What Does "Maxillofacial" Mean?

Maxillofacial" refers to the face and jaws, while "Oral" refers to the mouth.


What is an Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon?

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are dental specialists who treat conditions, defects, injuries and esthetic aspects of the mouth, teeth, jaws and face. Their training involves a four year graduate degree in dentistry and the completion of a minimum four year hospital surgical residency program. 

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons care for patients who experience such conditions as problem wisdom teeth, facial pain and misaligned jaws. They treat accident victims suffering from facial injuries, offer reconstructive and dental implant surgery, and care for patients with tumors or cysts of the jaws and functional and esthetic conditions of the maxillofacial areas.

Some procedures performed by Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons include:


  • Dentoalveolar surgery (surgery to remove impacted teeth, difficult tooth extractions, extractions on medically compromised patients, bone grafting or preprosthetic surgery to provide better anatomy for the placement of dentures or other dental prostheses)
  • Diagnosis and treatment of benign pathology of the region (cysts, tumors etc.).
  • Diagnosis and treatment of malignant pathology of the region (oral & head and neck cancer).
  • Surgery to insert osseointegrated (bone fused) dental implants.
  • Diagnosis and treatment of congenital craniofacial malformations such as cleft lip and palate and cranial vault malformations (craniofacial surgery).
  • Diagnosis and treatment of chronic facial pain disorders.
  • Diagnosis and treatment of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.
  • Diagnosis and treatment of dysgnathia (incorrect bite), and orthognathic (literally "straight bite") reconstructive surgery.
  • Diagnosis and treatment of soft and hard tissue trauma of the oral and maxillofacial region (jaw fractures, cheek bone fractures, nasal fractures, skull fractures and eye socket fractures).


This list illustrates several examples of treatments that oral and maxillofacial surgeons do. Many other procedures are performed. 
Talk with your dentist if you have any questions about oral and maxillofacial surgery.