An oral surgeon is a dental specialist who has undergone additional education and training in the diagnosis, surgical and related treatments of diseases, injuries, and defects of the oral and maxillofacial surgeon. This includes the mouth, teeth, gums, jaws, and related structures.
Oral surgeons commonly perform procedures such as wisdom teeth removal, dental implant surgery, jaw surgery, reconstructive surgery, treatment of oral cancers, and correction of facial deformities.
To become an oral surgeon, one must first complete a dental degree program and then complete a residency program in oral and maxillofacial surgery. Some oral surgeons may also pursue additional subspecialty training in areas such as cleft lip and palate surgery, head and neck cancer surgery, or cosmetic facial surgery.
Why Is Oral Surgery Performed?
Oral surgery is performed for a variety of reasons, including:
- Tooth extraction: Oral surgeons are often called upon to remove teeth that are impacted, severely decayed, or causing other problems in the mouth. This can include wisdom teeth, which can become impacted and cause pain and infection.
- Dental implant placement: Oral surgeons are skilled in placing dental implants, which are used to replace missing teeth. Implants are surgically placed in the jawbone and act as a foundation for a replacement tooth or bridge.
- Corrective jaw surgery: Sometimes, the jaws may not align properly, causing problems with speech, chewing, and breathing. Oral surgery can correct these problems by repositioning the jawbones.
- Biopsy: Oral surgeons may perform biopsies to test for cancer or other abnormalities in the mouth.
- Cleft lip and palate repair: Oral surgeons are often part of a team that performs surgery to repair cleft lips and palates, which can cause speech and eating difficulties.
- Sleep apnea treatment: In some cases, oral surgery can be used to treat sleep apnea, a condition in which a person’s breathing stops and starts during sleep.
Overall, oral surgery is performed to improve the function and appearance of the mouth, correct abnormalities, and alleviate pain and discomfort.
What Is Maxillofacial Surgery?
Maxillofacial surgery is a specialized field of surgery that involves diagnosing and treating diseases, injuries, and defects of the face, jaw, neck, and mouth. It is a surgical specialty that combines both dental and medical expertise to treat conditions that affect the head and neck region.
Maxillofacial surgery includes a wide range of procedures, from corrective jaw surgery and facial reconstruction to the treatment of facial trauma, cancer of the mouth, and congenital defects such as cleft lip and palate. It also involves the treatment of various dental and oral conditions, such as impacted teeth, jaw misalignment, and temporomandibular joint disorders.
Maxillofacial surgeons are trained in both dentistry and medicine and work closely with other medical specialists, such as otolaryngologists, neurosurgeons, and plastic surgeons, to provide comprehensive care to patients with complex head and neck conditions.
Why Is Maxillofacial Surgery Done?
Maxillofacial surgery, also known as oral and maxillofacial surgery, is a type of surgery that involves treating conditions, injuries, and diseases of the face, mouth, and jaw.
Here are some reasons why maxillofacial surgery may be done:
- Correcting facial deformities: Maxillofacial surgery can be done to correct facial deformities caused by birth defects, trauma, or other medical conditions.
- Jaw surgery: Maxillofacial surgery may be needed to correct problems with the jaw, such as misaligned jaws, TMJ disorders, and jaw tumors.
- Dental implants: Maxillofacial surgery can be done to place dental implants for patients who have lost teeth due to injury or decay.
- Corrective surgery after trauma: Maxillofacial surgery can be done to repair facial fractures and other injuries to the face and jaw.
- Oral cancer treatment: Maxillofacial surgery is often used to remove tumors from the mouth and jaw.
- Sleep apnea treatment: Maxillofacial surgery can be done to correct sleep apnea by adjusting the position of the jaw and tongue.
Overall, maxillofacial surgery is done to improve the function, appearance, and overall health of the face, mouth, and jaw.
What’s The Difference Between Oral Surgery And Maxillofacial Surgery?
Oral surgery and maxillofacial surgery are related specialties, but they differ in scope and focus.
Oral surgery, also known as oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMS), is a branch of dentistry that focuses on diagnosing and treating conditions related to the mouth, teeth, jaw, and face. This includes tooth extractions, dental implants, corrective jaw surgery, and other surgical procedures related to oral health.
Maxillofacial surgery, on the other hand, is a medical specialty that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, injuries, and defects in the head, neck, face, jaws, and hard and soft tissues of the mouth and face. This includes reconstructive surgery to repair facial deformities resulting from trauma or birth defects, removal of tumors or cysts in the head and neck, and other complex surgical procedures that require specialized training and expertise.
In summary, while oral surgery focuses specifically on surgical procedures related to the mouth and teeth, maxillofacial surgery involves a broader range of surgical procedures that address conditions affecting the entire head and neck region.
What Happens During Maxillofacial Surgery?
The specific procedures involved in maxillofacial surgery depend on the individual needs of the patient.
Some common procedures include:
- Corrective jaw surgery: This involves repositioning the upper or lower jaw to improve the patient’s bite and facial appearance. This type of surgery is typically performed to correct a severe overbite, underbite, or other skeletal abnormalities.
- Dental implant surgery: This involves the placement of one or more dental implants to replace missing teeth. The implants are typically made of titanium and are surgically placed into the jawbone to serve as an artificial tooth root.
- Facial trauma surgery: This involves repairing facial injuries that result from accidents, falls, or other types of trauma. The surgery may involve resetting broken bones, repairing lacerations, or reconstructing damaged soft tissue.
- Tumor removal: This involves the removal of tumors that may be located in the face, jaw, or mouth. The surgeon will work to remove as much of the tumor as possible while preserving as much healthy tissue as possible.
During the surgery, the patient will be under general anesthesia, which means they will be unconscious and unaware of what is happening during the procedure. The surgeon will make incisions in the face, jaw, or mouth as needed to access the area being treated. After the surgery, the patient will typically need to follow a strict recovery plan to ensure proper healing and minimize the risk of complications.
Advantages Of Oral And Maxillofacial Surgery
Some of the advantages of maxillofacial surgery include the following:
Improved oral health: Maxillofacial surgery can correct a wide range of dental and facial problems, including misaligned teeth, jaw disorders, and cleft palate. These procedures can improve oral health and function, as well as the overall quality of life.
Improved appearance: Maxillofacial surgery can help improve the appearance of the face and jaw, which can boost self-confidence and self-esteem. Procedures like orthognathic surgery can correct facial asymmetry and improve facial harmony.
Relief from pain: Many maxillofacial conditions, such as TMJ disorders and impacted wisdom teeth, can cause significant pain and discomfort. Surgery can provide relief from these symptoms and improve the overall quality of life.
Treatment of oral cancer: Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are trained to diagnose and treat oral cancer, which can be life-threatening if left untreated. Surgery can remove cancerous tissue and prevent cancer from spreading.