Corrective orthognathic (jaw)surgery is performed by Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons to effectively correct a number of minor & major skeletal as well as dental irregularities such as misalignment of jaws & teeth. In turn, these can improve chewing, speaking & breathing.
While a patient’s appearance can be dramatically enhanced by the procedure, orthognathic surgery is generally performed to correct any functional problems. These are some of the conditions which may indicate need for corrective orthognathic surgery:
– Difficulty chewing/biting food
– Difficulty with swallowing
– Excessive wear of the teeth
-Chronic jaw/jaw joint (TMJ) pain & headache
– Open bite
– Unbalanced front/side facial-appearance
– Facial injury
– Birth defects
– Protruding jaw
– Receding chin
– Inability to make lips meet without too much straining
– Sleep apnea (breathing problems while sleeping, includes snoring)
– Chronic mouth-breathing & dry mouth
Who Requires Corrective Jaw Surgery?
Individuals who may benefit from corrective orthognathic (jaw) surgery include those who have an improper bite that results from misaligned jaws and/or teeth. In some cases, the lower & upper jaws might grow at different rates. Certain birth defects or Injuriescan affect the alignment of the jaw. Orthodontics can generally correct bite/”occlusion,” problems when teeth are misaligned, corrective orthognathic surgery might be required to correct jaw misalignment.
Evaluating Whether You Need Corrective Jaw Surgery
Your dentist, orthodontist as well as Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon work closely to determine if you are a suitable candidate for orthognathic, surgery. The Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon determines exactly which surgical procedure is appropriate & the actual surgery will also be performed by him/her.
It is very important for a patient to understand that the treatment can include orthodontics before & after surgery, and might take a number of years to complete. Your Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon as well as orthodontist understand that since it is a long-term commitment, they will attempt to realistically estimate the actual time that will be required for your treatment.
This type of corrective jaw surgery might reposition all/part of the lower jaw, upper jaw, & chin. When you are fully-informed about your specific case & treatment options, you & your dental team will then determine the complete course of treatment which suits you best.
Correction of Common Dentofacial Deformities
Correcting an Open Bite: First, a part of the bone in the jaw’s upper tooth-bearing segment is removed. The upper jaw will then be secured in position with plates & screws.
Correcting a Protruding Lower Jaw: The bone that lies in the jaw’s rear portion of is separated from its front portion & modified. This allows the tooth-bearing section of the lower jaw to be moved back for the right alignment.
Correcting a Receding Lower Jaw or “Weak Chin”: The bone that lies in the jaw’s lower portion is separated from the base & modified. The lower jaw’s tooth-bearing portion & a segment of the chin are then repositioned forward.
Corrective Jaw Surgery – The Procedure
– Before your surgery, the orthodontic braces move your teeth into their new position.
– Since your teeth are now being moved into the position that will fit together post surgery, at first, you may think your bite is actually getting worse instead of better.
– However, when your jaws as repositioned by the Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon during surgery, your teeth will then fit together properly.
– As the pre-surgical orthodontic treatment reaches completion, additional/ updated records, including the x-rays, pictures & models of your teeth, might be taken to help in guiding your surgery.
– Based on the procedure, corrective surgery might then be performed under general anesthesia in a hospital-setting, an ambulatory surgical-center/in the oral & maxillofacial surgery office.
– The surgery may take between 1-several hours to complete.
– Your Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon will ensure that your jawbones are repositioned in accordance with your individual needs.
– In certain cases, bone might be added/taken away/reshaped.
– Surgical plates/screws/wires & rubber bands might be used to securely hold your jaws in the new positions.
– Generally, incisions are made inside the mouth- this is done to reduce visible scars; however, in some cases, small incisions may be required outside the mouth. In the cases where this is necessary, great care is taken to visibly minimize their appearance.
– After surgery, the surgeon will then provide instructions for a modified-diet. This might include solids & liquids. You will also be given a schedule to transition to a normal diet. You might also be asked to avoid using tobacco products & avoid any strenuous physical activity.
– The pain that follows corrective jaw surgery can be easily controlled with prescribed medication.
– Generally, patients are able to return to work/school within 1-3 weeks post surgery, based on how they are feeling.
– The initial healing phase is around 6 weeks, but complete jaw healing takes between 9-12 months.
Enjoy the Benefits
Corrective jaw surgery effectively moves your teeth & jaws into positions which are more balanced, functional & healthy. Though the actual goal of the surgery is to significantly improve your bite & function, some patients experience enhancements to their appearance & speech too. The results of this type of corrective jaw surgery can have a very dramatic & positive effect on different aspects of your life.