Maxillofacial Prosthetics

The American Academy of Maxillofacial Prosthetics provides a description of the sub-specialty:

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.

Applicants for this program should have completed or are in their final year of completion of an Advanced Education in Prosthodontics program. Examples of prostheses fabricated by maxillofacial prosthodontists can include extra-oral prosthetics replacing the eye, ear, nose, and other facial structures. Somatic prosthesis may be made to replace a body part such as a finger, while radiation shields are fabricated to protect structures during radiation therapy. Intraoral prosthetics may include surgical, interim, and definitive obturators that cover missing parts of the palate to help mastication, swallowing, and speech. Prosthetics to move the soft palate or to replace a portion of the mandible can also be constructed.