What is Maxillofacial Prosthetics and Maxillofacial Prosthodontics?
Maxillofacial Prosthetics is a subspecialty of Prosthodontics that involves rehabilitation of patients with defects or disabilities that were present at birth, sustained following trauma, or acquired following cancer or other disease treatment. Many patients require replacement of more than just teeth. A Maxillofacial Prosthodontist is trained to replace bone and tissue with many different types of Prostheses. Training to become a Maxillofacial Prosthodontist involves completion of a one-year fellowship following a traditional three-year Prosthodontic Residency. This additional year is usually in a hospital based environment treating patients undergoing surgical treatment, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy to cure their disease. The program provides experience not only treating the defects caused by cancer or trauma, but also provides the tools to help the Prosthodontist better manage the difficult side effects patients must contend with during radiation and chemotherapy. A Maxillofacial Prosthodontist can routinely replace an eye, ear, nose, or portion of a face, many times in conjunction with an intra-oral defect. New techniques and prostheses are constantly being devised or improved by Maxillofacial Prosthodontists. A silicone ear that use to be retained by an adhesive is now retained by implants similar to those used to replace teeth. The same security patients have with a dental implant reconstruction is also available to Maxillofacial patients.
Some routine treatment provided in Maxillofacial Prosthetics involves:
Obturator to separate the oral cavity from the sinus allows the patient to swallow and speak.
Radiation shield to protect vital structures during radiation. The lead is embedded in a wax mask that the patient wears during treatment.
An Auricular Prosthesis made of silicone to replace an ear.
Implants to retain an Auricular Prosthesis.
An Ocular prosthesis to replace an eye.
A Palatal Lift Prosthesis to aid in speech after a neurologic deficit.
Use of a Toe Ring to retain a Prosthetic Toe
A Maxillofacial Prosthodontist is only limited by his or her imagination. All the above patients were treated by Dr. Alfano, one of three board certified Prosthodontists at the PI Dental Center.