Oral Maxillofacial Laboratory
Healthcare scientists in the oral maxillofacial laboratory include ocularists and dental technologists who provide prosthetics following surgery due to cancer or trauma or anatomical malformations.
This can include::
- an eye following surgical removal of an eye
- an ear for patients born with an absent ear
- larger parts of the face required in facial reconstruction
- dentures, bridges and jaws.
Close work with the patient is required to assess their needs and involves taking an impression and working with them to ensure a close match of the prosthetic to the patient.
As well as working with the patients directly, the work involves working as part of a team with oral maxillofacial surgeons, ENT surgeons, oncologists and involves working in theatres.
In addition to the science of dealing with a wide variety of chemicals and processes in making impressions and the prosthetics the reconstructive scientist also has excellent artistic skills in being able to produce the high quality prosthetic, the measure of quality being a comfortable prosthetic for the patient which to the casual observer goes un-noticed.
A prosthetic eye is a painting sandwiched between two layers of acrylic which is designed for each patient. Patients return at regular intervals for a ‘clean and polish’ of the eye.