Maxillofacial Surgery – You’ve Heard of It but What Really Is It?

There is a lot of talk about oral surgery. However, there are some issues that impact the mouth and jaw that a traditional oral surgeon may not be able to care for. Maxillofacial surgery is a different branch of surgery that focuses on problems impacting the mouth, jaw, face and neck. These issues stretch beyond the common dental concerns. Maxillofacial surgery is used to offer treatment for problems like overbites, underbites, and other types of jaw deformities. These are all instances that require procedures needing an additional level of specialization beyond traditional dental care.

Unlike traditional oral surgery, which typically will provide care for issues impacting the gums and teeth, maxillofacial surgery offers reconstruction of the face and jaw. This is an incredibly complex process, involving a series of complex and important nerves that run throughout the face. Thus, working with a highly experienced maxillofacial surgeon is of the utmost importance when you are considering pursuing this level of medical care.

Types of Maxillofacial Surgery

Maxillofacial surgery is not cosmetic surgery. This type of surgical procedure is used to address issues causing someone pain or putting an individual at medical risk. There are several primary types of maxillofacial surgery to be aware of.

  • Nerve Repositioning: In cases where implants need to be inserted in the lower jaw, there may be a need to reposition the inferior alveolar nerve. This nerve is what allows us to experience feeling in the lower lip as well as the chin. This is a highly complex procedure. Surgery is typically only done in situations where dental implants are necessary and deterioration is present.
  • Orthognathic surgery: In situations where an individual is experiencing a deformity to the structure or growth of the face or jaw, orthognathic surgery is recommended. This includes common problems like overbites, underbites, and misaligned jaws. It is important to note, not all cases of overbites and underbites are eligible for surgical repair. Minor issues may be able to be treated through other, less invasive forms of therapy.
  • Distraction Osteogenesis: This is a highly complex procedure that requires the removal of bone from one part of the body so that it can be used to reinforce another area. This type of surgery follows a procedure called an osteotomy. This is when bone is cut to shorten or lengthen the alignment. The bone piece is then used in a distraction osteogenesis procedure to stimulate new bone formation.
  • Bone Grafting: Maxillofacial bone grafting offers support in situations when a jaw becomes deformed or deteriorated. This is often a result of periodontal disease or tooth loss. This type of procedure replaces the part of the jaw that provides the anchoring support for the teeth. Thereby, providing the teeth with greater support.

Maxillofacial Surgery and Common Corrections

In addition to these surgical procedures, maxillofacial surgery is used to correct common issues that impact the face and neck. This includes the correction of a cleft lip, as well as a sinus lift. Cleft palate surgery is highly recommended for children who are born with this malformation. A cleft lip is a birth deformity that causes the lip or mouth to develop a split. This form of maxillofacial surgery makes it possible for children born with this deformity to live a normal life, free of the aesthetic and medical consequences of having a cleft lip. Maxillofacial surgery makes it possible to experience healthy function and a normal appearance of the face and mouth.

Maxillofacial surgery is often used to help address problems impacting the sinuses. Repeat sinus infections can be caused by not enough space in the sinus cavity. Lifting the sinuses can alleviate this problem. Thus, reducing the rate of infection and making it easier to breathe, free of sinus issues. Additionally, this can help provide additional space for dental implants and may be recommended in conjunction with oral surgery.

Contact Your Trusted Experts

Work with a strong, experienced maxillofacial surgeon. At Sunrise Facial and Oral Surgery, Dr. Schmid and Dr. Kim can help you find relief from pain and discomfort associated with common issues that impact the face, mouth, and neck. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us at Sunrise Facial and Oral Surgery. We have convenient locations in Rockledge and Melbourne, Florida.