What is Oral Maxillofacial Surgery?
Oral maxillofacial surgery (OMFS) is a surgical specialty involving the mouth, jaw, face, neck, and salivary glands.
OMFS is a subspecialty of dentistry.
It’s a surgical specialty dealing with complex and difficult problems in the mouth and jaw.
OMFS is practiced by dentists who have undergone additional training.
They may perform surgeries such as:
- Removal of wisdom teeth
- Implant placement
- Tooth extractions
- Bone grafting
- Mouth cancer treatment
- Cosmetic facial surgery
- Other operations
OMFS is also involved in other areas such as:
- Nerve repair
- Facial paralysis
- Mucosal disorders
- Tongue and jaw surgery
- Mouth and neck cancer treatment
- Orofacial clefts
What Does an Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon Do?
A person who specializes in OMFS is called an oral maxillofacial surgeon.
Oral maxillofacial surgeons are highly skilled in the following procedures:
- Orthognathic surgery
- Leukoplakia removal
- Facial fractures repair
- Lip repair
- Cosmetic facial surgery
What Are the Duties of an Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon?
An oral maxillofacial surgeon must possess the following skills:
- Surgical ability
- High-level diagnostic and operative skills
- Patient communication skills
- Problem solving skills
- Ethical behavior
What Is the Education & Training of an Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon?
Oral maxillofacial surgeons have a bachelor’s degree in dentistry.
They must complete 3 years of advanced training post-dental school.
Training consists of:
- Advanced surgical training
- Clinical training
What Do Oral Maxillofacial Surgeons Differ From Other Dentists?
An oral maxillofacial surgeon is trained in performing complex surgical procedures.
They are also well versed in the following dental specialties:
- Oral pathology
- Pediatric dentistry
- Restorative dentistry
What Are the Roles of an Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon?
Oral maxillofacial surgeons are responsible for the following:
- Treatment planning
- Surgical management
- Conduct of surgical procedures
- Postoperative care
Need to know
- At least 2 appointments
- The first consultation visit is where your oral surgeon will go over your surgery, including the cost
- The next visit will be for the surgery
- Further appointments may be needed if you have any problems after the surgery
How long it takes
- The consultation will usually take around 30 to 45 minutes.
- Treatment visits will usually be at least 1 to 2 hours, however they will vary depending on the scale of the treatment
You may be asked about
- Your dental history and medical history
- Your oral health care routine at home
Before your appointment
For the consultation you will not need any special preparation, but you should have knowledge to hand about your dental and medical history.
Before surgery with intravenous or IV sedation you should:
- Take pre-operative medication at the time prescribed
- Have someone accompany you and drive you to your appointment
- Follow the pre-sedation fasting protocol given to you by your dentist
- Wear something warm and comfortable with loose sleeves
Before having general anaesthetic at the hospital you should:
- Arrange transportation to and from the hospital
- Be at the hospital at the time allocated to you
- Follow the pre-anaesthesia protocol given to you
After your appointment
If you have had any wisdom teeth extraction procedure done:
- Use ice packs as much as possible to prevent swelling during the first 48 hours
- Don’t rinse your mouth out on the day of the surgery as it will cause bleeding
- Don’t smoke for as long as possible after surgery
- Be careful with hot food and drinks
- Eat a soft food diet
- On the day after the removal, rinse three times a day after meals with warm, salty water
- Use Savacol mouthwash from the following day, morning and night
If you have had surgery under sedation or general anaesthetic, you must:
- Be accompanied home
- Rest for around 2 to 4 hours following surgery
- Not drive or operate machinery until the following day
It’s normal to experience some swelling and discomfort following oral surgery. We usually recommend taking a couple of days off work to rest. It’s also normal to experience some bleeding or slight oozing from the wounds. Your oral surgeon will give you gauze to help control the bleeding. You will need to bite down with gentle pressure for around 20 to 30 minutes if this happens.