Our oral surgeons perform many different types of surgery in the mouth, face, and jaws, including corrective jaw surgery. Corrective jaw surgery, also known as orthognathic surgery, is often used to realign or reconstruct a patient’s face or jaws.
Corrective jaw surgery is performed to correct a wide range of minor and major skeletal and dental irregularities, including the misalignment of jaws and teeth. This type of surgery can improve chewing, speaking and breathing. Orthognathic surgery is ultimately performed to correct functional problems, but it can also dramatically enhance the patient’s appearance as a result of the procedure. Corrective jaw surgery can be life-changing for patients.
Orthognathic surgery is needed when jaws and teeth don’t meet correctly. Repositioning the jaws so that the teeth meet (occlude) correctly improves jaw joint function and chewing (mastication) ability, and can also improve speech, breathing, sleep apnea, periodontal (gum) health and facial aesthetics.
People who can benefit from orthognathic surgery include people with improper bite or jaws that are misaligned with the opposing jaw or with other facial structures. Remember, jaw growth is a gradual process and in many cases, the upper and lower jaws may not align properly by the time an individual has finished growing. Also, improper or incongruent growth of the jaws can result in injury to other structures of the jaws and face resulting in a host of problems that can affect chewing function, speech, long-term oral health, and appearance. Many bite problems can be corrected with orthodontics (braces) alone, especially bite problems in which only the teeth are involved. However, if the jaw bones (maxilla and mandible) are not aligned then Orthognathic surgery should definitely be considered.
These symptoms can be congenital (exist at birth), can be developed after birth as a result of heredity, can be a result of environmental impact, and can even occur as a result of trauma or injury to the face and facial bones.
Corrective Jaw Surgery (Orthognathic Surgery) involves moving the bones of the upper or lower jaw or both. The jaws are lengthened or shortened, moved up or down, in or out, resulting in a more harmonious bite and facial appearance.
Corrective Jaw Surgery (Orthognathic Surgery) is a complex surgery and because of the complexities of each patient’s occlusion (the way the teeth bite) and the effect on the facial appearance when moving the teeth and jaws, orthognathic surgery must be meticulously planned. This is why we use a team approach in corrective jaw surgery. The team consists of your orthodontist, oral surgeon, and your general dentist. Occasionally we may need other dental specialists including periodontists and endodontists to help finalize treatment and achieve the most esthetic results.
The first part of your treatment starts with a thorough consultation. Our practice uses modern computer techniques such as 3D x-rays and three-dimensional models to show you exactly how your surgery will be approached. Using comprehensive facial X-rays and computer video imaging, we can show you how your bite will be improved and even give you an idea of how you’ll look after surgery. During your in-deph consultation visit we will perform a complete oral examination and acquire 3D x-rays, digital models, photographs, and obtain facial measurements to reconstruct an exact virtual representation of your head and face. We often use 3D printed medical models to help plan your surgery as well. This requires sophisticated software is used to view and extract information to create a 3D working model of your teeth and jaws.
Your overall treatment will require pre-surgical orthodontics to align the teeth independently in each jaw. When the surgery is done and the jaws are aligned, you will still need some minor post-surgical orthodontics for minor alignment of the teeth into the optimal occlusion (bite).
Corrective jaw surgery is typically done on an outpatient basis in the hospital, which means you will be able to go home the same day of surgery. On occasion some patients may require or opt to stay for one night at the hospital.
In the past, patients who had corrective jaw surgery had to have their jaws wired together to hold the bones in place. This is no longer the case. Advances in oral surgery now allow us to use small Titanium plates and screws to hold the bones in place during the healing process. Most patients wake up from the surgery being able to move their mouth normally and may only have light orthodontic rubber bands in place to guide their bite.
After your procedure we will see you in our office to take post-operative x-rays and provide you with additional guidance to help ensure a smooth recovery. We will also see you for several follow up appointments as well.
If you think your mouth feels uneven or you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us today.