Glossary: Oral and maxillofacial surgery

Oral and maxillofacial surgery is a specialty of dentistry concerned with the diagnosis and surgical treatment of congenital or acquired diseases, dysfunction, defects or injuries of the mouth, jaws, face, neck and associated regions.


To specialize in oral and maxillofacial surgery in the United States, a dental school graduate [DDS or DMD] must complete either a four-year or a six-year residency program. The four-year programs grant a certificate of specialty training in oral and maxillofacial surgery. The six-year programs grant the specialty certificate in addition to a medical degree (MD).


Oral and maxillofacial surgery deals with : Dentoalveolar surgery: surgical removal of impacted teeth, difficult extractions, removal of teeth on medically compromised patients, exposure of teeth for orthodontic reasons. Diagnosis and treatment of non-cancerous cysts, tumors and growth, cancerous conditions of the oral and facial region, of skin lesions (skin cancers) in the region, facial pain, temporomandibular joint (TMJ, or jaw joint) disorders Facial bony trauma: fractures of the lower and upper jaw, cheek bones, noses, eye sockets, frontal bone, etc. Facial soft tissue trauma: repair of facial and oral lacerations Osseointegrated (bone anchored) implants: dental and craniofacial implants Adjunctive measures in the treatment of sleep apnea (Mandibular advancement splints and jaw advancement surgery etc) Orthognathic Surgery (jaw realignment surgery) to maximise facial function and aesthetics Reconstructive surgery Nerve surgery Facial aesthetic surgery Salivary glands surgery