Maxillofacial surgery is an operation performed by a highly trained dental surgeon. A variety of maxillofacial procedures can treat diseases, fix injuries or correct defects in your face, jaw or mouth. As with any operation, maxillofacial surgery has certain risks. But the procedures help many reduce pain, fix deformities and restore function.
Maxillofacial surgery is a special type of dentistry. It involves operations to correct diseases, injuries and defects of your face, jaw or mouth. Maxillofacial surgeons are advanced specialists who diagnose and treat problems with:
Maxillofacial surgery is performed to:
Maxillofacial surgery can address a wide variety of dental problems and conditions, such as:
Procedures can also treat jaw problems, such as:
Other reasons to perform maxillofacial surgery include:
Maxillofacial surgeons are oral surgeons are the same thing. Training involves oral and maxillofacial surgery but some surgeons limit their practice to oral surgery and office-based procedures while others prefer more hospital-based procedures.
If you need maxillofacial surgery, your healthcare provider (primary care provider or dentist) will refer you to a specialist.
The maxillofacial surgeon will meet with you for a consultation to:
Maxillofacial surgery varies greatly depending on the problem and procedure. Some surgeries can be done in an outpatient setting, and you can go home the same day. Other treatment plans involve multiple surgeries to achieve the desired results.
Maxillofacial surgeons are trained and authorized to deliver anesthesia to prevent pain or put you to sleep. Your healthcare team will talk to you about whether you'll need anesthesia and what type is best for you.
Toward the end of the procedure, your surgeon may use stitches to close any surgical wounds. Your surgeon also may place packing in your mouth to protect your teeth or the wound and to absorb fluids such as blood and pus.
After maxillofacial surgery, your healthcare team will move you to a recovery room so you can wake up from the anesthesia. You may have some discomfort or pain as the medication wears off.
You’ll also probably experience:
Your surgical team will talk to you about how the surgery went, when you can go home and how to take care of yourself during recovery.
If you receive anesthesia, you should have someone drive you home.
Maxillofacial surgery can permanently improve pain, function and appearance.
As with any operation, there are risks with maxillofacial surgery, such as:
Recovery after maxillofacial surgery depends on the type of procedure you have. You’ll likely experience some discomfort, sensitivity, swelling and bleeding for at least a few days. Your healthcare provider may recommend pain medications to keep you comfortable.
If you received stitches, they’ll either dissolve or be removed in about a week.
You may have to avoid certain foods and activities for days or weeks. Your healthcare provider will give you specific instructions, which may include:
After maxillofacial surgery, seek medical attention if you experience any signs of infection or other complications:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Maxillofacial surgery involves an operation to correct a disease, injury or defect of your face, jaw or mouth. Maxillofacial surgeons are dental specialists who have advanced training. They perform various procedures to reduce pain, fix deformities and restore function in the lower face.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/18/2021.
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