Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Oral and Maxillofacial surgery is one of the major specialties in dentistry, which deals with a broad range of treating diseases, defects, injuries and abnormalities within the mouth and the maxillofacial region – mainly the entire head and neck.
Oral surgeons are those dental specialists who perform minor to extensive surgeries in this cranio-facial region, to correct and treat these diseases and abnormalities.
What conditions require Oral Surgery?
Surgery will usually be needed for improving the function of the mouth and oral structures, or to correct the improper placement of jaws and other defects. Oral surgery can also be done to improve esthetics if a patient desires cosmetic enhancement.
Oral surgery includes correcting and performing the following:
- Extraction of impacted teeth
- Removal of teeth for orthodontic treatment
- Bone grafting, to provide more bone available for placing dental implants
- Fixing congenital cranio-facial malformations (such as cleft lip and palate, craniosystosis)
- Treating facial pain disorder
- Treating Temporo-mandibular Joint (TMJ) disorder
- Orthognathic surgery for correcting incorrect bites and over-protruding jaws (known as ‘dysgnathia’ and ‘orthognathia’)
- Reconstructive surgery of the face for correcting asymmetrical facial profiles
- Maxillomandibular enhancement
- Treatment of benign growths such as tumors, cysts
- Treatment of malignant pathologies such as oral, head and neck cancer through ablative and microsurgery
- Treatment of cutaneous and subcutaneous malignancies such as skin cancer, lip cancer and reconstruction of the same
What can Oral Surgeons do?
Oral surgeons are the dental specialists to go to when you have a primary concern of treating functional and structural concerns of your head and neck region. They can perform a great deal of procedures, already mentioned above, and possess the following skills in addition:
- Administer local and general anesthesia (for which they are qualified and certified)
- Administer sedatives, including IV sedation
- Surgically extract impacted and difficult to remove teeth
- Place dental implants and prosthesis
- Treat and reconstruct damage done by facial trauma, be it a cut on the face to a fractured jaw and severed nerve
- Take surgical samples for diagnostic tests, such as biopsies and aspirations, for benign and malignant conditions such a cysts, tumors and other growths within the mouth and head and neck region
- Diagnose and treat facial pain
- Perform minor to complex surgeries, such as skeletal and jaw reconstruction
- Perform surgeries to treat Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), such as
- Uvuloplasty or uvulopalatopharyngoplasty - partial removal of the uvula to shorten and tighten the soft palate to prevent it collapsing while sleeping
- Genioglossus advancement – tightens the tongue tendon, preventing tongue displacement into the throat and creating a clear breathing passage
- Mandibular advancement – moving both jaws forward to make more airway space
- Perform cosmetic procedures such as:
- Botox injections
- Rhytodectom (facelift)
- Brow and forehead lifts
- Cheekbone (malar) augmentation
- Genioplasty (chin surgery)
- Otoplasty (ear surgery)
- Rhinoplasty (nose reconstruction)
- Neck and facial liposuction
- Lip enhancement
Oral surgeons are highly qualified for all the above mentioned procedures, as they undergo additional medical training after completing their dental education. They may also work in collaboration with prosthodontists, plastic and cosmetic surgeons to achieve optimal results.