What is Maxillofacial Surgery?

What is Maxillofacial Surgery?

Maxillofacial surgery is an operation performed by a highly trained dental surgeon. A variety of maxillofacial procedures can treat diseases, fix injuries or correct defects in your face, jaw, or mouth. As with any operation, this surgery has certain risks. But the procedures help many reduce pain, fix deformities and restore function.

What is maxillofacial surgery?

Maxillofacial surgery is a special type of dentistry. It involves operations to correct diseases, injuries and defects in your face, jaw or mouth. Maxillofacial surgeons are advanced specialists who diagnose and treat problems with:

  • Bones and tissues of your jaw and lower face (maxillofacial area).
  • Roof of your mouth (palate).
  • Teeth.

Why is maxillofacial surgery done?

Maxillofacial surgery is performed to improve jaw function and Relieve pain, it can address a wide variety of dental problems and conditions, such as:

  • Diagnosing reasons for chronic dental pain.
  • Preparing the mouth for dental implants and prostheses (such as dentures).
  • Placing dental implants.
  • Removing (extracting) impacted teeth.
  • Treat oral diseases.

Procedures can also treat jaw problems, such as:

  • Bone grafting, or transplanting bone from another area of the body to replace bone that’s missing in your jaw.
  • Reconstructing your jaw to correct an abnormal bite.
  • Treating temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders that affect the area where your lower jaw attaches to your skull.
  • Treating injuries related to trauma to your face, jaw and mouth.

Other reasons to perform maxillofacial surgery include:

  • Correcting congenital (present at birth) abnormalities such as cleft lip and palate.
  • Diagnosing and treating cysts, tumors, cancer, and other growths in your head and neck.
  • Diagnosing reasons for chronic facial pain.
  • Treating facial trauma (injury), such as facial fractures or damaged maxillofacial tissue.

What’s the difference between oral surgery and maxillofacial surgery?

Maxillofacial surgeons are oral surgeons are the same thing. Training involves oral and maxillofacial surgery but some surgeons limit their practice to oral surgery and office-based procedures while others prefer more hospital-based procedures.

What happens before maxillofacial surgery?

If you need maxillofacial surgery, your healthcare provider (primary care provider or dentist) will refer you to a specialist. The maxillofacial surgeon will meet with you for a consultation to:

  • Ask about your symptoms, medical history, current medications and more.
  • Examine your oral cavity and surrounding areas.
  • Order tests as needed, such as dental X-rays or 3D scans to get detailed images of the maxillofacial structures.
  • Diagnose the condition and recommend surgery or other treatment.

What happens during maxillofacial surgery?

What happens before maxillofacial surgery?

Maxillofacial surgery varies greatly depending on the problem and procedure. Some surgeries can be done in an outpatient setting, and you can go home the same day. Other treatment plans involve multiple surgeries to achieve the desired results.

Maxillofacial surgeons are trained and authorized to deliver anesthesia to prevent pain or put you to sleep. Your healthcare team will talk to you about whether you’ll need anesthesia and what type is best for you.

Toward the end of the procedure, your surgeon may use stitches to close any surgical wounds. Your surgeon also may place packing in your mouth to protect your teeth or the wound and to absorb fluids such as blood and pus.

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What happens after maxillofacial surgery?

After the surgery, your healthcare team will move you to a recovery room so you can wake up from the anesthesia. You may have some discomfort or pain as the medication wears off. You’ll also probably experience:

  • Bleeding.
  • Bruising.
  • Limited use of the jaw and teeth.
  • Swelling.

Your surgical team will talk to you about how the surgery went when you can go home, and how to take care of yourself during recovery. If you receive anesthesia, you should have someone drive you home.

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