What is Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery?

Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery (OMFS) is the specialty of dentistry that includes the diagnosis, surgical, and adjunctive treatment of diseases, injuries and defects, including both the functional and aesthetic aspects of the hard and soft tissue of the oral and maxillofacial region. What this really means is that we deal with the diagnosis and management of problems from the clavicles (collar bones) to the brain. In this area, we do overlap with some other medical specialties. We are one of the seven recognized specialties of dentistry which, in addition to oral & maxillofacial surgery, include orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, prosthodontics, endodontics, and oral pathology. Many oral and maxillofacial surgeons also have medical degrees and much of our work is carried out in hospitals alongside other medical specialties.

The specialty of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery is uniquely positioned to care for patients with problems in the head and neck due to our broad training background.
It is the combination of dentistry, medicine and surgery that allows us to treat patients with a unique perspective on their condition and allow for comprehensive care of diseases and conditions of the oral and maxillofacial region. 

Oral & Maxillofacial surgeons are the only recognized dental specialists who, after completing dental school, are surgically trained in an American Dental Association-accredited hospital-based residency program for a minimum of four additional years. They train alongside medical residents in internal medicine, general surgery and anesthesiology, and also spend time in otolaryngology, plastic surgery, emergency medicine and other specialty areas. Their training focuses almost exclusively on the hard (i.e., bone) and soft (i.e., skin, muscle) tissue of the face, mouth, jaws, head, and neck. Their knowledge and surgical expertise uniquely qualify them to diagnose and treat the functional and esthetic conditions in this anatomical area.

The scope of oral and maxillofacial surgery practice includes, among others:

  • Outpatient Anesthesia
  • Dentoalveolar Surgery to manage diseases of the teeth and their supporting soft and hard tissues
  • Surgical Correction of Maxillofacial Skeletal Deformities
  • Cleft and Craniofacial Surgery
  • Facial Trauma Surgery
  • Temporomandibular Joint Surgery
  • Surgical Management of the Complex Airway
  • Pathologic Conditions, such as head and neck cancer
  • Facial Reconstructive Surgery
  • Facial Cosmetic Surgery
  • Surgical Correction of Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

Learn more about this area of specialty in dentistry.