The oral and maxillofacial surgeon changes facial features by performing surgery on underlying bone structure. This type of surgery is called orthognathic surgery. They are also involved with the surgical correction of cleft lip and palate, oro-facial trauma and the surgical treatment of oral cancers.
Orthognathic surgery is done to correct facial defects like
- Recessive lower jaw relationship to upper jaw
- Protruding lower jaw relationship to upper jaw
- Open bite relationship, where teeth do not meet
- Facial asymmetry
- Combinations of the above
Orthognathic surgery is a part of cosmetic dentistry, it requires close co-ordination between a number of specialists like the Oral and maxillofacial Surgeon, orthodontist and prosthodontist to correct the problem for the patient.
Orthognathic surgery is performed in a hospital. Usually the surgeon makes incisions from inside the mouth so that no scars are left on the face. Cuts in the bone or osteotomies are made with special instruments. The bones are properly rearranged and wired internally for several weeks ,so that the bones can set in their new positions. Instead of wires, internal rigid fixation , in the form of plates and screws may be used to allow the patient to regain mobility more quickly.