Oral and maxillofacial surgery is the surgical specialty concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the mouth, jaws, face and neck.
Specialists working in this area are known as oral and maxillofacial surgeons. (In some areas oral and maxillofacial surgeons may be referred to as oral and facial surgeons, maxillofacial surgeons or craniomaxillofacial surgeons). The specialty is unique in that it requires dual qualification in medicine and dentistry and is a recognised international specialty that, within Europe, is defined under the Medical Directives.
It is a separate specialty from Oral Surgery, which is defined under Dental Directives, and is confined to minor surgical procedures carried out within the oral cavity, and which is generally regarded as an ambulatory care specialty.
The scope of the specialty of oral and maxillofacial surgery is extensive and includes, but is not necessarily confined to:
- craniomaxillofacial trauma,
- cancers of the head and neck,
- diseases of the salivary glands,
- surgical treatment of facial disproportion - both congenital and acquired,
- cleft lip and palate,
- aesthetic facial surgery,
- facial pain,
- disorders of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ),
- surgical removal of impacted and buried teeth, cysts and benign tumours of the jaws,
- pre-prosthetic surgery including the placement of osseointegrated implants,
- management of infections of the head and neck including life-threatening fascial space infection
- conditions of the oral mucosa such as mouth ulcers and dentoalveolar infection.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons generally work in teams and frequently work alongside other specialists including ENT surgeons, neurosurgeons, orthodontists, restorative dentists, clinical oncologists and plastic surgeons.
Andrew E Brown
Revised curriculum - Bob Woodwards
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