The meaning of the term "orthognathic" is "straight jaw". Orthodontic treatment combined with reconstructive surgery of moving the teeth and jaws to a balanced position is known as orthognathic jaw surgery. Underlying problems of the facial and jaw structure along with positioning of the teeth can be corrected by orthodontic treatment. The procedure while serving cosmetic as well as functional purposes can also provide the following benefits:
- Misaligned jaw can be repositioned
- Facial appearance can be improved
- Proper meeting of the teeth is ensured
- Effective improvement of the jaw function
- Imbalance between the lower and upper jaws can be corrected
Jaw Surgery – The Solution for Many Facial Problems
Difficulty in talking, chewing, sleeping and other oral health issues can be caused by jaw abnormalities on a long term basis. Jaw misalignment can also be due to birth defects or injuries to the jaws. Jaw surgery can address the following issues:
- Difficulty in biting, swallowing and chewing
- Chronic jaw pain
- Protruding jaw
- Weak chin
- Gummy smile
- Weak facial projections
- Open bite
- Speech problems
- Breathing problems
- Dry mouth
- Unbalanced facial appearance
Orthognathic Jaw Surgery – the Procedure
People having completed 18 years of age can undergo the procedure as that is the time when the jaws stop growing. The right procedure is decided after the plastic surgeon determines the severity of the condition. Whether the patient is a candidate for orthognathic jaw surgery is determined by the team of doctors contracting oral and maxillofacial surgeon, dentist and orthodontist.
There are three phases involved in corrective jaw surgery.
Orthodontic braces are used for moving the teeth to a new position in phase one. With the orthodontic treatment requiring 9 to 14 months, the entire surgery is likely to take several years for completion.
Proper alignment of teeth is ensured by making use of plaster models. Repositioning of the jaws is done by the oral and maxillofacial surgeon in phase two. Only a few hours are required and the surgery is an outpatient one. Some cases require bone grafting to restore natural appearance and function.
Phase three usually takes place two to three months post surgery. Gentle manipulation of the teeth if required, is done by the orthodontist, with the treatment taking 6 months. Removal of braces takes place in the final stages. Minimal suggesting and swilling may be seen. The time taken for complete healing is around 9 to 12 months. You can also combine sleep apnea treatment along with orthognathic jaw surgery if you have this condition and the plastic surgeon recommends the treatment.