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.
Do you have an over bite or under bite? If so, you may have been told you need corrective jaw surgery, more often known as orthognatic surgery.
For people with jaw abnormalities, every day tasks like eating and even sleeping can be affected as the jaws do not align with each other. They can also cause pain and affect your affect facial appearance.
In some cases orthodontic elastics can be used to realign the jaw during your regular orthodontic treatment. But this really depends on the severity of your overbite or underbite. While elastics can work quite well in some cases, it is usually advised that patients with severe over or underbites get corrective jaw surgery to permanently resolve any jaw issues.
During this procedure your jaw is disconnected and re-aligned to the ideal position. Sounds painful right? Do not worrry, you're asleep for the actual procedure. However when you wake up you will not be able to talk as easily and you will be in some pain for the first couple of days as you heal.
However, it's worth it for those who suffer from severe overbites or underbites. Along with orthodontic treatment, this procedure resolves jaw pain and improves the overall appearance of the face.
Depending on the type jaw spacing issue you have, your jaw surgery may include moving your upper jaw, lower jaw or both. This surgery is only done on skeletally mature non-growing individuals, and patients can usually return to their normal routines soon after the surgery.
Healing time can vary depending on your age and how much adjustment needs to be made, but it can be anywhere from two weeks to more than a month.
Will you need this surgery as part of your orthodontics plan? Well, it may be unnecessary if orthodontic treatment can correct the problem. However with any orthodontic treatment orthodontists face biologic limitations as to what can realistically be achieved with braces alone. During your first visit your orthodontist will be able to tell you if corrective jaw surgery is the correct treatment option for you.
The usual sequence of events in such a surgery / orthodontic treatment plan is as follows:
1. Diagnostic records are taken and a comprehensive treatment plan is developed in conjuction with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
2. Braces are placed on the teeth and over time the teeth are placed ideally on each dental arch. The bite may get worse as this step progresses.
3. Jaw surgery is performed to address the skeletal concerns.
4. After an appropriate healing time your case is finished and the braces are removed.[Top]