Oral and maxillofacial surgery treats a wide variety of injuries, diseases, and defects in the hard and soft tissues of the jaws, face, head, and neck. It is recognized internationally as a surgical specialty, and is one of the nine specialties of dentistry determined by the American Dental Association (ADA).
Oral Surgeons: Changing Lives with a Smile
After completing dental school, oral and maxillofacial surgeons are are trained for a minimum of 4 years in an ADA-accredited and hospital-based residency program. Their schooling focuses almost exclusively on the hard and soft tissues of the mouth, jaws, and face, and their knowledge and skills qualify them to detect and treat conditions involving the oral and maxillofacial region. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons train in internal medicine, general surgery, and anesthesiology, and also study otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), emergency care, plastic surgery, and other surgical specialties.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons often work in conjunction with orthodontists to create balanced facial structures, proper and functional bites, and beautiful smiles.
Corrective Jaw Surgery
Corrective jaw, or orthognathic surgery, is performed to reposition the upper jaw, lower jaw, and chin in order to correct skeletal and dental abnormalities such as tooth and jaw misalignment. This surgery can improve your ability to chew, speak, and breathe. You may need corrective jaw surgery if you have difficulty chewing or biting food, excessive wear on your teeth, a receding chin, a protruding jaw, or sleep apnea.
Mandibular (Lower Jaw) Deficiency
Mandibular (Lower Jaw) Excess
Posterior Maxillary (Top Jaw) Excess with Open Bite
Wisdom teeth are the last set of teeth to develop. Ideally, when they emerge from the gum line, the jaw is large enough to accommodate them, but more often than not, they cannot emerge and become impacted. An impacted wisdom tooth may need to be removed. Impacted wisdom teeth that are partially or fully erupted can be difficult to clean and usually have a high risk of tooth decay, recurring dental infections, and periodontal disease. The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons advises that, in order to prevent future issues and ensure proper healing, patients have their wisdom teeth removed by the time they are young adults.
Maxillofacial injuries, or facial trauma, are injuries to the mouth, jaw, or face. Broken jaw or facial bones are most common types of serious maxillofacial injury. Fractures may occur in the lower or upper jaw, cheekbones, palate, or eye sockets, or combination of these areas. Serious injuries like this can affect your eyesight and your ability to breathe, swallow, and speak well. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon’s expertise in treating these injuries is indispensable. The best treatment is to prevent injury, which is why it is extremely important to use seat belts, and wear protective mouth guards, masks, and helmets during sports.
Temporomandibular Joint Surgery
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can be found where the lower jaw meets the skull in front of the ear. It is responsible for the function and movement of the lower jaw. Discomfort such as jaw pain, headaches, earaches, reduced ability to open or close your mouth, clicking, or grating sensations may be signs of a Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD). TMJ treatment ranges from conservative dental techniques to complex jaw surgery. If Dr. Galati does not detect any clear joint damage or non-surgical techniques are inefficient, the best option may be to undergo oral or maxillofacial surgery in Scottsdale, Arizona. Your procedure may involve arthroscopy, or the repair of damaged facial tissue through a surgical approach.
You are welcome to contact Galati Orthodontics at 480-656-7801 today if you have further questions about a surgical procedure or are wondering if surgery is right for you.