Orthognathic, or corrective jaw surgery, surgery treats a "poor bite," also known as malocclusion. This occurs when jaws don't meet correctly when you bite down and/or teeth don't fit easily within the jaws. Teeth are straightened with orthodontic work and corrective jaw surgery repositions poorly aligned jaws. Jaw surgery can improve facial appearance as well as ensure that teeth meet correctly and function properly.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons perform this surgery using general anesthesia. Recovery usually takes several weeks. While the bone heals, the jaw is held in place with wires or plates and screws.
Who Needs Orthognathic Surgery?
People who can benefit from orthognathic surgery include those with an improper bite or jaws that are positioned incorrectly. Jaw growth is a gradual process and in some instances, the upper and lower jaws may grow at different rates. The result can be a host of problems that can affect chewing function, speech, long-term oral health and appearance. Injury to the jaw and birth defects can also affect jaw alignment. Orthodontics alone can correct bite problems when only the teeth are involved. Orthognathic surgery may be required for the jaws when repositioning in necessary.
Difficulty in the following areas should be evaluated:
- difficulty in chewing, biting or swallowing
- speech problems
- chronic jaw or TMJ pain
- open bite
- protruding jaw
- breathing problems
Any of these symptoms can exist at birth, be acquired after birth as a result of hereditary or environmental influences or as a result of trauma to the face. Before any treatment begins, a consultation will be held to perform a complete examination with x-rays. During the pre-treatment consultation process, feel free to ask any questions that you have regarding your treatment. When you are fully informed about the aspects of your care, you and your dental team will make the decision to proceed with treatment together.