​Maxillofacial Prosthodontics

At ColumbiaDoctors Dentistry, our maxillofacial prosthodontist, Dr. Candice Zemnick, is dedicated to providing compassionate care for those who need it most.

Maxillofacial Prosthodontics involves the rehabilitation of patients with defects or deficits of the face, jaws and surrounding soft tissue that may have occurred through development, trauma or disease. In many cases, custom-made prostheses can replace missing areas of bone or tissue and restore oral functions such as swallowing, speech, and chewing. Prosthetic devices may also be created to position or shield facial structures during radiation therapy.

Maxillofacial Prosthodontists work with a team which may include ENTs, head and neck surgeons, prosthodontists, oral surgeons, plastic surgeons, neurologists, radiation oncologists, speech pathologists, anaplastologists, and various other professionals.

Head and Neck Prosthetics

Dr. Zemnick works as part of a multidisciplinary team to create custom-made prosthetic eyes, ears, nose, and midfacial prostheses to replace missing areas of bone and tissue as may be indicated for functional, cosmetic, and psychosocial reasons. She also provides intraoral prostheses to restore oral functions, such as speech, mastication, and swallowing. Pediatric and adult patients with congenital disorders such as cleft lip and palate and auricular microtia are also treated in her office.

Medical and Radiation Oncology Management

Dr. Zemnick works with head and neck cancer patients before, during and after radiation and chemotherapy. Radiation can damage areas in the head and neck that are not necessarily affected by cancer. Dr. Zemnick creates positioning devices that protect these areas during treatment.

Neuromuscular Disorders

Dr. Zemnick works with patients afflicted by neuromuscular disorders including ALS/Lou Gehrig’s Disease and stroke.

The maxillofacial prosthodontist works closely with an anaplastologist, who specializes in creating custom facial and somato-prostheses (digits, portions of limbs) out of medical-grade silicone and special acrylics. These creations are custom painted to simulate human skin, eyes, and intraoral tissues.

Extraoral Prostheses

  • Ocular Prosthesis: Replaces the eye
  • Orbital Prosthesis: replaces the eye and surrounding tissues
  • Auricular Prosthesis: replaces the ear
  • Nasal Prosthesis: replaces the nose
  • Midfacial Prosthesis: replaces part of the face which may involve more than one structure
  • Somatic Prosthesis: replaces a body part like fingers, hands, etc.
  • Radiation Shield: worn during radiation therapy for protection of normal tissues and attenuation of beam

Intraoral Prostheses

  • Surgical Obturator Prosthesis: covers the palate after partial or total loss of the maxilla (upper jaw); used after surgery to provide closure
  • Interim and Definitive Obturator: covers the palate after partial or total loss of maxilla or due to cleft palate; restores teeth and gums and has an extension which closes the defect or hole, facilitating swallowing, eating, chewing, and speaking
  • Palatal Lift Prosthesis: helps soft palate assume correct position for speech
  • Palatal Augmentation (Drop) Prosthesis: alters palatal position prosthetically for speech
  • Mandibular Resection Prosthesis: replaces a portion of the jaw that has been lost and restores gums and teeth for improved mastication and facial esthetics
  • Fluoride Carrier: tray filled with Fluoride gel for patients with xerostomia from medications, radiation therapy, or certain medical conditions
  • Commissure Splint: effective in association with surgery to reduce postsurgical scar contraction (microstomia); patients with scleroderma also benefit from this treatment
  • Shielding: worn during radiation therapy to protect intraoral healthy tissues and salivary glands