What is Maxillofacial Surgery and When Is it the Right Choice?

Understand Maxillofacial Surgery and Its Every Facet

Maxillofacial Surgery – Be Careful when Choosing a Surgeon, Suggest Dental Experts Like Pearson Dental Supply, Chestnut Hills Dental, Triangle Family Dentistry and Happy Smiles Dental


Maxillofacial surgery seems such an imposing term. When people who aren’t in the medical field hear this term, we automatically think DANGER. But that’s not necessarily the case say experts at Chestnut Hills Dental, Triangle Family Dentistry and Imako Teeth specialists. This type of surgery is quite common and especially in cases where your orthodontics specialist examines your overbite before and after ceramic braces, analyzes cost and benefits of such a procedure.

Ok so when your dentist mentions maxillofacial surgery, you may look at him with horror—especially if you don’t really know what a maxillofacial surgeon does. “That’s often the case with us,” say the doctors at Imako Teeth.  After all, you just went to see about an overbite you have, and suddenly the doctor is talking about surgery.


What Does a Maxillofacial Surgeon Do?

Maxillofacial surgery is often performed by a specialist in oral surgery procedures, told us the doctor at Chestnut Hills Dental. This type of surgeon is one who specializes in the restructuring, repairing or removing parts of the facial muscles, jaw bone or any moving part of the mouth. He is a specialist who may have, at one time, been a dentist (at least he must have studied dentistry) and then specialized in maxillofacial surgery dealing with the mouth, face, parts of the neck and head.

This type of surgeon may be recommended for something as simple as a large overbite, the removal of embedded or ingrown wisdom teeth, or something as complicated as facial reconstruction caused by birth defects or damage caused by diseases such as cancer.

“It’s not that big a deal!” states the doctor at Happy Smiles, while holding one of his pointy dental instruments that sends a tremor or two down the spine of more than one patient. I wasn’t so sure, so I continued to delve into the topic of Maxillofacial surgery and came to this conclusion. Yes, it is surgery. It is often not complicated, and deemed appropriate for a number of reasons including cosmetic beauty. For example, when the muscles pull too tightly across the face or when the bottom jaw protrudes over the upper one. However, whether you are visiting a maxillofacial surgeon for something as simple as wisdom teeth removal, or something as complicated as full face reconstruction, you must take this type of surgery seriously. This means you need to carefully select the maxillofacial surgery specialist you need.


Understanding Oral-Maxillofacial Surgery Better, as told by Happy Smiles Dental

Oral-Maxillofacial Surgery is a surgical specialty which involves the diagnosis, surgery and the needed treatment of diseases, injuries and defects involving both the functional and aesthetic aspects of the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region. This is the medical definition given me by an expert at Triangle Family Dentistry.

More simply put, the oral and maxillofacial surgeon is the orthopedic surgeon of the facial region. He or she is an individual who addresses problems ranging from the removal of impacted teeth to the repair of facial trauma. This being a simpler version made clear by the Imako Teeth Clinic.

“What Are Some Reasons to Visit an Oral-Maxillofacial Surgeon?” I Asked the Experts at Pearson Dental Supply

“Dental Implants!” stated firmly by the doctors at Happy Smiles Dental

When you need to have, teeth replaced and require more than one dental implant, your doctor may suggest the procedure be completed through maxillofacial surgery. More and more people are getting dental implants to replace missing teeth. This is a solution that prevents the need for dentures and can be a permanent solution to replacing teeth, and when you care for them properly, dental implants can last a lifetime.

“Maxillofacial surgery for dental implant needs is relatively simple. Most patients do not experience any pain and have very little discomfort after the surgery,” Suggest HSD doctors.


What Are Dental Implants?

Before we go any further, lets explain what dental implants are. These are components that replace the root part of your teeth. A special dental surgeon needs to place the components directly into the jawbone so he can then add a natural looking crown or denture to form the total tooth replacement. Most modern dental implant systems use components made of titanium or titanium alloys. The benefit in using this metal is that it fuses to the bone. “Some people get a little nervous when they see the implant’s screw shape, believing it to be a painful process, but the reality is quite to the contrary,” state the doctor at Imako Teeth.


“A Jaw, Oral or Facial Cyst May Also Merit Maxillofacial Surgery.” Says PDS

Oral cysts are fairly common and can occur on the inside of the cheek, along the gum line, the tongue or the floor of the mouth. A cyst I a fluid filled sac or pouch, or a growth. Regardless, of its form, when the dentist identifies an oral cyst, he will recommend removal and testing to ensure that it is benign and harmless as opposed to cancerous.

Oral Cysts Defined

There are several types of cysts that can develop in the mouth. These are also known as dental cysts, periapical, radicular or odontogenic cysts. In most cases, they are caused by infections that result from the inner part of the tooth or the pulp becoming infected as a result of decay. When not treated, these infections can be reabsorbed by the boy and spread to other locations.

The Most Common Types of Oral Cysts Include:

Periapical cyst – The most common type of odontogenic cyst. This is where the tooth becomes infected and it leads to the death of pulp tissue. The infected matter can escape through the tooth and infect surrounding tissues.

Keratocyst – a cyst that is difficult to diagnose and a dentist usually needs to rely on laboratory conclusions. These are aggressive cysts that are tricky to remove as they can grow into the bone formation of the jaw.

Dentigerous Cyst – This is another common type of cyst that originates in the dental follicle, close to an unerupted tooth. This is usual around third molars and can alter the position of teeth, but many do not cause symptoms or pain and can go unnoticed.

Primordial Cyst – a cyst that grows instead of a tooth and is one of the rarest forms of oral cysts.


Maxillofacial Surgery for Oral Cysts

Most dentists will recommend removal of the cyst, but they will also perform a biopsy which is the removal of a small portion of tissue that he then sends to the laboratory for analysis.


Maxillofacial Surgery for Jaw Alignment or Reconstruction

Another reason for specialized surgery may be to realign your jaw and teeth, to reconstruct the jaw joints, to reconstruct the jaw following cancer surgery.

To many patients, maxillofacial surgery can seem a serious health issue, but that is not necessarily so. Techniques in painless dentistry and technology now allow many surgery procedures of this nature to be performed efficiently and as quickly as possible.

When the purpose of surgery is to realign the jaw, or reconstruct the joints, your endodontics professional can usually perform the entire surgery procedure inside your mouth. This prevents facial scars on your face, mouth or chin.  The surgeon will make cuts in the jawbones to move them into correct position and then set them with screws and bone plates.

In certain instances, he may add additional bone that he has previously extracted from your leg, rib or hip. Many of these types of procedures require a one to two-day stay in the hospital and can require a recovery time of between three to six weeks. Prior to surgery your doctor will inform you of the home care procedures you need to implement.

If the purpose of the maxillofacial procedure is to realign teeth and jaw, say experts at Imako, doctors may first decide to take high tech overbite before and after diagrams and pictures to see if maxillofacial surgery will make a significant difference even after orthodontics. He may decide to place braces on your teeth first, and this orthodontic procedure will last for a period of 9 to 18 months. At this point your doctor will determine whether the the surgery remains a beneficial step, so the entire process including the surgery can take approximately 24 months.

Types of Jaw Maxillofacial Surgery

There are basically three types of jaw surgery; the type that is performed on the:

  • Upper Jaw
  • Lower Jaw
  • Both Upper and Lower Jaws

Maxillary Osteotomy

If your Dentist suggest a Maxillary Osteotomy surgery to correct your teeth, he is referring to an upper jaw procedure that Orthodontic professionals use to correct these issues:

  • A receded upper jaw
  • Crossbite
  • Too few or too many teeth showing
  • An open bite

Note, your doctor will usually first look at the overbite before and after orthodontic treatment before recommending maxillofacial surgery for a teeth alignment issue.

How Is the Procedure Performed?

Your surgeon will make incisions form the inside of the mouth on the bone above your teeth. This will allow him to move the entire top jaw including the roof of the mouth and upper teeth. Then he will move this forward to fit properly on the lower jaw.

Once he has realigned the upper jaw, he will set it with plates and screws that hold the bone in the new position.  He will then review the overbite before and after to determine that the procedure is successful.


Mandibular Osteotomy

This is surgery performed to the lower jaw for the purpose of realignment. It is a procedure used when you have a significant receded lower jaw. The surgeon makes incisions behind the back molars and lengthwise to the jawbone. He then slides the lower jaw to its new position and holds it in place with plates and screws.



“This type of maxillofacial surgery is a surgery of the chin,” says the doctor at Triangle Family Dentistry. “When the chin is deficient, it is often the result of a receded lower jaw. The deficient chin can be fixed through genioplasty, continues on the TFD doctor. “This is where your surgeon cuts the chin bone and repositions it. Your surgeon may decide to reconstruct the jaw and perform genioplasty during the same surgery period as he does the jaw.”


“What Do You Do to Prepare for Maxillofacial Surgery?” I Asked the Specialists at CHD.


“Always get two to three recommendations when selecting a surgeon. Ask your dentist to recommend more than one surgeon so you can make your decision. If he doesn’t work with more than one surgeon, then call the physician referral service in your area. “

Call two or three maxillofacial specialists to see if they have adequate experience. Make an appointment and when at the appointment be sure to ask all pertinent questions. Ask about alternative treatments if possible, insurance coverage, time off work, needed recuperation, etc.

This is no time to be embarrassed by your lack of knowledge and a doctor that makes you feel inadequate should not be your doctor. You need to make sure you choose a maxillofacial surgery specialist whom you feel as comfortable as possible with. This is after all surgery, and it can be a very stressful situation, made even more so when you feel uncomfortable with the doctor you allow to perform the surgery.


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