About our program
The surgeons in the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Program at Boston Children’s Hospital provide a full range of surgical services for your child — and compassionate support for you and your family.
Our oral surgeons frequently work in conjunction with our orthodontists in the treatment of patients requiring orthognathic (jaw) surgery. Whatever condition your child is suffering from, the physicians in the Boston Children’s Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery have the expertise to help.
Our surgical expertise
Our team has developed a comprehensive research program focused on developing new techniques and increasing the knowledge of common conditions. Our aim is to translate the knowledge gained in the laboratory back to the clinic to improve care for your child. Some of the areas we're studying now include:
- orthognathic surgery
- temporomandibular joint disorder
- improving clinical trials
- vacuum-assisted wound closure
The bottom line: Our research results in innovative treatments that help your child recover faster.
Our expertise in oral medicine
Oral medicine (also called dental medicine, oral and maxillofacial medicine, or stomatology) provides non-surgical treatment for many mouth, face, and jaw disorders. At Boston Children’s, some of the conditions we treat include:
- burning mouth/burning tongue
- canker sores (aphthous stomatitis)
- erythema multiforme
- geographic tongue
- oral blisters
- oral candidiasis
- oral Crohn’s disease
- oral herpes simplex virus infections
- oral lesions
- oral lichen planus
- oral complications of cancer therapy
- oral manifestations of systemic diseases
- orofacial granulomatosis
- orofacial pain disorders
- oral ulcers
- salivary cysts
- salivary gland disorders
Revolutionary oral and maxillofacial surgery at Boston Children’s
One of the more involved reconstructive procedures that Boston Children’s conducts is distraction osteogenesis (DO) for facial skeleton deformities. During this procedure, a bone is separated into two segments (osteotomy) and lengthened gradually under tension using a distraction device. The movement of the two pieces of bone results in a gap, where new bone forms.
According to Bonnie Padwa, MD, DMD, chief of the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Program, DO has revolutionized the field. “Before, surgeons had to lengthen bones by taking bone grafts from the patient's hip, rib, or cranium,” she says. “This required a long operation and in infants, there's a relatively small amount of bone that's available to harvest for grafts. Distraction avoids many of these problems and significantly reduces healing time.”