Oral and maxillofacial surgery is a specialized treatment modality in dental care. It is focused on the diagnosis and surgical treatment of defects and diseases. For example, the function and appearance of the mouth, face, teeth, mouth, and jaw.
The maxillofacial area is also affected by congenital growth deformities, which are treated with oral and maxillofacial surgery. The surgery is a revolutionary intervention in dental care. It is an ideal choice for the correction of dental problems beyond the scope of general dentists, orthodontists, and pediatric dentists.
What conditions does Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery treat?
Here are some interesting facts about this fascinating surgical discipline:
- While the thought of undergoing surgery is often scary for some patients, maxillofacial and oral surgery is safe. It is a typical option for the restoration of function and aesthetic appeal of the mouth, jaws, teeth, and face.
- The procedure is the go-to solution to enhance function and aesthetics. This includes the improvement of jaw bone density, treating facial disproportion, mouth infections, and ulcers.
- Oral and maxillofacial surgery is touted as a reliable intervention for the treatment of tooth and bone loss.
- The treatment is achieved through the placement of dental implants (both artificial root and dental crown structures) to replace the lost teeth.
For patients with insufficient bone structures, oral maxillofacial surgeons install bone grafts to support the placement of dental implants.
Moreover, oral and maxillofacial surgery is the definitive solution in the treatment of impacted wisdom teeth. This occurs due to unsuccessful eruption through the gums. The surgical intervention aids in the removal of impacted wisdom teeth.
For patients with disproportionate facial features, for example, a disproportionate jaw bone, facial reconstructive surgery is administered.
In most instances, this surgery is indicated for the treatment of maxillofacial injuries that stem from physical injuries and traumas.
For instance, when a jaw is fractured or dislocated, the urgent care objective to restore it can only be achieved with maxillofacial surgery.
The surgery achieves a complete reset of a fractured or dislocated jaw. Although the procedure and restoration of the jaw function occur in phases, they are effective and of minimal risk.
The hallmark of oral and maxillofacial surgeries
The most distinguishable intervention by oral maxillofacial surgeons is in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. This stems from the proliferation of excess soft tissues in the air pathway, or misaligned jaws.
The problem is notorious for blocking and stopping breath when at rest. It causes restlessness during sleep and shortness of breath.
Fortunately, OMS presents an excellent surgical solution to correct the position of misaligned jaws. For patients suffering from sleep apnea, the surgical intervention is one possible, and effective, solution.
Temporomandibular (TMJ) disorder
TMJ is a condition that is characterized by a dysfunctional joint between the jawbone and the skull. Often, this results in pain in the jaw joint and is also corrected with OMS. Although TMJ disorders arise from different factors, including genetics and injury, oral maxillofacial surgery has been successful in rectifying the problem.
The surgical intervention helps alleviate pain and the following symptoms:
- stiff jaws
- locking of the jaws
- misalignment of the upper and lower jaw
- pain in the neck and face while chewing
Cleft lip surgery and the apicoectomy
Specifically administered to correct birth defects, this procedure achieves the correction of misaligned jaws. This exemplifies the efficacy of maxillofacial and oral surgery in the repair of facial structures. Oral surgery specialists smooth the jaw to accommodate the placement.
After the tip of the tooth’s root, the apex has become critically affected almost to the extent of removal. However, if free from decay, the tooth can be saved.
An oral maxillofacial surgeon can use this intervention to relieve patients from pain. This is true especially in the case of infected and decayed teeth. In these cases, it is used to prevent infections and restore oral health.
However, the apicoectomy procedure is reserved for the care of teeth that cannot be corrected by the other dentistry techniques, such as a root canal.
An apicoectomy is effective and is employed as the ultimate procedure for preserving natural teeth that may need extraction due to functional and structural deterioration.
However, the prognosis of the tooth problem is considered to determine if a patient is suited for the procedure. Generally, the procedure is only elected if the tooth’s problem presents a reasonable possibility of saving the tooth.
Oral mucosa problems
Patients with oral mucosa problems are referred to oral maxillofacial surgeons for treatment. For instance, problems such as oral ulcers and infections that defy standard oral care interventions are treated with oral maxillofacial surgery, which involves the removal of unhealthy oral cells or tumors.
The high success rate of maxillofacial and oral surgery
Thanks to the advances in oral and maxillofacial surgery, a large number of patients with oral problems have had successful surgical interventions—including dental implants and apicoectomy—and have a remarkable success rate of about 95%.
Dental implant costs are quite affordable and offer a long-term solution for the replacement of missing teeth. Besides this, they offer a natural feel and look.
With dental implant surgery, complex oral problems are resolved for the restoration of oral health, and maxillofacial and oral surgery is advancing to deliver even better outcomes for patients.
Qualifications of an oral maxillofacial surgeon
Being a unique specialty in dentistry, oral surgery is a training-intensive qualification. Patients in need of oral maxillofacial surgery need the reassurance that they are receiving the best care, and they’ll achieve the desired results after treatment.
Luckily, with the in-depth training that oral surgeons undergo, there is no doubt they are knowledgeable and well-suited to administer the surgery. First, oral surgery specialists are required to excel in surgical expertise and express a great understanding of aesthetics and function of the maxillofacial area.
To achieve this feat and attend to patients in need of corrective surgery for teeth, mouth, and face problems, completion of a lengthy and challenging education is required. They must complete a bachelor’s degree in medicine from an accredited dental school, and post-graduate training in a hospital residency program.
In particular, the training is set to follow a curriculum focused on the Doctor of Dental Surgery qualification. Also, the residency program enables opportunities for additional training in sub-divisions of specialty dental care, under fellowship programs.
Standards of oral maxillofacial surgery
Although most people only appreciate the interventions of general dental care, oral maxillofacial surgeons skillfully perform very specialized care, which is governed by the American Board of Maxillofacial Surgery (ABOMS) organization.
As the certifying body, the ABOMS is concerned with quality assurance and the execution of optimal care in the administration of oral surgery. With strict regulation by the ABOMS organization, licensed oral maxillofacial surgeons are required to adhere to high standards of certification, re-certification, and delivery of quality care in their practice.
The ABOMS organization sets new regulations to improve the standards of care in the practice. Also, it encourages learning and the adopting of leading-edge technology and practices for excellent dental care.
Dr. Christopher Johnson, D.M.D., is a leading oral and maxillofacial surgery specialist practicing in Leesburg, Central Florida. If you are interested in learning more about cosmetic facial procedures, orthognathic surgery, or oral surgery procedures, contact his office to set up a free consultation regarding the available options for your treatment.