? A baby panda. Penguins are small. They’re like a stick of butter. Maybe a penguin is better.

If you were hungry, would you eat a bug?


What if I told you it’s a certain type of bug?

I might have a different answer.

Did you ever believe in Santa Claus?

I believe in Santa Claus.

Say something cool.

That’s going to stop me.

Finally, if you were stranded on a tropical island, what two things would you want with you?

I would want ice cream and a tent.

I had to think about that one for a bit. That’s your answer. Thank you. Sherrill, if readers want to reach out to you and learn more about you, where would they go?

HCDM 24 | Oral Surgeon

Oral Surgeon: Out of 100 oral surgeons, you’ll have 10 to 12 women. Like any surgical specialty, it tends to be male-dominated.


Probably the easiest to contact me is through the practice, which is either the website TribecaOralSurgery.com or our email which is TribecaOralSurgery@Gmail.com.

Sherrill, thank you for joining me. I appreciate it. If people read this, you’re going to learn a lot about oral surgery, what it does and how it impacts other people’s lives. Thank you.

Thank you for having me.

That’s our show. Thanks for reading. To learn more about guests or other past guests, check out my website HealthCareersWithDrMarn.com or HCWithDrMarn.com. If you like what you read then please go to my website. Add your name and email to my email list. That way, you can get the latest announcements and news as they arise. You can also find me on Instagram at @DrRichardMarn. Thank you for reading and I’ll catch you in the next episode.

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About Dr. Sherrill Fay

HCDM 24 | Oral SurgeonDr. Fay received her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from New Jersey Dental School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark, New Jersey. Following her doctoral training, Dr. Fay completed a one year general practice residency at Jersey City Medical Center. It was her experience here that inspired her to pursue advanced education in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

Dr. Fay completed four years of surgical residency training in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During residency, Dr. Fay received extensive training in dental extractions, orthodontic surgical procedures, orthognathic surgery, complex maxillofacial trauma and reconstruction, placement of dental implants, surgical management of sleep apnea, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) surgery, anesthesia, maxillofacial pathology, and pre-prosthetic surgery including bone grafting.

She then attended Jefferson Medical College, and upon graduation earned an MD degree. This was followed by an internship in general surgery, also at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.