Craniofacial surgery is plastic surgery of the cephalic extremity, including the skull, the face, and, in particular, the orbit. It involves the cephalic skeleton as well as surrounding soft tissues.
Oral maxillofacial surgery is the dental specialty that manages the underlying conditions, diseases, defects and injuries causing and/or contributing to functional and esthetic problems in the mouth, teeth, jaws and face. Closely linked to oral maxillofacial surgery, oral maxillofacial pathology focuses on diagnosing and understanding the nature of diseases and abnormal conditions (pathology) in the oral and facial region.
Congenital anomalies, defects after tumor ablation, and posttraumatic deformities are the types of pathology that can be treated. Congenital conditions should be treated early in infancy to optimize final results. Reconstruction of resultant defects after tumor ablation and trauma often requires the input of the craniofacial surgeon for both pediatric and adult patients.
The goals of surgery include correction of the dysmorphogenesis and prevention of functional impairment.
Treatments and procedures performed by oral maxillofacial surgeons address a variety of conditions and diseases of the mouth, teeth, jaw and face. These include:
- Diagnosis/treatment of potentially life-threatening infections of the maxillofacial region
- Performing biopsies and other diagnostic tests
- Diagnosis/treatment of oral cancers
- Diagnosis/management of impacted teeth, wisdom teeth, tooth extraction and dentoalveolar surgery, which encompasses all procedures relating to the teeth, supporting tissue and bony structures in the mouth
- Surgical treatment of facial pain problems related to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
- Surgical correction of oral and facial deformities caused by differences in skeletal growth between upper and lower jaws, and congenital defects, including cleft lip and palate
- Reconstructive jaw surgery to correct hard and soft tissue injuries in the upper and/or lower jaws resulting from trauma or tumor surgery
- Treatment/repair of traumatic injuries to the face, jaws, mouth and teeth
- Dental implant placement (single tooth, several teeth, entire mouth)
- Cosmetic facial procedures