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What is a Maxillofacial Prosthetics

Maxillofacial Prosthetics is a subspecialty of Prosthodontics that involves rehabilitation of patients with defects or disabilities that were present when born or developed due to disease or trauma. Prostheses are often needed to replace missing areas of bone or tissue and restore oral functions such as swallowing, speech, and chewing. In other instances, a prosthesis for the face or body may be indicated for cosmetic and psychosocial reasons. Prosthetic devices may also be created to position or shield facial structures during radiation therapy. Patients that typically desire prosthetic care are those that have been in an accident, have had surgical removal of diseased tissues, or have a neuromuscular disorder from ALS or a stroke. Children can also be born without full development of ears, teeth, or palate and need specialized care. Maxillofacial Prosthodontists are accustomed to working cooperatively with ENTs, oral surgeons, general and specialty dentists, plastic surgeons, neurologists, radiation oncologists, speech pathologists, anaplastologists and various ancillary personnel. The overall goal of all maxillofacial prosthetic treatment is to improve the quality of life.

Featured below are some examples of prosthetic treatment which are not all-inclusive. Often these prostheses are combined with traditional dental therapy to restore health, function and esthetics to the oral cavity. This comprehensive care is possible because Maxillofacial Prosthodontists initially completed 3 years of advanced training in complex oral rehabilitation. If you believe that you might benefit from one of the following services or related treatment, please contact a Maxillofacial Prosthodontist near you for further information.

Types of Sturctures of Maxillofacial

Prostheses can be supported by different types of structures in the areas in which they are applied. By this means, prostheses can be classified as:

  • Teeth-supported prostheses: prostheses that are supported only by teeth in the intra-oral area.
  • Tissue-supported prostheses: prostheses that are supported only by the tissue in the edentulous area.
  • Teeth-and-tissue-supported prostheses: prostheses that are supported by both teeth and tissue in the area in which prostheses are applied.
  • Implant-supported prostheses: prostheses supported by implants in the bone.

Extraoral Prostheses:

  • Ocular Prosthesis:Replaces Eye
  • Orbital Prosthesis:Replaces Eye and surrounding tissues
  • Auricular Prosthesis:Replace Ear
  • Nasal Prosthesis:Replaces Nose
  • Midfacial Prosthesis:Replaces part of the face which may involve more than one structure
  • Somatic Prosthesis:Replaces a body part like fingers, hands, etc
  • Radiation Shield:Worn during radiation therapy for protection of normal tissues

Intraoral Prostheses:

  • Surgical Obturator Prosthesis:Covers palate after partial or total loss of the maxilla (upper jaw). This is used after surgery to provide closure.
  • Interim and Definitive Obturator:Covers palate after partial or total loss of maxilla or due to cleft palate. It restores teeth and gums and has an extension which closes the defect or hole for swallowing, eating, chewing, and speaking.
  • Palatal Lift Prosthesis:Helps soft palate assume correct position for speech.
  • Palatal Augmentation (Drop) Prosthesis:Alters palate prosthetically for speech.
  • Mandibular Resection Prosthesis:Replaces portion of the jaw that has been lost and restores gums and teeth.
  • Fluoride Carrier:Tray filled with Fluoride gel for patients with dry mouth from medications, radiation therapy, or certain medical conditions. Helps to strengthen, protect and preserve compromised teeth.

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