What is a Maxillofacial Surgeon?

Maxillofacial surgeons are specialized in treating a wide range of diseases and injuries of the head, neck, mouth, jaw, and face. If you have a condition or a disease involving your teeth, jaws, or facial bones and tissues that are causing pain and preventing you from performing everyday activities, it is in your best interest to see an oral and maxillofacial surgery expert to correct the abnormality, ease the pain, and bring you back to your normal life. 

Education and Training: Maxillofacial surgeons are medical practitioners who have had specialized training in maxillofacial surgery. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are also educated in anesthesia, pain management, and all the major surgeries of the head/neck. 

Maxillofacial surgeons have to complete certain degrees and training after graduating from dentistry school to be able to perform surgeries ethically and skillfully. 

A four- to six-year residency program during which the dentist focuses on surgery. In addition to their dentistry degree, the six-year prospective span includes spending an extra two years pursuing a medical degree. The American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OBOMS) require oral surgeons to pass a mandatory board exam in order to get certified. If the surgeon wishes to specialize, they can pursue a two-year fellowship and examination in cosmetic facial surgery, head and neck cancer, craniofacial surgery and pediatrics, or cranio-maxillofacial trauma.

What is the Role of a Maxillofacial Surgeon?

A variety of disorders affecting the head and neck are treated by maxillofacial surgeons, including Jaws that are misaligned, wisdom teeth that have become impacted, reconstructive surgery of the mouth, head and neck cancers that affect the head and neck region, and placement of dental implants. 

A maxillofacial surgeon can help with a variety of issues. Many of the same problems are treated by maxillofacial surgeons and oral surgeons; in fact, the titles may be interchangeable depending on the clinician. Irrespective of the terminology, maxillofacial surgeons manage moderately invasive treatments in the face and neck with their skill.

  • Dental Implants: Maxillofacial surgeons can remove teeth and replace them with artificial alternatives. These implants serve as a permanent tooth replacement in the jaw. Dental implants are beneficial and serve as natural teeth. 
  • Cleft Lip and Palate: Cleft lips and palates are caused by a variety of congenital abnormalities. This disorder can have long-term aesthetic and health consequences for an individual. Maxillofacial surgeons can do surgery to correct such a type of congenital abnormality.
  • Head and Neck Cancer: Maxillofacial surgeons frequently remove cancers of the face, neck, and jaw. These experts have received the necessary skills to remove the tumor without causing damage to the sensitive nerves that run throughout the intricate structure of the head and neck.
  • Reconstructive Surgery: If an individual receives an accident and face is injured, an individual may need maxillofacial surgery depending on the status of the degree and intensity. Some of the maxillofacial surgeons specialize in repairing damaged jaws, cheekbones, and teeth through reconstructive surgery. 

Difference between an oral surgeon and a dentist

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are not just dentists. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are dental professionals who get extra surgical training in a hospital-based residency program after graduating from dentistry school. Internal medicine, general surgery, anesthesia, otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat), cosmetic surgery, emergency medicine, and other particular medical disciplines are among the specialists they train with. In comparison to general dentists, they have a significantly broader range of therapeutic expertise and experience.

When to see a maxillofacial surgeon?

If you have severe facial trauma, need to have a tooth extracted, are diagnosed with a head/neck disease, require extensive jaw alignment before orthodontic treatment, or are dealing with a variety of other conditions affecting the mouth, throat, head, face, and neck, consulting a maxillofacial surgeon is likely to be the best option. In most cases, medical practitioners themselves refer you to a maxillofacial surgeon depending on the case.