Orthognathic surgery is primarily used to correct irregularities of the jaw bone and to treat conditions like skeletal overbites.
The surgery aims to realign the jaw and teeth in order to improve the way they look and work.
The correctional surgery can be for aesthetic as well as for oral health purposes.
It is often used in the most severe misalignment cases, where other orthodontic treatments cannot resolve the issue alone.
In many patient cases we treat, braces are often worn before and during the recovery period after surgery. This is to ensure everything heals and aligns perfectly.
We work closely with your oral and jaw face surgeon (maxillofacial) in order to create a treatment plan that outlines each and every step to correct the shape of the teeth and jaw.
Jaw surgery: The basics
Jaw surgery or orthognathic treatment is a treatment option for severe jaw deformities in adults that cannot be corrected with braces alone.
Treatment involves fixed braces treatment phase followed by a jaw surgery while the braces still in place then a short phase of fixed braces treatment to fine-tune the bite.
Jaw surgery is required to move the jaws into a correct position so the teeth can meet and corrected easily with the braces.
Jaw surgery could involve on the jaw or both jaws depending on the difficulty and the aetiology of the jaw deformity this is decided by your orthodontist and the jaw surgeon before or during the treatment.
The results: Jaw surgery helps to:
- Improve bite alignment
- Makes chewing and eating easier
- Corrects issues surrounding speech and swallowing
- Prevents excessive wear and grinding of the teeth to stop enamel and tooth breakdown
- Fixes jaw closure problems
- Realigns your jaw to the correct facial balance and symmetry – it solves concerns like overbites, crossbites, underbites/reverse bites and small chins
- Allows the lips to close comfortably
- Alleviates pain caused by a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
The dangers of preventing orthognathic treatment
Patients often wonder if the procedure is necessary, and the choice, as always is up to you.
All we can do is alert you to the possible consequences of avoiding realigning your jaw to a correct and stable position.
If left ignored, you can be at risk of developing TMJ pain and dysfunction as well as facial pain.
Our guide to jaw surgery: Common FAQs
Is jaw surgery a major surgery?
The procedure is considered safe for suitable and strong candidates, but it’s important to bear in mind that is a serious surgical procedure, which can involve a 3-4 day hospital stay.
Is it painful?
During the procedure, you will be under general anaesthetic, which will be completely pain-free.
After the surgery, some patients report mild discomfort, which you will be given painkillers to help make the recovery process easier.
By following the correct recovery steps, you will experience a little discomfort, where you can expect some slight pain and swelling as you adjust to your new appearance.
How long does it take to recover from jaw surgery?
The healing period can take roughly around six weeks post-surgery, however, the healing stage can take up to 12 weeks.
Around the six week mark, your orthodontist will consult with you and finish the alignment procedure with braces. Depending on the type of brace system chosen, this can take months to years.
Are there any risks associated with jaw surgery?
When carried out by a professional and experienced dentist and maxillofacial surgeon, these procedures are generally very safe to carry out.
Undertaking any surgery comes with risks, the only potential associated with this type of surgery is blood loss, infection, nerve injury, relapse of the jaw movement, further surgery needed and a portion of the jaw is lost.
How does surgery work?
Surgery can either be carried out on the upper jaw (maxillary osteotomy) or the lower jaw (mandibular osteotomy).
Surgery on the upper jaw is used to treat open bites, crossbites and protruding upper jaws. The lower jaw surgery will involve correcting receding and protruding lower jaws.
What to avoid after the procedure
Once the surgery has been completed the doctor and dentist will provide you with specific aftercare instructions, general notes to be aware of is be careful with what you eat, continue with your oral hygiene and avoid tobacco.