Oral and Maxillofacial surgery explained

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Almost everyone visits the dentist, but there are many instances where you may require the services of a highly specialised Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, or OMS, instead. 

Precision OMS is a leading Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical practice located in Geelong. While we perform many different oral and facial procedures, our focus as an OMS is on the scope of surgery of the face, mouth, teeth and jaws. Our treatments and procedures can help you improve the appearance of your face and smile and increase your overall quality of life.

What is an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon?

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery involves detecting, diagnosing and treating a variety of issues that may affect your face and bone structure, including the jaws and oral cavity (mouth and teeth).

An OMS is a surgeon who combines medical and dental university-level training to treat common and complex oral and facial problems, such as impacted teeth, replacement of missing teeth with dental implants, head and neck cancers (both benign and malignant), facial trauma and more. Surgeons such as Mr Richard Wood will have had up to 15 years of higher-level training, as well as having accumulated surgical, medical and dental experience through ongoing daily practice. 

An Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon works directly with patients to treat and manage their oral condition, but will also often work in tandem with other specialists – such as orthodontists, plastic surgeons, ear nose and throat surgeons, sleep physicians, oncologists and anaesthetists – depending on the complexity of the treatment or procedure. 

While you can contact an OMS specialist directly, most patients are referred through either their general practitioner (GP), treating specialist or their regular dentist. 

Why use an OMS?

While dentists provide services like teeth cleaning, fillings and other minor oral procedures, complex problems require a more specialised dental professional like an OMS surgeon. If you have any of the oral issues described in the next section, an OMS may be the right choice for you.

Why? An experienced OMS has had extensive training to identify your issue and will either monitor it or put in place a treatment plan that will deliver the ideal outcome which may include surgery. Because Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons are single practitioners with combined oral, dental, medical and surgical expertise, they provide you with specialist-level care within the full scope of facial and oral medical and surgical management options available. 

Using an OMS can be an option for many people, thanks to Australia’s public healthcare system and private health insurance providers. These schemes can provide a rebate on the treatments provided by our surgeons, making it easier than ever to get the right treatment and care for your dental issue.

What type of oral and facial issues do Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons solve?

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is a broad surgical subspecialty with a strong background in dentistry. It covers a range of different treatment options and surgery options.

At Precision OMS, our surgeons are highly skilled and accredited, meaning they have the depth of knowledge and expertise required to perform everything from the simplest oral procedures to the most complicated facial and oral surgeries. 

Some of the most common oral or maxillofacial issues our surgeons solve include:

  • Dental and oral pain and infection
  • Overcrowding and other orthodontic needs – in direct alliance with your treating orthodontist
  • Facial balance or bite correction – functional and aesthetic emphasis in combined treatment with orthodontists and plastic/ENT surgeons
  • Breathing (airway optimisation) and sleep apnoea issues – in close partnership with sleep physicians
  • Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ)
  • Single-tooth replacements with dental implants
  • Denture retention – implant-borne stabilising options
  • Fixed full arch prostheses
  • Soft-tissue oral and facial injuries 
  • Significant facial and jaw issues, such as fractured facial bones or jaws and knocked-out teeth
  • Salivary gland issues
  • Urgent or elective removal of wisdom teeth
  • Head and neck diseases including cysts, tumours and malignant cancers 

Typical surgical treatments by an OMS

The treatment we recommend for any facial and dental issue will depend on your particular needs, your overall health and wellbeing and your individual surgical plan. 

At Precision OMS, we combine a dedicated approach to patient care with the latest in medical technology to develop a plan just for you. Technology enhances our ability to make an informed decision about your oral and facial surgery options and it means we can often progress to treatment sooner.

Generally, Maxillofacial Surgery falls under one of the following four categories:

Corrective jaw surgery is used for patients who are looking to improve their facial appearance or to repair dental, oral or skeletal problems. At Precision OMS, our specialists use digitally enhanced orthognathic surgical techniques to correct jaw discrepancies.

In some cases, surgery ensures your top and bottom jaw – or bite – meet in the right place, as this can affect both your jaw’s function and your appearance. Another common reason for treatment is to improve your ability to breathe – a process we often refer to as ‘airway function optimisation’. 

The Corrective jaw surgery page has more information on our approach to jaw issues and surgical treatments.

This is the treatment of any injury to the face or jaw – perhaps as a result of a sporting injury, car accident or other impact to the facial region. 

The treatment of these issues may involve using semi-rigid and reconstructive techniques to stabilise and secure the bony continuity back to its original form. This may include using small plates and screws to hold the healing bones together.

Surgery may also include fixing soft tissue issues (your nerves, gums or salivary glands, for example), or using repair techniques to address skeletal and soft tissue wounds.

An OMS is highly trained in emergency trauma scenarios, as well as in the long-term treatment and rehabilitation of facial trauma issues. At Precision OMS, our treatment strategies ensure both function and your appearance are of the utmost importance to your outcome. 

Depending on the patient and the dental issues, a tooth (or teeth) requiring extraction can prove to be either a simple or complex procedure. Treatment involves an evaluation of the tooth and the surrounding structures using 2D or 3D imaging technology, which gives us a detailed picture of the tooth and its impact on the rest of your face.

The Tooth extraction and Wisdom teeth removal pages explain our approach to these issues in greater detail.

If you’re looking to smile and laugh with confidence, or simply to enjoy the foods you love once more, an OMS can help to replace a missing tooth or teeth through dental implants. The procedure includes using specialised treatment techniques to place the implant within the jawbone allowing your restoring dentist to provide the crown replacement.

The Dental implants page explains our approach to teeth implants in more depth.

Do you need the care of an OMS?

If you’re suffering from pain or trauma, are generally unhappy with your smile, or want your teeth to regain the function they were meant for, an OMS can provide you with the right care.

Get in contact with the specialists at Precision OMS today. Call us to arrange an appointment on (03) 5229 3200, email us at info@precisionoms.com.au or visit us at 16 Myers Street, Geelong.

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