What is Orthognathic Surgery?
Orthognathic Surgery, known as Corrective Jaw Surgery, corrects minor and major dental and skeletal abnormalities. It includes the correction of misaligned jaws and teeth, which will improve speaking, chewing, and breathing. The primary goal is to correct your functional problems, but this procedure can also dramatically enhance your appearance.
What Conditions May Require Corrective Jaw Surgery?
Chronic jaw joint or jaw pain and headaches, open bite (a space between your upper and lower teeth when your mouth is closed), birth defects, facial injury, unable to make lips touch without straining, difficulty biting and chewing food, difficulty swallowing, sleep apnea (unable to breathe properly while sleeping, including snoring), facial appearance is unbalanced from the front or side, chronic dry mouth and mouth breathing, excessive teeth wear, protruding jaw (See Figure 1), receding chin (See Figure 2).
What Causes Jaw Misalignment?
Sometimes, the upper and lower jaws grow at different rates. Also, birth defects and injuries can cause jaw misalignment. Orthodontics can usually correct bite problems when only your teeth are not aligned; however, corrective jaw surgery corrects jaw misalignment.
How Do I Know if I Need Corrective Jaw Surgery?
We will work with your Dentist and Orthodontist to determine whether you need corrective jaw surgery and to determine which procedure will correct your problem. Your treatment will likely include orthodontics before and after corrective jaw surgery, which can take several years to finish.
What is the Treatment Plan for Corrective Jaw Surgery?
Prior to surgery, you will need to wear braces that will move your teeth into a new position. Since your bite is being prepared so your teeth fit together after surgery, you may think that your teeth don't fit together properly and your mouth is getting worse. However, when the doctor repositions your jaw, your teeth should fit well together. Closer to surgery, we will take additional x-rays and models of your teeth to ensure that your teeth will be properly aligned during surgery.
This procedure can be performed under general anesthesia and can take anywhere from one to several hours to finish. The doctor will reposition your jaw to suit your specific needs. Bone may be added, reshaped, or taken away. You may also require screws, surgical plates, rubber bands and wires to secure your jaws in their new location. Usually, incisions are made inside your mouth to reduce noticeable scarring. Some cases require some small incisions on the outside of the mouth. We will minimize the appearance if these incisions are necessary.
We will instruct you on your diet. This will include liquids and/or solids and we will give you a schedule for changing over to a normal diet. You should also avoid using tobacco products and engaging in strenuous physical activity.
Pain after your corrective jaw surgery can be easily managed with medication and you will be able to return to school or work between one and three weeks after surgery. Initial healing takes about six weeks; however, total healing of the jaw may take nine to 12 months.
What are the Benefits of Corrective Jaw Surgery?
By undergoing corrective jaw surgery, your teeth are repositioned in a more functional, balanced and healthy manner. Some patients experience drastic enhancements to their appearance and speech.