Oral and maxillofacial surgery, abbreviated MKG, is also known as cranio-maxillo-facial surgery. This special field deals with diseases of the oral cavity, jaw and face. Maxillofacial Surgeons are specialists in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders of the mouth, face and jaw. They treat injuries, illnesses and malformations. If you suffer from functional disorders such as chewing, swallowing or speech problems, a maxillofacial surgeon is the specialist of choice. The same applies to changes in the shape of the jaw, face, oral cavity and teeth.

Oral and maxillofacial surgery involves many diseases. The anatomy of the head and neck area is complex. In Germany it is prescribed that physicians of this specialism complete two training courses. You must have a degree in both dentistry and human medicine. Dentistry and human medicine overlap in terms of symptomatology, diagnostics and therapy. Maxillofacial specialists cooperate closely with various specialist disciplines, for example with the departments of paediatrics, ear, nose and throat medicine and orthodontics.

Overview of this article

Which diseases are treated in MKG surgery?

Injuries to the face and jaw often require surgical intervention, as well as malposition of the jaw, tumors or jaw necrosis (parts of the bone die). For oral surgery include:

  • surgical removal of cysts and
  • Teeth, root resection (removal of the root tip)
  • and treatment of infections emanating from the teeth.

In addition, the implantation of teeth in conjunction with any necessary bone structure belongs to the MKG. The field of plastic surgery in the mouth, jaw and face is also part of the treatment spectrum. For example, patients with malformations such as cleft lip and palate are treated by oral and maxillofacial surgeons.

The Treatment areas of the oral and maxillofacial surgery in particular:

  • Oral surgery, surgery in the oral cavity
  • Treatment of the oral mucous membrane
  • Tooth and jaw misalignments (malocclusion)
  • Removal of wisdom teeth
  • Insertion of dental implants (implant)
  • Operations in the jaw area
  • Treatment of temporomandibular joint disorders
  • Removal of cysts and tumors
  • Therapy for infections of the mouth, jaw and face
  • Treatment of injuries and fractures (fractures)
  • Augmentation
  • Restoration / plastic surgery
  • Ear surgery
  • Operations in cleft palate
  • Surgery in the area of ​​the salivary gland
  • Surgery in the area of ​​the nerves of the mouth, jaw and face area

Which Education and training has a maxillofacial surgeon?

When it comes to intervention on the human face, the highest level of experience, specialization and sensitivity is required. The functions of the facial expressions should be preserved or restored. At the same time, it is very much about aesthetic aspects.

In Germany, oral, maxillofacial and facial surgery specialists must have a degree in dentistry and additionally human medicine. This is followed by a five-year further education in a specialist clinic. There, the prospective MKG specialist gathers broad professional experience in the entire spectrum of the specialist field. From tumor surgery to reconstructive (restorative) surgery, from jaw conversion surgery to dental implantology, the catalog of treatments and operations that fall into this phase ranges.

After completing a specialist, many oral and maxillofacial surgeons complete a two-year additional training for plastic-aesthetic surgery. The entire training takes in these cases over 15 years. As a result, the maxillofacial surgeon is highly specialized for all surgical procedures that occur in the facial area. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery specialists often receive double doctoral degrees and each have a doctorate med. and dr. med. dent. title.

What should patients pay attention to before and after surgery?

Before the treatment, a careful examination. Your doctor will collect your medical history and ask you in detail about your symptoms. For this, it is important that you bring documentation about previous findings such as X-rays and possibly your medication plan for examination. Your doctor will inform and advise you about the findings and the diagnosis. He discusses with you the possibilities of intervention and possible alternatives. An individual risk assessment, also for anesthesia, also belongs to the medical consultation. In medically indicated issues, he cooperates closely with your supervising specialist or general practitioner. Smaller procedures can often be performed on an outpatient basis and under local anesthesia.

Before each operation is a careful preparation, then a just as careful aftercare. Especially in the jaw and face area, rapid wound healing contributes decisively to the good result, also in terms of aesthetics. As a patient, you can greatly influence the success of therapy through your cooperation. This includes stopping smoking at least temporarily. Smoking causes wound healing disorders and significantly reduces the prognosis for success of a surgical procedure. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to stop smoking before smoking or to reduce it very much.

After surgery, postoperative swelling may occur for up to three weeks. Cooling envelopes and lymphatic drainage are helpful here. Direct sunlight, solarium, sauna and sports should be avoided during this time. Depending on the severity of the operation and the individual situation, the sutures may be removed after one to two weeks.

An important prerequisite for a sustainable treatment success in the field of teeth is the excellent oral hygiene. This includes the careful cleaning of the interdental spaces with brush and floss. Only in this way can you enjoy your teeth and implants permanently. The long-term success of dental restorations depends directly on good dental care. At regular intervals of six months a professional tooth cleaning should be carried out.