Oral and maxillofacial surgery refers to any surgery performed to correct the function and/ or aesthetics of the jaws, mouth and facial structures. These surgeries are recommended for treating conditions, defect, aesthetics or injury involving the face, neck, mouth and jaws.
Maxillofacial surgeries treat several conditions, such as:
- Impacted tooth
- Decayed tooth
- Congenital facial and jaw disproportion
- Oral cancer
- Facial trauma
- Salivary gland disease
- Temporomandibular joint disorder
- Various tumours or cysts in the mouth or lower part of the face
PREPARATION BEFORE PROCEDURE
Before the surgery, your health will be assessed by your doctor and you would be asked to take some tests to find if you are fit for the surgery. If you are fit to undergo surgery, your doctor would explain you about the procedure in details.
If you smoke, quit smoking as it may negatively affect the post-operative outcomes. You would be given instructions about when to stop eating before the surgery. Brush and floss your teeth properly before the surgery.
Some of the common types of maxillofacial surgeries are:
Orthognathic Surgery: This surgery is performed to correct the developmental abnormalities of the facial bones and jaws, and to create straight jaws. The most common indication for orthognathic surgery is malocclusion (incorrect alignment of the upper and lower teeth) that can lead to difficulty in eating, poor dental appearance, and poor facial aesthetics. This surgery involves correcting the positions of the jaw by osteotomy (cutting parts of the jawbone and repositioning the jaw and improves the teeth alignment and facial appearance. Usually, this surgery is carried out along with orthodontics treatment.
Craniofacial Surgery: This type of surgery is performed to correct the conditions that affect the soft and hard tissues in the head and face region. The following are examples of craniofacial conditions:
- Craniofacial dysostosis syndromes: It refers to a group of conditions distinguished by abnormality of the bones and joints in the skull and face. In this condition, usually the skull has a tall, wide shape due to fused coronal sutures in the skull.
- Craniosynostoses: In this condition, one or more joints between the bones in the baby’s skull gets closed prematurely.
- Cranio-facial clefts: It is a large group of defects that affect the cranium and face. The defects may range from cleft lip/ palate to extensive clefts that results in significant malformation.
- Encephalocoeles: It is a neural tube defect in which contents within the skull protrude out through the defect in the skull.
These conditions usually develop in children less than two years of age. For treating such conditions, maxillofacial reconstruction along with neurosurgery is performed.
Maxillofacial trauma surgery: Any trauma to the face, such complex facial injuries, fractured facial bones and jaw, injuries of the neck and face region, and reconnect severed nerves and ducts, can be treated by maxillofacial surgeries.
Dentoalveolar surgery: This type of surgery is performed to treat conditions involving the teeth and surrounding supporting tissue. The examples of the dentoalveolar surgery are:
- Extraction of the tooth due to decay, problem in the surrounding bone or fracture
- Removal of an impacted tooth
- Tooth transplantation
- Removal of cysts in the jaw
- Pre-orthodontic surgery (exposing the impacted tooth through surgical removal of the overlying bone or gum tissue)
- Dental implants (artificial tooth root used to fill the area of the missing tooth)
- Pre-prosthetic surgery performed to improve or construct the function of dentures
Surgery to treat the pathological condition: Surgery is done to treat benign and malignant tumours, cysts in the face, mouth and throat region, severe infections of the salivary gland and oral cavity. After removal of the tumours, reconstructive surgeries of the mouth and the face are performed to restore the functional ability and the facial appearance.
Simple surgeries are usually performed under local anaesthesia. But, major complex surgeries are performed under general anaesthesia.
Most of the maxillofacial surgeries are done as outpatient surgeries. However, in some complex surgery, you may need to stay in the hospital for a few days. If any stitches are given during the surgery, you will be called after a few days to remove the stitches.
- Eat soft foods that require less chewing
- Avoid acidic or spicy food as it may irritate your gums
- After tooth extraction, avoid using straws for drinking beverages
- Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco
FACTORS AFFECTING COST
The cost of maxillofacial surgery may vary depending upon:
- the type of procedures
- the number of procedures
- the general health of the patient
- the type of anaesthesia involved
For the initial two days, consume cold and soft food. Do not spit out and limit your physical activities. You may experience swelling and tenderness in the extracted area, take prescribed medication for managing those symptoms. Keep extracted area clean and prevent food lodgement that can cause infection.
Dental implants are made up of metal frames or post that are placed into the jaw-bone under the gums.
Dental implants are intended to be permanent. However, several factors affect the long-term success of implant, like maintenance visits and taking oral hygiene measures. Some studies have shown that the success rate of the implant-supported teeth is about 35 years.
The most common benefits of orthognathic surgery are:
- Improvement in the function of the jaw
- Occlusion of the teeth
- Improved lip function
- Improved airway
- Improved facial appearance
- Improved speech
- Improved overall oral health
- Correction of obstructive sleep apnea
The time of the surgery depends on the type of surgical procedures involved. Usually, it ranges between one and half hour to six hours.