This is a field where dentistry and medicine meet. Around the globe, some countries classify maxillofacial surgery as a branch of medicine whereas others classify it as dentistry. However, a practitioner of this field is required to have a degree in both, medicine as well as dentistry.
Maxillofacial surgery is concerned with the jaws, mouth, face, skull and other related regions. Practitioners may deal with diseases, disorders and surgeries like:
- Cancers of the head and neck, including reconstruction
- Cosmetic facial surgery
- Craniofacial surgery
- Pediatric maxillofacial surgery
- Maxillofacial regeneration- this technique involves the use of stem cells
- Dentoalveolar surgery- this procedure is the extraction or removal of teeth but includes a highly complex procedure as compared to those of a dentist. This also involves other complex dental procedures.
- Chronic facial pain disorders
- Corrective jaw surgery- if your dentist may feel that the alignment of your jaw is incorrect, then he may send you to a maxillofacial surgeon to improve the alignment of your jaw.
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Dental implants and complex procedures like bone grafting
A maxillofacial surgeon uses anesthesia to perform his procedures and has to receive general anesthesia training as well as pediatric anesthesia training before he is allowed to practice. Interestingly, a maxillofacial surgeon is the only specialist who can administer all kinds of anesthesia aside from a trained anesthesiologist. They will also be trained in general surgery and emergency medicine.
Some of the above mentioned procedures can be performed by a dentist or an orthodontist but if a deeper level of sedation is required or if the case is complex, then a maxillofacial surgeon will be recommended.