Maxillofacial surgery is a term not often used anymore in Arizona dentist or oral surgeon offices. Technically speaking, maxillofacial surgery is a specialization of dentistry that focuses on the mouth, jaw and neck. It’s a highly specialized field, and the relationship between your Arizona dentist and your Arizona maxillofacial surgeon can be similar to that of your family physician and your radiologist or cardiologist. Maxillofacial surgeons are trained in many techniques, but all involve a very particular part of your body.
Most Arizona oral surgeons attend dental school as any other dentist would, and then attend an additional residency for surgery purposes and hands-on practice, much like a cardiologist would begin their career with a semester of residency in an emergency hospital. And, like a cardiologist or radiologist, a maxillofacial surgeon must learn the exact techniques of many complex and intricate surgeries that involve important nerves which run through the face. Training can take many years before an oral surgeon is able to become board certified.
The nerves of the face are incredibly difficult to initially recognize, and it takes years of practice and a skilled and steady hand to be able to perform surgery around these nerves without damaging them. These nerves conduct a variety of facial movements including wrinkling the brow, showing teeth, frowning, closing and opening the eyes, pursing the lips and puffing out the cheeks, and more.
Basically, every movement of your face can be affected by these nerves, and every movement can be altered by maxillofacial surgery. Hence, it is extremely important that your Arizona maxillofacial surgeon is exceedingly exceptionally at his or her craft because the wrong move could mean lasting effects.
In most cases of oral surgery, your local dentist will refer you to a specialist such as Wayne G Thorpe to remove impacted wisdom teeth, address facial pain, fix overbites and jaw deformities, and much more. The most popular reason to visit an Arizona maxillofacial surgeon is the common case of wisdom teeth removal. Most adults will have to go through this surgery at some point in their lifetime.
But oral surgeons also specialize in reconstructive surgery of the jaw area, so sometimes after a severe accident that results in facial injuries, a family physician or dentist might refer you to a maxillofacial surgeon. And with the surgeon’s intense knowledge of facial nerves, in many cases they can also repair those damaged nerves after the accident.
Reconstructive surgery can also mean helping a patient after being diagnosed with cancer or other kinds of tumor surrounding the face. Your Arizona maxillofacial surgeon can work with your cancer specialist to remove the damaged tissue and repair the damaged nerves after cancer surgery. The same goes with birth defects or facial deformities.
Most people think of their Arizona maxillofacial surgeon, or oral surgeon, as just the guy who removes their wisdom teeth, but in reality these specialists have far more up their sleeve than just wisdom teeth extractions. They can literally change a person’s life with reconstructive surgery, or ease a patient of chronic pain by repairing facial nerve damage.