Oral Maxillofacial Surgery and Cosmetic Dental Surgery – An Outline

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Oral Maxillofacial Surgery is a unique discipline that marries medicine and dentistry. It entails a whole wide range of diseases and procedures from simple ones like impacted wisdom tooth and wisdom tooth surgery to complex complicated ones like jaw abnormalities and corrective jaw surgery. Complex reconstructive work like in a fibula free transfer graft also falls under the arm of oral maxillofacial surgery and may be done with the proper support and expertise.

Oral maxillofacial surgery as the name suggests refers to disease and procedures of the oral cavity and the region immediately surrounding it. It may even stretch as far up as the eyes and as low down as the neck. Simple diseases that falls under the branch of oral maxillofacial surgery includes tooth decay warranting tooth extraction and impacted wisdom tooth or an impacted or buried tooth that requires wisdom tooth surgery in the case of a wisdom tooth or just dento- alveolar surgery in the case of other teeth.

Soft tissue lesions such as a lump on the lip e.g. mucocele and the management also falls under the care of oral maxillofacial surgery. The excision of the mucocele or any other soft lesions is done under local anesthesia and sometimes general anesthesia. And very often, the tissue is sent to the pathology lab for a routine histology to confirm the diagnosis. Biopsies be it an incisional biopsy or excisional biopsy is also done.

Bigger lesions and pathologies like a dentigerous cyst, odontogenic keratocyst or an ameloblastoma are also routinely managed under oral maxillofacial surgery. Managements includes simple enucleation of the cyst to resection of the pathology.

Facial trauma also falls under the management and care of oral maxillofacial surgery. Lacerations of the lips and face and fracture of the jaw bones and facial bones are common place in the hospital and the management is normally handled by the oral maxillofacial department. Toilet and suture of the lacerations may be done under local anesthesia or general anesthesia depending on the extent of the injury. And more often than not, if there is an associated fracture, the open reduction and internal fixation of the jaw or facial bones are done together with the lacerations under general anesthesia.

Dental and oral maxillofacial implants are another area where oral maxillofacial surgery is involved in. The placement of dental implants to replace missing teeth in the jaw is gaining popularity and is offered by oral maxillofacial surgery. Besides dental implants, the oral maxillofacial surgical team also do maxillofacial implants such as orbit implants and otic or ear implants. They also offer answers to complicated or difficult cases such as those with bone deficiencies.

Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) also falls under the care and management of oral maxillofacial surgery. Jaw joint pain is a common problem and is normally attributed to stress or trauma. It may even be due to normal physiological wear and tear. But whatever the cause, it can be a worry for the patient. Most of the time though, the jaw joint pain or TMD pain is caused by myalgia which involves the inflammation of the muscles of mastication.

Dental infection or facial infection leading to swelling is also commonly treated by oral maxillofacial surgery. Many a times the swelling of the face is attributed to a dental cause and the prompt identification of the cause and removal of the source together with antibiotic therapy is adequate treatment. Incision and drainage (I&D) is also commonly instituted.

Corrective jaw surgery and reconstructive jaw surgery is also commonly carried out by the oral maxillofacial surgical team. In cases of jaw abnormalities requiring corrective jaw surgery, the oral maxillofacial surgical team will work together with the orthodontist to co manage the patient. In reconstructive surgery, after a major trauma or pathology removing surgery, the oral maxillofacial surgical team will decide the graft to be used and place it appropriately and reconstruct the face.

Cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery are also commonly done. Treatments such as botox administration for the treatment of wrinkles and use of fillers for the facial region is gaining popularity and more and more oral maxillofacial surgeons are venturing into this department due to the demand. Other treatments offered are rhinoplasty and blepharoplasty.

This article is written by an oral surgeon in government practice. Click on the links to learn more about wisdom tooth surgery, corrective jaw surgery and Beverly Hills cosmetic dental surgery.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Well written! As a board certified oral & maxillofacial surgeon from Long Island, New York, it’s always great to see informative sites like this where people can write about their surgical experiences (both positive and negative) in an open forum. Contrary to popular belief, many of these procedures outlined above are done on an outpatient basis with a short recovery period. I have educational videos and in-depth descriptions of various procedures on my webiste, http://www.licoms.net. Keep up the good work. I’ll be back often!

  • Brandon, this is an excellent site. Both my wife and I are Board Certified, dual degree (MD, DDS) Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons in Scottsdale, Arizona. We perform complex jaw surgery in our private facility, Desert Palm Surgical Center. We are able to discharge our patients the next day and we never “wire people shut” any more. We spend a lot of time before and after surgery counseling our patients and taking care of both them and their families. For sure I will refer patients to your site as I think it is an impressive support network. If you ever need help with content, let me know. I lecture a lot around the country on jaw surgery as well as cosmetic surgery. Keep up the great work!

  • I just posted a YouTube video of a procedure we performed to help a young lady who could not afford surgery several years ago. You can see it on YouTube under “Carlotti Jaw Surgery.” Take Care!

  • Thanks, Dr. Carlotti! That means a lot coming from such a proactive surgeon.

    I’m in the process of writing an eBook for the site, so I could definitely use some content and/or input based on your experience with so many patients.

  • It has always amazed my wife and I how much the experience for a jaw surgery patient changes their lives. Honestly, it is only in part what we do as surgeons that prompts that change. Patients face the most intense time of their lives and when they get through it, they emerge with a new drive and sense of confidence. Your energy has been very well directed and no doubt has helped many other patients. I am a second generation surgeon. My father was one of the first jaw surgeons in the country and I started to work in his office when I was 14. He always says that it is a privilege to treat the jaws and faces of mankind but it presents to us an awesome responsibility as the surgeons. There is literally no other procedure performed on completely healthy people that is so invasive. Yet, done properly, these procedures are safe and predictable and change lives. Of all the types of surgery that I do, there is absolutely nothing more rewarding. My wife and I are very lucky to be able to do what we do for people. Again, I would be happy to help you continue to succeed in your blog and your book!

  • Melissa Link

    Hello, I’m looking for help to spread the word, I need a helping hand, in raising money for a surgery I need. Every amount is accepted no matter how small.
    For more information visitt one of the links below.


    BTW great website the information has helped me alot!

  • Thanks for the very informative post. I had to undergo a minor surgery for implant placement and i wish i could’ve read your post sooner. Keep up the good work.

  • Thanks, Vicky, and congrats on a successful surgery.

    If you have any questions or want to share your experience, come join us on the forums:


  • Anica Link

    Hi this Anica. My mother’s fiancee got into an accident and got all of his teeth knocked out, except for four as well as a jaw only being held up by metal rods and bars. Where would be the best place to go for surgery of this kind?

  • A maxillofacial and/or cosmetic surgeon would be what to look for with that much damage. They should have the experience to walk through his case with him and at the very least recommend the next steps for him.

  • Anica Link

    Do you have anyone that you could recommend to me?

  • The only person I can personally vouch for is Dr. Wlodawsky who did my surgery, and I couldn’t be happier with him, but he’s in Richmond, VA and I don’t know how far away you are?

  • Rocco Link

    1. How did you choose your surgeon?

    2. Why did you decide to have your surgery?

    3. Did the surgeon discuss the degree of malocclusion with you explaining that the surgery might not be covered?

    4. Did you have to prepay for your procedures?

    5. What procedures did you have completed prior to the surgery?

    6. Typically, how many preparatory procedures are required?

    7. If preparatory procedures are necessary, did the insurance company pay for the work?

    8. Is there anything “pre” surgery that would have given you pause to not consider having the procedure done?

    10. Why did the surgeon wire (or use arch bars) on you?

    11. Did the surgeon discuss implants and grafting materials that he was using?

    12. What fracture management has a similar procedural approach?

    13. Since you developed your blog and are clearly interested in supporting individuals planning on surgery, what about your emotional support?

  • Hi Rocco,

    1. My surgeon was actually referred to me by my orthodontist who already knew him and had worked with him before, which was an ideal situation for all of us.

    2. My underbite was severe enough that only a few of my teeth touched when I bit together, which made chewing very inefficient and could have led to greater problems down the road.

    3. Yes, he mentioned there’s always a chance it won’t be covered, but cases as severe as mine usually aren’t a problem.

    4. As for the actual surgery, I had to pay a $300 deductible before hospitalization, but my insurance covered most of it, and the full financial breakdown is here: http://www.jawsurgeryblog.com/faq/

    5. I had my wisdom teeth extracted and my braces put on.

    6. The above two are the most common, but I was also on the borderline of needing a palate expansion, which it turned out I didn’t need to get in the end.

    7. I’m sure that varies from insurance company to company, especially based on the procedure.

    8. I had made up my mind that I wanted to get it done, and some of the risks definitely concerned me, but didn’t stop me.

    10. As far as I know, I was banded shut to prevent the jaw from moving out of place and ensure a full and fast recovery.

    11. He walked me through the entire procedure and even showed me on a model bite and skull what was going to happen. I don’t remember anything specifically about grafting, but he was open to any and all questions.

    12. That I don’t know, as this was my only major surgery.

    13. I was lucky to have the full support of my family and friends throughout the process, and I’m glad the Jaw Surgery Blog is providing some of the same support to others.

  • Mike Link

    can you get corrective jaw surgery without braces on? like can they do the surgery and just put arch bars in?

  • This is everyone’s first question, including mine, because we all want to just get the surgery over with and not have to deal with the braces, but they are such a big part of the procedure that I’ve never heard of one completed without them. Even more than just straightening your teeth, they are used to prepare them for your new bite and alignment.

  • Deanne Link

    Hi Brandon, I have had a history of recurrence of ameloblastoma. My last surgery was between 2011 and 2012 for the removal and reconstruction of lower jaw with fibula free flap. At present I am very much challenged with no teeth except for one at the back, locked jaw, twist mouth among other things. I am looking for referrals/recommendations of maxillofacial surgeons/dentist who have great experience in dealing with such a case to correct same. Please email me with some much needed advice.