WHAT IS A MAXILLOFACIAL PROSTHODONTIST?
Prosthodontists have completed three years of residency beyond four or five years of dental school. Following that, they may continue to study oral and maxillofacial prosthetics, which is subspecialty of prosthodontics that involves rehabilitation of patients with defects or disabilities that were present at birth or developed due to disease or trauma later in life.
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 functional, cosmetic, and psychosocial reasons.
Prosthetic devices may also be designed to position or shield facial structures during radiation therapy. Patients that typically desire prosthetic care are people who have been in an accident, have had surgical removal of diseased tissues, or have a neuromuscular disorder from ALS or a stroke.
Maxillofacial prosthodontists usually work closely with ENTs, oral surgeons, orthodontists, pediatric dentists, plastic surgeons, neurologists, radiation oncologists, speech pathologists, anaplastologists, and various ancillary personnel. The overall goal of maxillofacial prosthetic treatment is to improve the quality of life.
Some examples of Intraoral Prostheses are:
OBTURATORS. These cover the palate after partial or total loss of the maxilla or due to cleft palate. An obturator restores teeth and gums and includes an extension which closes the defect or hole to enable proper swallowing, eating, chewing, and speaking.
PALATAL LIFT PROSTHESES. These help the soft palate assume the correct position for speech.
PALATAL AUGMENTATION (Drop) PROSTHESES. These alter the palate for speech, especially among patients who have difficulty speaking due to stroke, or have had part of their tongue removed due to trauma or tumor.
MANDIBULAR RESECTION PROSTHESES. Replace a portion of the jaw that has been lost and restore gums and teeth.
FLUORIDE CARRIER. This is a tray used to fill fluoride gel for patients who suffer dry mouth from medications, radiation therapy, or certain medical conditions. Helps to strengthen, protect, and preserve compromised teeth.
Some examples of Extraoral Prostheses are:
- Ocular prosthesis
- Orbital prosthesis
- Auricular prosthesis
- Nasal prosthesis
- Midfacial prosthesis
- Somatic prosthesis
- Radiation shield