An oral and maxillofacial surgeon carries out procedures in both an office, and a hospital setting when complex surgical procedures are required. When you need specialized care for your mouth, jaw, head or neck problem, your regular dentist may refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Here is an overview of the procedures that may require their care:
When the wisdom teeth are impacted or pressing against other teeth or gums due to lack of space, they may need to be removed to prevent frequent oral infections and pain. After a study of your teeth and the positioning of the wisdom tooth, your oral and maxillofacial surgeon will be able to recommend the proper treatment.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are trained in emergency medicine and have extensive knowledge of the facial skeleton. This helps them carry out reconstructive surgery for accident victims with facial trauma. These professionals can treat and repair facial bone fracture (eye socket, cheek or nose), lacerations on the face and inside the mouth, avulsed teeth and upper and lower jaw fractures. They can restore a patient’s appearance after injuries to the soft tissue, bone or special regions such as salivary gland, eyes or facial nerves. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon also carries out cleft palate and cleft lip treatment.
Orthognathic surgery is corrective jaw surgery for upper and lower jaws that are not positioned correctly. This misalignment can lead to several problems including open bite, inability to chew or bite properly, speech impairments and difficulty bringing the lips together. Such a mismatch can also affect the physical appearance of the patient. By carrying out jaw corrective surgery, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon can significantly improve a patient’s qualify of life.
When a patient needs dental implants to replace missing teeth, bone grafting may be required. Bone grafting is typically required when there isn’t enough bone or the bone quality is poor in the area where the implant will be positioned. In this case, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon harvests bone from different sites and carries out the grafting prior to the implant procedure. Bone grafting may also correct jaw abnormalities that are the result of birth defects, trauma or disease.
TMJ or temporomandibular joint problems are jaw joint problems and arise for a variety of reasons. TMJ problems may result in pain, a clicking noise in the jaw joint, trouble opening your mouth wide or a misaligned bite. Since TMJ issues can lead to more severe problems, it is important for patients to check with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon when they suspect that they may be suffering from this condition.
OSA can become life threatening because it blocks the upper airway and stops the flow of air during sleep. Repeated cycles of low oxygenation owing to OSA prevent patients from having proper rest and can lead to serious cardiovascular ailments. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon may treat this condition by recommending a CPAP machine or a surgical procedure.