A Maxillofacial surgeon is a professional who concentrates on problems around the mouth, jaw and neck. They differ from regular dentists, who focus only on the actual teeth of a patient.
Because it is more “surgery” based, rather than dental work, a Maxillofacial surgeon will not only attend a dental college, but then go on to be placed in a residency for several more years. Many maxillofacial surgeons are trained in reconstructive surgery, such is the intricacy of the procedures involved.
If your case is too problematic to correct using orthodontics alone, then you may be referred to a maxillofacial surgeon. More complicated procedures such as the removal of impacted wisdom teeth, corrective jaw surgery or serious root canals all need to be dealt with at a higher level. If a patient has been involved in an accident, or has been unfortunate enough to be the victim of an assault, then a maxillofacial surgeon maybe needed to treat blatant injuries. Limiting nerve damage also plays a huge part in the surgeon’s ultimate goal, and the faster a patient is treated, the more likely it is that a full recovery will be made.
The removal of cysts, growths and tumours also fall under the umbrella of a maxillofacial surgeon. Dr West may take a biopsy, and then send a tissue sample to a pathologist. If the patient is unlucky enough to be diagnosed with a cancerous tumour, then the maxillofacial surgeon will work closely with an oncologist, and hopefully remove the growth with minimum impact.
A maxillofacial surgeon can help people who have been suffering their entire life with birth deformities such as a cleft palate or harelips. These disfigurements can be fixed through maxillofacial surgery, and the impact can be life changing. Facial abnormalities, more so than other parts of the body, can be socially awkward or embarrassing. A maxillofacial surgeon can restore a patient’s confidence and bring them an undiscovered new lease of life.