Orthognathic Jaw Surgery
Correct Severe Jaw Problems with Orthognathic Jaw Surgery
Surgery may seem like an extreme and unnecessary part of orthodontic treatment but at Soleil Orthodontics we do not take the recommendation for jaw surgery lightly. If an orthodontic problem is severe, orthognathic jaw surgery can effectively correct jawbone irregularities and improve facial appearance. A typical course of orthodontic treatment is more likely to be successful and your smile completely aligned after jaw surgery.
Who Needs Jaw Surgery?
Jaw surgery corrects any irregularity in the jawbone, realigning the jaw and teeth so they work properly. If a problem cannot be corrected with orthodontics alone, jaw surgery may be an option.
If a patient has severe orthodontic problems involving jaw size discrepancies, altered jaw development, or dental irregularities, moving one or both jaws can help straighten teeth without affecting the gums and bone. Not only does jaw surgery enhance the effectiveness of orthodontics, overall oral health is improved.
People who have major jaw problems may have noticeable facial irregularities, but the surgery positively affects facial profile, soft tissue support, and overall facial aesthetics.
Problems that can be fixed with orthognathic surgery include:
- Significantly receding or protruding upper jaw (overbite) or lower jaw (underbite).
- Open bite.
- Too much of the teeth showing, or too little.
- Reduced facial growth.
- Small chin.
- Obstructive sleep apnea or other breathing problems.
When Is Jaw Surgery Done?
Jaw surgery is most appropriate after jaw growth stops, usually between ages 14 and 21. However, every orthodontic patient is different and evaluated uniquely to see if orthognathic surgery is right for their circumstances, regardless of age.
Patients who are likely to achieve the best results from orthognathic surgery are referred to an oral/maxillofacial surgeon before any orthodontic treatment begins. The surgeon will conduct a full evaluation and collaborate with the orthodontist to develop a complete treatment plan.
What Does Orthognathic Jaw Surgery Fix?
Besides minimizing facial irregularities, jaw surgery offers other corrective advantages:
- Easier to bite and chew.
- Corrects jaw closure problems.
- Corrects facial imbalances, including underbites, overbites, and crossbites.
- Relieves TMJ pain and other jaw discomfort.
- Minimizes excessive wear of the enamel.
- Allows lips to close comfortably.
- Corrects speech or swallowing problems.
- Repairs facial injuries.
- Corrects birth defects.
What Happens During Orthognathic Jaw Surgery?
The jawbones are cut and moved into the correct position where they are secured with bone plates, wires, and screws – the screws integrate into the bone over time. Some cases require extra bone to be added to the jaw, and some patients need the bone reshaped for a better fit. Jaw surgery is done under general anesthesia and requires a hospital stay.
There are usually no noticeable facial scars on the chin, jaw, or around the mouth after jaw surgery, a procedure that is typically performed inside the mouth. Some small incisions may be required outside the mouth.
Do I Still Need Braces After Jaw Surgery?
If a patient needs jaw surgery, braces or Invisalign are used to straighten the teeth for about a year prior to any surgical procedure to align the teeth in preparation for surgery. Then, orthodontic treatment typically continues for at least six months after the surgery, but only after several months of healing have taken place.
For some patients, the tooth movement achieved in the initial round of orthodontics eliminates the need for jaw surgery. For other patients, orthodontic treatment from start to finish, including jaw surgery, can take several years.
Learn More About Orthognathic Jaw Surgery
Contact Dr. Soleil Roberts to schedule your or your child’s orthodontic evaluation. Learn more about braces, jaw surgery, and getting a straight, healthy smile.