What is Maxillofacial Surgery?
Oral and maxillofacial surgery is a specialty of dentistry concerned with the diagnosis and surgical treatment of congenital or acquired diseases, dysfunction, defects or injuries of the mouth, jaws, face, neck and associated regions. Maxilla refers to the jaws – lower maxilla or lower jaw is currently called the mandible and the term maxilla refers to the upper jaw. A specialty of dentistry that includes the diagnosis, surgical, and adjunctive treatment of diseases, injuries, and defects involving both the functional and aesthetic aspects of the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial regions.
|Orthognathic surgery combines orthodontic treatment with surgery of the jaw to correct or establish a stable functional balance between the teeth, jaws and facial structures. The goal of maxillofacial surgery is to treat any jaw imbalance and the resulting incorrect bite, which could adversely affect the cosmetic (esthetic) appearance as well as the proper functioning of the teeth. This involves diagnosis, treatment planning and execution of treatment, by combining orthodontics and oral/maxillofacial surgery to correct musculoskeletal, dento-osseous and soft tissue deformities of the jaws and associated structures.
Who goes for maxillofacial surgery?
Any individual with difficulty in the following areas should be evaluated for the surgery:
1. Difficulty in chewing, biting or swallowing
2. Speech problems
3. Chronic jaw or TMJ pain
4. Open bite
5. Protruding jaw 6. Breathing problems
Basic goals of maxillofacial surgery
Function:Normal chewing, speech, ocular (eye) function, respiratory function.
Esthetics: Establish facial harmony and balance
Stability: Avoid short and long term relapse
Minimize treatment time: Provide efficient and effective treatment
Evaluation and diagnosis of maxillofacial surgery
The most important aspect of overall patient management is thorough evaluation and diagnosis. Patient evaluation for Maxillofacial surgery can be divided into four main areas:
· Patient concerns or chief complaints
· Clinical examination
· Radiographic and imaging analysis (x-rays)
·Dental model analysis
After an examination by each of the orthognathic surgery team members (dentist, orthodontist and maxillofacial/oral surgeon), a diagnosis and coordinated treatment plan is prepared. The complete process usually takes place in several stages over the course of one to two years.
Process of Maxillofacial surgery
Any general dental maintenance, prevention or restoration should be performed prior to orthodontic and surgical intervention. Then, the first stage of treatment is the alignment of the teeth into a stable relationship with the underlying jaw by orthodontics, which prepares the dental arches for the surgical repositioning. This stage usually takes the longest, from a few months to over a year. At this stage, the abnormal bite (malocclusion) may become more noticeable. Once ready for the surgical procedures, the orthodontist and maxillofacial surgeon will review photographs, x-ray and dental models to finalize the surgical plan. The operation may involve a single jaw or both jaws (maxilla and mandible).The surgery may also be combined with other procedures, such as rhinoplasty (nose correction) or genioplasty (chin correction) to improve the general appearance of your face. The procedure may take 2-4 hours, depending on the complexity. Most patients are kept in the hospital for 2-5 days, again depending on the specifics of the procedure and post-operative condition.
Recovery after Maxillofacial surgery:
Most patients return to their normal activities within a week or two after their surgery. The surgeon will monitor the healing, and review the changes in your facial structures and occlusion (bite). The orthodontist will adjust the braces to fit the new repositioned jaw. Orthodontic treatment may continue for several months to ensure optimal positioning of the teeth.