Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
What is oral and maxillofacial surgery?
Oral and maxillofacial surgery is a specialty of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, injuries, and defects of the mouth (oral) and face and jaw (maxillofacial) regions as well as the neck and skull.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are dental specialists who are highly trained in medicine and dentistry and specialise in functional and aesthetic surgical procedures. They are responsible for a broad range of corrective procedures on soft and hard tissues, including teeth extraction or implantation, and cosmetic and reconstructive surgery of the face and neck.
These specialists treat patients of all ages, from newborn babies to the elderly. Their role also includes the non-surgical management of conditions including infections and facial pain.
When should I get oral and maxillofacial surgery?
Your dentist may refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon if you require a surgical or cosmetic procedure to correct an injury, disease or defect of the mouth, jaw, face, or neck.
You may need to visit an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for any of the following conditions or injuries:
· Dental implants
· Tumours or cysts of the jaw
· Cosmetic surgery
· Reconstructive procedures following an accident or injury
· Cleft lip or palette surgery
· Jaw and facial pain
· Wisdom teeth extraction
· Cancer of the face, jaw or neck
· Sleep apnea issues
Did you know?
The first successful face transplant in the world was conducted by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon in France in 2005. 1
What are the risks of oral and maxillofacial surgery?
As in any surgery, there exists a certain level of risk of complications. Risks include complications resulting from the anesthetic, the risk of infection, swelling, and bruising. Be sure to discuss the potential risks with your oral and maxillofacial surgeon and nurses before the procedure.
How should I prepare for oral and maxillofacial surgery?
Ask your oral and maxillofacial surgeon how to best prepare for your surgery. Generally, before a general anaesthetic, you will need to fast. This depends on your procedure, so be sure to ask if fasting is necessary and for how long.
An important part of feeling confident is having all the relevant information. Have a support person to accompany you or give you a ride to and from the clinic, and care for you after a surgery requiring anaesthesia.
What can I expect during oral and maxillofacial surgery?
Your surgeon and medical team aim to successfully treat your condition or injury in a timely manner. They strive to provide quality treatment that is as pain-free as possible. Your welfare is their utmost priority.
What happens after my oral and maxillofacial surgery?
Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon will help you understand each step of the procedure and this includes follow-up care and pain management. After surgery, you will need to spend a quiet day of rest and recovery.
Bleeding may continue for up to 24 hours after surgery and you may have swelling, bruising, and some discomfort for 2-3 days following your procedure. In addition, be sure to have someone to monitor your condition, apply ice packs to swelling, maintain gentle pressure on a gauze pack in case of bleeding, take pain medication as instructed, and contact your medical team in case of any concerns or problems. Your healthcare team will advise you on the various guidelines of post-operative care.Request an appointment with a dental specialist today.
 Kim RY, Fasi AC, Feinberg SE. Soft tissue engineering in craniomaxillofacial surgery. Annals of Maxillofacial Surgery. 2014;4(1):4-8. doi:10.4103/2231-0746.133064.