What are oral and maxillofacial surgeons?
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are highly skilled specialists, dually qualified in medicine and dentistry to deal with complex issues of the mouth, teeth, jaw, head and neck as well as its surrounding soft tissues. It is a very long academic road and requires not only qualifying in medicine and dentistry but many years in the hospital system working their way up to consultant level. Sometimes called oral and maxillofacial surgeons, these specialists have intensive training in medical, dental, surgical, and clinical aspects of patient care that allow them to perform the most complex of surgeries and reconstructions and more routine procedures such as wisdom teeth extractions.
What problems do oral and maxillofacial surgeons specialize in?
As a dually qualified specialist, oral and maxillofacial surgeons are able to perform medical and dental treatments or operations that involve both faculties. They operate largely out of hospitals as anesthetists and special medical back up is required for most of their procedures though some also work out of private offices and treatment rooms. Conditions they treat include but are not limited to:
- Head and neck cancers
- Salivary gland disease
- Facial pain
- TMJ disorder
- Impacted teeth (largely impacted wisdom teeth or canine teeth)
- Jaw cysts
- Jaw tumors
- Oral pathology
- Mouth infections
- Misaligned jaws
- Facial injuries
- Tooth extractions
- Craniofacial abnormalities
- Aesthetic problems with the face
- Facial deformities
- Facial defects
- Sleep apnea
What treatments do oral and maxillofacial surgeons specialize in?
Intensive training and extensive experience allow oral and maxillofacial surgeons to perform a vast selection of complex and advanced treatments, these include but are not limited to:
- Orthognathic surgery – treatment of jaw misalignment in conjunction with an orthodontist.
- Craniofacial surgery – treatment of facial deformities
- Cleft lip and palate surgery
- Dento-alveolar surgery – treatment of teeth, jaws, and salivary glands
- Oral medicine – treatment of problems in cervico-facial structures
- Facial cosmetic surgery
- Skull base surgery
- Oro-facial reconstruction – includes congenital, developmental, post-treatment, or problems caused by aging
- Craniofacial trauma surgery – includes head, neck, and face. Any broken jaws, eye sockets, cheek bones etc.
- TMJ surgery – treatment of joint and bone disorders, as well as TMJ tumors
- Dental implant surgery
- Bone replacement and grafting
- Wisdom teeth management
- Dental implant surgery
- Pre-prosthetic surgery
- Oral surgery
- Bone grafting
- Tumor/cancer surgery
- Snoring and sleep apnea corrective surgery
Note. GA or IV sedation is often required. It is also important to note that it is common for oral and maxillofacial surgeons to work alongside other specialists in various fields when administering treatments because of the complexity of the problems that they are dealing with.