Vocab 101: Maxillofacial, Orthognathic

You are probably used to hearing some basic dental vocabulary. You probably know “dental hygiene” has to do with keeping your teeth and mouth clean and healthy. You might know that a planned “tooth extraction” means removing a tooth that is causing a problem or overcrowding your mouth. (An “unplanned tooth extraction” usually means a tooth was unexpectedly knocked out.) Knowing the meaning of “maxillofacial surgeon” and “orthognthic surgery” can take your dental vocabulary to the next level. Helping you learn more about dental terms is in keeping with our mission of comprehensive and compassionate care.

More about Maxillofacial

A maxillofacial surgeon specializes in care of the hard and soft tissues of the face and neck. This includes diagnosing and treating disease, treating injuries and correcting defects. Maxillofacial surgeons not only deal with functional defects (that may affect the ability to speak or chew, for example) but also cosmetic defects (which can keep you from feeling comfortable and fully enjoying life.)

More about Orthognathic

Orthognathic surgery is surgery pertaining to the jaw and related structures. (If you are wondering: “orthognathic” is usually pronounced with a nearly silent “g”, similar to the “gn” sound in “gnat” or “gnome.”) Orthognathic surgery can correct problems with jaw alignment, jaw structure and some facial bone structure issues. When tooth and jaw alignment problems are too severe to be corrected by braces, orthognathic surgery can sometimes solve the issue. If you have been diagnosed with TMJ disorders (problems with the temporomandibular area) or some sleep apnea issues, you may be referred to an expert in our office, for orthognaphic surgery.


Combining experience in oral and maxillofacial surgery with a genuine care for their patients’ health and comfort, the team at Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park Oral Surgery is ready to improve the health and beauty of smiles in the Sonoma County and North Bay area. To schedule a consultation, contact our office by calling 707-545-4625 (Santa Rosa) or 707-584-1630 (Rohnert Park).