Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMFS) is a specialty that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of patients with diseases affecting the mouth, jaws, face and neck.

The scope of the specialty is large and includes the surgical and non-surgical management of conditions of the hard and soft tissues of the face, jaws and neck.

What is oral surgery and oral medicine?

Oral surgery includes all conditions affecting the teeth, gums and their supporting (alveolar) bone, which is outside the scope of ‘usual’ dental surgery (ie the restoration of teeth, crowns, bridges and other prostheses). Oral surgery therefore includes the treatment of:

  • Infection of the teeth, gums and other oral tissue
  • Impacted teeth (teeth growing sideways or downwards instead of through the gum)
  • Any conditions or disease affecting the mouth
  • Tumours of the mouth
  • Cysts of the jaw

What do oral and maxillofacial surgeons do?

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons diagnose and treat conditions of the mouth, face and adjacent structures, usually in hospital environments. They have two undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in both medicine and dentistry with additional specialist training experience in the surgical anatomy and pathology of conditions affecting the face, mouth, jaws and the rest of face and skull.

Procedures undertaken by oral and maxillofacial surgeons include:

  • surgical treatment of facial injuries – complex craniofacial fractures, fractures of the lower jaw, upper jaw, cheekbone, nose, and orbit (sometimes all of these together) and soft tissue injuries of the mouth, face and neck
  • removal of head and neck benign and malignant tumours
  • reconstructive surgery – including micro-vascular free tissue transfer
  • removal of impacted teeth and complex buried dental roots
  • removal of jaw tumours and cysts
  • temporomandibular (jaw) joint problems
  • salivary gland surgery – for benign and malignant lesions
  • surgery of skin lesions of the head and neck