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Oral and maxillofacial surgery involves surgical treatment to correct diseases, injuries and defects of your face, jaw or mouth. Maxillofacial surgery can address a wide variety of dental problems and conditions, such as:

  • Preparing the mouth for dental implants and prostheses (such as dentures).
  • Placing dental implants.
  • Surgical extraction of impacted teeth.
  • Bone grafting, or transplanting bone from another area of the body to replace bone that’s missing in your jaw.
  • Reconstructing your jaw to correct an abnormal bite (Orthognathic surgery)
  • Treating Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders that affect the area where your lower jaw attaches to your skull.
  • Treating injuries related to trauma to your face, jaw and mouth.
  • Correcting congenital (present at birth) abnormalities such as cleft lip and palate.
  • Diagnosing and treating cysts, tumors, cancer and other growths in your head and neck.
  • Diagnosing reasons for chronic facial pain.
  • Treating facial trauma (injury), such as facial fractures or damaged maxillofacial tissue.


A. What’s the difference between oral surgery and maxillofacial surgery?

Maxillofacial surgeons and 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.

B. What happens during maxillofacial surgery?

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.

C. What happens after maxillofacial surgery?

After maxillofacial surgery, you may have some discomfort or pain as the medication wears off. You’ll also probably experience:

  • Bleeding
  • Bruising.
  • Limited use of the jaw and teeth.
  • Swelling.

    Your doctor 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.

    B. What is the difference between OPG and RVG?

    Radiovisuography (RVG) is used to take small intraoral radiographs which closely visualise two to three tooth and surrounding structure while Orthopantogram (OPG) is taken extraorally to visualise entire maxilla and mandible.

    D. What are the risks or complications of maxillofacial surgery?

    As with any operation, there are risks with maxillofacial surgery, such as:

  • Bleeding.
  • Dry socket, a painful condition that can occur after tooth extraction involving problems with blood clots.
  • Infection.
  • Injury to teeth, lips, tongue, cheeks, chin, nasal cavity, sinuses, or maxillofacial bones or tissue.
  • Numbness or changes in sensation in the mouth or other areas of your face.
  • Pain.
  • Possible damage to nerves that move some of the muscles of your face.
  • Root fragments, a rare complication when a piece of tooth root breaks off and stays in place after surgery.
  • TMJ disorders.
  • E. What’s recovery like after maxillofacial surgery?

    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 doctor 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 doctor will give you specific instructions, which may include:

  • Apply ice packs to reduce inflammation.
  • Avoid foods that are crunchy, chewy or hard.
  • Avoid tobacco products and alcohol.
  • Don’t exercise for a few days because it can increase bleeding and swelling.
  • Rest to prevent complications.
  • Rinse your teeth instead of brushing them to kill bacteria in the mouth.
  • F. When should I call my healthcare provider?

    After maxillofacial surgery, seek medical attention if you experience any signs of infection or other complications:

  • Fever or chills.
  • Abnormal swelling or pain that doesn’t get better gradually.
  • Salty, metallic or bad taste in the mouth that doesn’t go away.
  • Excessive pus or blood.
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