Oral maxillofacial surgery is the dental specialty that handles the underlying conditions, diseases, defects and injuries causing and/or contributing to functional and esthetic problems in the mouth, teeth, jaws and face. Closely linked to oral maxillofacial surgery, oral maxillofacial pathology focuses on diagnosing and understanding the essence of diseases and abnormal conditions (pathology) from the oral and facial region.
Treatments and procedures performed by oral maxillofacial surgeons address many different conditions and diseases of the mouth, jaw, teeth and face. These include:
Oral maxillofacial surgeons are the dental surgical specialists whose scope of practice includes outpatient anesthesia, dentoalveolar surgery to handle diseases of the teeth and supporting soft and hard tissue, surgical correction of maxillofacial skeletal deformities, cleft and craniofacial surgery, facial cosmetic injury surgery, facial cosmetic surgery, and TMJ surgery.
An oral maxillofacial surgeon is a graduate of an accredited four-year dental school that has completed an additional four to six years of training through a licensed, hospital-based oral and maxillofacial surgery residency program. During this profession, oral maxillofacial surgeons train together with medical residents in medical specialty areas, such as internal medicine, general surgery, otolaryngology (division of medicine/surgery specializing in the ear, nose and throat), plastic surgery and emergency medicine. Coaching prepares them to perform a variety of processes necessary for assessing, treating and handling conditions, defects and injuries of the mouth, jaws, teeth and face.
TMJ treatment ranges from conservative dental and medical care to complex surgery. Based upon the diagnosis, therapy may include short-term non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs for pain, and muscle relaxants, bite plate or splint therapy, and counselling for stress control.
Surgery may be necessary in case non-surgical treatment is ineffective or if there is definite joint damage. Surgery may involve arthroscopy (procedure identical to the orthopedic procedures utilized to inspect and treat bigger joints such as the knee) or repair of tissue that is damaged by a direct surgical procedure.
Dental implants offer a more permanent solution to missing teeth, preventing the cosmetic and functional issues of bone loss and traditional options, such as fixed bridges and removable dentures. The oral maxillofacial surgeon that puts the implants consults with the patient and the restorative dentist that makes the crowns to the implants to ensure a collaborative treatment plan. After an evaluation that includes an extensive examination, X-rays along with a consultation with the patient and other members of the implant group, the oral maxillofacial surgeon places the implant(s).
When there is insufficient bone at the suggested site for implant, the oral maxillofacial surgeon first may graft bone from other body regions into the enhancement site. If the implants have stabilized from the jaw, the restorative dentist prepares an impression of the upper/lower jaws, which is utilized to make the model for those crowns. After the implants and implants have been put, the oral maxillofacial surgeon and restorative dentist continue cooperating through followup assessments.
While an orthodontic approach usually can correct bite (occlusion) problems when only the teeth are misaligned, oral maxillofacial surgeons perform corrective jaw surgery to correct minor and major skeletal and dental irregularities, including misalignment of the teeth and jaws. The oral maxillofacial surgeon works with your dentist and orthodontist to find out whether you’re a candidate for corrective jaw surgery. Surgery is meant to enhance a patient’s ability to chew, speak and breathe. Although surgery may produce esthetic advantages, oral maxillofacial surgeons frequently do this surgical procedure to correct functional problems. The oral maxillofacial surgeon decides which corrective jaw surgical procedure is appropriate and performs the real surgery. It’s important to comprehend that your treatment, which will probably include orthodontics prior to and following surgery, may take several years to complete and will involve a collaborative strategy between your oral maxillofacial surgeon and other members of your dental/medical team.
Pathological oral maxillofacial conditions that may benefit from corrective jaw surgery include:
Depending on the process, corrective jaw surgery might be performed under general anesthesia at a hospital, ambulatory surgical center or in the oral maxillofacial surgery office. Surgery may take from one to a few hours.
Sometimes, bone may be added, removed or reshaped. Surgical plates, screws, wires and rubber bands could be used to hold the jaws in their new positions. Incisions usually are made inside the mouth area to decrease visible scarring. After surgery, the oral maxillofacial surgeon will recommend a modified diet, which may consist of liquids and soft solids, prior to transitioning to a normal diet.
Oral maxillofacial surgeons treat injuries and fractures of the upper and lower limbs, palate, cheekbones, eye sockets or a mix of them. Especially dangerous in comparison to other hard tissue fractures, injuries to the oral maxillofacial region — typically due to some type of accident or act of violence — may affect sight, speech, swallowing and breathing.
Cosmetic Dentistry surgeons may make incisions to expose the bone, use small screws and fixation appliances, or require the mouth to be wired or rubber-banded together to get a healing period of six or more weeks. They’ll put patients on a liquid/puree diet and give instructions for continuing aftercare.
When maxillofacial fractures are complex or extensive, an oral maxillofacial surgeon might want to make numerous incisions to expose the bones and also utilize a combination of wiring or plating methods. The repositioning technique utilized by the oral maxillofacial surgeon will depend on the location and severity of the fracture. By way of instance, in the case of a break in the upper or lower jaw, metal braces may be fastened to the teeth and rubber bands or wires used to hold the jaws collectively. Patients with few or no teeth may require dentures or splints to align and secure the fracture. Patients who sustain facial fractures might also have other medical problems. The oral maxillofacial surgeon is trained to coordinate his or her treatment with that of other physicians.
Cosmetic Dentistry surgeons are specially qualified to perform cosmetic surgeries to correct physiological malformations of maxillofacial region resulting from aging, disease, harm and birth defects. Involving the cosmetic and functional aspects of the face, mouth, teeth and jaws, minimally invasive procedures can be performed in the office using local and/or intravenous anesthesia; additional processes may require outpatient or same-day operation at a hospital or surgery center. Cosmetic Dentistry surgeons also are equipped to provide facial cosmetic procedures in an outpatient basis from their clinic office using IV sedation, or local or general anesthesia.
Common cosmetic processes that oral maxillofacial surgeons are qualified to perform include:
Additionally, oral maxillofacial surgeons can perform techniques like Botox injections, chemical peels, dermabrasion, collagen injections and lasers to treat skin that is wrinkled or damaged. The scope of the facial cosmetic procedures performed is based on the oral maxillofacial sugeon. Many oral maxillofacial surgeons work in conjunction with a plastic surgeon to attain optimal outcomes.
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