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Home > Our services & hospitals > Maxillo Facial

Maxillo Facial

About us

The Maxillo Facial service offers specialised treatment for conditions of the face, mouth and jaws.  A wide variety of conditions are treated by the service including facial injuries, head and neck cancer, salivary gland diseases, facial deformities, facial pain and tumours of the jaw.  Each of our specialist consultants is qualified in both medicine and dentistry, and work closely with other specialists at NorthDevonDistrictHospital.

How do I access this service?

You will be referred by another healthcare professional e.g. GP or dentist to the service, if they feel that treatment by the Maxillo Facial service is suitable.  You may be referred for a variety of reasons, some of which are described briefly below.

Impacted teeth

Impacted teeth are teeth which have failed to erupt properly into the jaw.  This can be for a number of reasons but is most often due to a lack of space in the jaw.  Impacted teeth can be partially erupted or twisted out of alignment by the lack of space.  Symptoms of this include pain and swelling.  If the tooth is not removed it can begin to affect the health of all teeth not just those adjacent to it.  Impacted teeth are removed to prevent further damage and disease to the remaining teeth.


Recurrent mouth ulcers

Mouth ulcers are normally caused by damage to the inside of the cheek or damage to the gum becoming infected.  An ulcer will normally be present for 10 – 14 days before resolving naturally.  Recurrent mouth ulcers occur in approximately 10 % of the population and can be caused by a variety conditions including iron deficiency and mouth cancer.

Temporomandibular joint disorders

Temporomandibular joint disorders (TJD) are diverse group of disorders which affect the hinge joint between the upper and lower jaw.  While a relatively benign condition it can have a significant impact on daily life.  Most cases resolve within a few months but if it persists it is important to discover the cause and treat it.  TJD can be caused by:

  • Clenching of jaw and grinding of teeth during your sleep – this puts a lot of pressure on the joint.
  • Wear and tear of the jaw joint – usually caused by osteoarthritis
  • Inflammation of the jaw joint – caused by infection or autoimmune conditions
  • Injury to the joint – for example a blow to the face

All of these to varying degrees can be helped by simply lifestyle changes.  You will be advised on the best changes to make depending on why you have TJD.  In some cases it is necessary to either operate to remove microscopic particles from the joint or replace the joint entirely.

Where can I find more information?

More information can be found on NHS choices