Maxillofacial prosthodontics is a subspecialty of Prosthodontics, which is concerned with the correction of deformities of the face and head and restoration of normal function by means of prostheses. Deformities may be congenital, acquired (through trauma or surgical treatment, as of cancer), or developmental (stemming from some other disorder).
Maxillary obturators, Speech-aid prosthesis (formerly called as Pharyngeal/Soft Palate Obturators) and Mandibular-Resection prostheses are the most common prostheses planned and fabricated to help patients with maxillofacial deformities.
Maxillofacial prosthetic rehabilitation has a multidisciplinary approach involving prosthodontists, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, plastic surgeons, head and neck surgeons, ENT doctors, oncologists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and other healthcare professionals.
Maxillofacial prosthodontist usually works very closely in team with maxillofacial surgeon creating optimal treatment plan for the patient, especially when it involves long-term rehabilitation.
Head and neck malignant diseases (head and neck cancer) are the leading cause for maxillofacial defects that require complicated rehabilitation. The cosmetic, functional, and psychosocial results of oral cancer treatment may combine to produce devastating effects on patients, especially if the tumor is extensive or the treatment particularly aggressive.
Often multiple functions are affected: speech, mastication, deglutition, management of oral secretions. Thus, maxillofacial prosthetic rehabilitation is essential step to restore the head and neck cancer patient’s oral functions and cosmetics following surgery to pre-treatment baselines with the goal of providing an acceptable quality of life.