Orthognathic surgery or (jaw surgery) is meant to realign the jaws and correct irregularities of the jawbones. This procedure is meant to improve the movement of teeth and jaws and also enhances facial appearance. It’s an option for patients with jaw problems that orthodontics can’t fix.
Most of the time, patients will have braces before surgery and during the recovery period after the procedure until alignment is complete. This form of surgery is typically done once patients are done growing, which is around ages 17 to 21 for males and ages 14 to 16 for females.
Before and After Images
When is Jaw Surgery Necessary?
There are a number of situations where orthognathic surgery is called for. This procedure helps to minimize wear and breakdown of teeth, improve biting and chewing, and alleviate problems such as congenital disabilities, facial injuries, sleep apnea, and TMJ disorders. Jaw surgery also can correct problems with speech, swallowing, lips and jaws not closing properly, and facial asymmetry.
Are there any Risks Connected to Orthognathic Surgery?
Our team of skilled oral and maxillofacial surgeons and orthodontists makes this a safe procedure. Nevertheless, every surgical procedure has an element of risk, and orthognathic surgery is no different. Risks include nerve injury, infection, blood loss, pain in the jaw joint, and issues with bite fit. The jaw can suffer fractures, a piece of it can break off, and it can relapse back to its original position. We may also need to perform root canal therapy or further surgery.
Following surgery, it may take a while to adjust to your new facial appearance. It’s also possible to experience pain and inflammation after surgery, along with eating problems. The latter is treatable with nutritional supplements or by following the advice of a dietitian.
What is the Procedure for Orthognathic Surgery?
The surgery is usually done under general anesthesia and takes 2 to 4 hours. We aim to perform the surgery inside the mouth so no facial scars show up on your jaw, chin, or the outside of your mouth. We may sometimes need to make small incisions on the outside of the mouth, however.
One of our specialists will make cuts in the bones in the jaw and move them into the proper position. After that, he may use small wires, screws, tiny bone plates, and rubber bands to keep the bones in their new positions. Over time the screws will bond with the jawbone. In some cases, we may need to add extra bone to the jaw or reshape existing bone.
Following the procedure, we will provide you with instructions on proper oral hygiene, pain medications, and what you can eat. You will need to refrain from tobacco and strenuous activity for a while after the surgery.
The initial healing of the jaw will take about 6 weeks, but you can return to work or school within 1 to 3 weeks. After the initial healing at 6 weeks one of our specialists will finish aligning your teeth with braces. The entire orthodontic process involves both surgery and braces and can take several years. After the braces are taken off, you may need retainers to hold your teeth in place.
For more information, please contact our office at 214-363-9946.