Your dentist will be able to deal with a huge range of dental issues in the comfort of their own offices. However, since your dentist assess the health and overall condition of your teeth and mouth, sometimes there might be a type of medical or dental problem that would benefit from the attention of a specialist. This doesn’t necessarily mean that there is anything to be worried about. There are a variety of reasons why a patient may be referred to a maxillofacial specialist as opposed to being treated by their own dentist.
Maxillofacial surgeons are concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of patients with diseases affecting the mouth, jaws, face, and neck. This is normally provided in a hospital environment, particularly if the type of surgery you are having will mean that you need to stay in the care of professionals overnight while you begin your recovery.
Maxillofacial surgeons are specialists and will have completed a hospital oral and maxillofacial surgery residency program for a minimum of four years. This program includes crucial training in the use of anesthesia and pain control to ensure that patients are suitably anesthetized and relaxed for their surgery. This is important since many types of maxillofacial surgery require patients to have a general anesthetic which causes them to be unconscious during their procedure. There are a number of risks associated with the use of general anesthesia, but by choosing a trained and experienced maxillofacial surgeon who works alongside a trained anesthetist, these can be minimized, and your surgery will be considered very safe.
The majority of maxillofacial surgeons are now qualified in both dental surgery and medicine. Some also go on to specialize in a particular area of maxillofacial surgery, such as reconstructive surgery or cancer treatments. In many instances, they may work alongside other specialists including orthodontists, ENT (ear, nose, and throat) surgeons, plastic surgeons and oncologists, forming multidisciplinary teams to effectively treat all major conditions affecting the mouth, face, and jaw.
Maxillofacial surgery can address a variety of issues affecting the face, mouth and jaw. These include both cosmetic and functional problems. You might need maxillofacial surgery for a fairly standard dental procedure, such as dental implants, or for a more serious health problem, like a tumor in your jaw. Some of the most common reasons for a patient to be referred to a maxillofacial surgeon include:
Problems with their wisdom teeth
A misaligned jaw
Dental implant placement
Complex dental extractions
Issues with the temporomandibular joint / temporomandibular joint disorder
Obstructive sleep apnea
Cysts in the mouth or jaw
Cleft palate or cleft lip
There is a need for reconstructive surgery following a trauma to the face, jaw, mouth or neck
Diseases of the salivary glands
Infections in the neck, teeth, mouth or jaw
If you would like to learn more about maxillofacial surgery, or if you believe that you would benefit from treatment by a specialized maxillofacial surgeon, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our reassuring and knowledgeable team here at the New York Institute of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.