What Does Maxillofacial Mean?

Mouth Checks Ups

Have you seen the word “Maxillofacial” and wondered what it meant? Chances are you have seen this term when searching for oral surgeons, perhaps because you need a tooth extraction, or other dental work.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Surgeons who work on your mouth complete a four-year graduate degree in dentistry, as well as at least four years of additional residency time in the surgical program of a hospital. They are called “oral and maxillofacial surgeons” because they don’t only work on the mouth (oral). They also work on the face and jaws (maxillofacial).

Oral surgery covers a great deal of territory. The most common oral surgery is the removal of teeth, either impacted wisdom teeth or other teeth. But there is a lot of other work that falls into the purview of such a surgical practice:

  • Facial pain

There are many causes of facial pain, and most do not require surgery. For some ongoing conditions, however, a visit to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon may be called for.

  • Misaligned jaws

Jaw alignment has a dramatic impact on eating, smiling, talking, and breathing. Some surgeries can help patients align their jaws and correct any issues that may inhibit typical function.

  • Reconstruction after an accident

When any bones of the face are fractured in an accident – cheekbone, jaw, nose, skull, or eye socket in particular – this can also damage the soft and hard tissue of the mouth and face.

  • Tumor or cyst removal

These growths are surprisingly common, and the surgeries that lead to their removal can be complicated.

  • Dental implants

Getting dentures or other prosthetic dental wear requires implants. Bone grafting calls for surgery to make these implants work.