Orthognathic surgery, more commonly called jaw surgery, repositions the jawbones, chin, and teeth to correct physical problems and improve function. Problems with the jaw and teeth may be significant enough to require surgery to correct them, but after surgery, most people will have greatly improved jaw function, and many of them will feel better about their appearance.
What is Orthognathic Surgery?
This type of surgery corrects issues with the jaw. This may include:
- Fix congenital malformation of the jaw or chin
- Repair facial injuries
- Improve tooth alignment
- Allow normal chewing
- Prevent uneven tooth wear
- Create facial symmetry
- Improve speech issues
One person may have several issues at the same time that can all be corrected with orthognathic surgery. For example, creating symmetry between the jawbones may stop uneven wear and tear on the teeth as well as improve chewing and biting. This surgery can dramatically change the lives of those who struggle with significant jaw problems.
What is Orthognathic Surgery Like?
Prior to the surgery, most patients will wear braces or have other orthodontic treatments to help align the teeth. During surgery, the surgeon will separate part of the jaw and move it to a new location, then secure it with screws and plates that hold it securely. Surgery can be performed on the upper jaw, lower jaw, chin, or all three.
Upper jaw surgery corrects an upper jaw that either protrudes too far forward or does not protrude enough. Both situations can result in problems with tooth alignment and biting normally.
The lower jaw may also protrude or recede. A receding lower jaw can make the chin look small and can cause an overbite or other alignment problems. While braces can fix some overbites, sometimes surgery becomes necessary.
While moving the lower jawbone, surgeons can also enhance the chin by moving it forward to correct a receding chin. Surgeons can perform this at the same time as other lower jaw procedures.
How Long is Recovery From Orthognathic Surgery?
Initially, after the surgery, you will see bruising and experience some soreness. Your surgeon will give you instructions on how to manage your recovery. You should be able to resume normal activities, including diet if your doctor allows it, after about six weeks. Complete healing of the jawbones takes about twelve weeks.
Am I a Good Candidate for Orthognathic Surgery?
Anyone who has jaw issues that can only be corrected with surgery may be a good candidate. The procedure is usually performed on people who have completed their growth, but in the case of congenital malformations, it may be performed on children. Candidates may have already seen an orthodontist who can help determine a plan of care.
Take the Next Step
If you have further questions about orthognathic surgery, we encourage you to schedule a consultation at Faces Fort Worth. Call us at (817) 927-1818 or fill out our online contact form. We look forward to taking care of you.