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Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery: An Overview

Team AckoJan 18, 2024

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMFS) has emerged as one of the fastest-growing fields of medicine in recent years. The ability of this surgery to provide comprehensive care for patients with complex medical conditions has made it an essential part of the healthcare system. Read on to get an overview about Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.




What is Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery?

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery refers to a surgical specialty that involves the diagnosis, surgery, and treatment of diseases, injuries, and defects affecting the head, neck, face, jaws, and oral cavity. 

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMFS) is a recognised specialty in dentistry and requires additional years of specialised training beyond dental school. OMFS surgeons are trained to perform a wide range of surgeries, including tooth extractions, corrective jaw surgery, dental implant placement, and treatment of facial trauma. They may also work with other medical specialties to treat more complex cases.

Common procedures explained

There are certain procedures that are frequently performed by dentists and oral surgeons. These procedures range from routine wisdom teeth extractions to more complex jaw and facial surgeries. Here's a breakdown of some common procedures you may encounter.

  • Wisdom teeth extraction: This is a routine procedure where the third molars (wisdom teeth) are removed to prevent overcrowding, infection, and other complications.

  • Dental implants: This is a surgical procedure where artificial tooth roots are positioned in the jawbone to support replacement teeth.

  • Jaw surgery: This is performed to correct abnormalities or misalignments in the jaw, which can cause pain, difficulty chewing or speaking, and other issues.

  • Facial trauma surgery: This procedure is typically performed following facial injuries caused by accidents, falls, or other trauma. It may include repairing fractures, lacerations, or other damage to the facial bones or soft tissue.

Benefits of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Here's a breakdown of the benefits.

  • Improved oral health: OMFS can treat a range of oral issues such as impacted teeth, jaw misalignment, and gum disease. By addressing these issues, patients can enjoy better oral health and a reduced risk of future problems.

  • Improved overall health: OMFS can help treat conditions that may affect other parts of the body. 

  • Enhanced appearance: OMFS can also improve the appearance of the face and jaw, leading to increased confidence and self-esteem.

  • Increased self-esteem: In addition to the benefits already mentioned, OMFS can help with issues such as facial trauma and reconstructive surgery, further improving self-esteem.

  • Other benefits: These include improved ability to speak and eat comfortably, as well as relief from chronic pain or discomfort. By addressing both functional and aesthetic concerns, OMFS offers a comprehensive approach to improving oral and overall health.

Pre and post-procedure care

Before your Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, your surgeon will likely provide you with specific instructions to follow in the days leading up to your procedure. This may include recommendations on what to eat or drink, as well as guidelines on medications you should avoid.

After your surgery, it's important to take good care of yourself in order to promote healing and prevent complications. You may need to rest, avoid certain foods, and take pain medication as prescribed by your surgeon.

Risks and complications

Here are some of the risks and complications associated with Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

  • Bleeding: It is a common risk associated with any surgery. Here, it can be particularly problematic because of the abundance of blood vessels in the mouth and face.

  • Infection: It can occur if bacteria get into the surgical site. Symptoms of infection include fever, swelling, and redness around the surgical area.

  • Swelling: It’s a normal part of the healing process after surgery. However, excessive swelling can cause discomfort and difficulty eating or speaking.

  • Bruising: It can occur after surgery due to the disruption of blood vessels. It typically resolves on its own within a few days to a week.

  • Numbness: It can occur if nerves are damaged during the surgery. 

  • Pain: Pain after surgery is normal and can be managed with medication. However, severe or prolonged pain may be a sign of complications.

  • Damage to teeth, nerves, or sinuses: During surgery, there is a risk of damage to nearby teeth, nerves, or sinuses. This can lead to additional procedures to correct the damage.

  • Anaesthesia complications: Anaesthesia is generally safe, but there is always a small risk of complications, such as an allergic reaction or respiratory problems.

  • Difficulty opening mouth: After some Oral and Maxillofacial surgeries, patients may have difficulty opening their mouths due to swelling or muscle stiffness.

  • Scarring: While most surgical scars are small and heal well, some patients may develop noticeable scars after Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. It is important to discuss any concerns about scarring with your surgeon before the procedure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Listed below are common questions and their answers related to Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.


What kind of anaesthesia is used during Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery?

Depending on the procedure, various forms of anaesthesia may be used, such as local anaesthesia, general anaesthesia, or sedation.

How long does it take to recover from Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery?

Most patients can return to work or school within a few days to a week. Full recovery can take several weeks to several months.

Can I eat or drink before Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery?

Yes, you will receive specific instructions from your surgeon regarding eating and drinking before surgery. It is important to follow these instructions to avoid complications during and after the surgery.

What should I do if I experience complications after my surgery?

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience bleeding, fever, or severe pain. Follow all post-operative instructions carefully to promote healing and reduce the risk of complications.

Can Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery fix my jaw alignment issues?

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery can definitely help fix jaw alignment issues. Your surgeon will evaluate your condition and recommend the best treatment plan for you.

How soon after Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery can I resume my normal activities?

It usually depends on the extent of the surgery, but it is important to avoid strenuous activities or heavy lifting for several days after the procedure.

Are there any dietary restrictions following Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery?

Yes, there may be some dietary restrictions following Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. 

What can I do to minimise swelling and bruising after Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery?

To minimise swelling and bruising after Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, you can apply ice packs to the affected areas for the first 48-72 hours after the surgery. Your surgeon may also prescribe medication to manage swelling and pain.


Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


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