If you have a severe bite problem, you may benefit from orthognathic surgery. This surgery is also known as corrective jaw surgery. Orthognathic surgery may not only help your bite but could also improve your appearance, help with sleep apnea, and correct for deformities. However, not everyone with a bite problem needs orthognathic surgery. Below are some reasons for getting the surgery and what to expect after the procedure.
What Is Orthognathic Surgery?
Orthognathic surgery is a procedure to correct facial and jaw abnormalities that could lead to future health and dental problems. The surgeon can perform the procedure on both the upper and lower jaws. The best time to get this surgery is when the candidate is in their late teens or early twenties when the bones stop growing.
Who Needs Orthognathic Surgery?
Generally, this surgery is reserved for severe cases where orthodontics alone can't help. If you are experiencing TMJ (jaw pain) or have unusual tooth wear, then you could be a good candidate. You may also be a good candidate if your jaw problems make chewing and closing your mouth difficult. Orthognathic surgery is also used for correcting severely receding or protruding jaws.
How Is Orthognathic Surgery Done?
The procedure is normally done under anesthesia. First, the surgeon cuts into your gums for easier access to your jawbone. Then, they will cut parts of your jawbone and move them around to the proper position. The bones are then held together with pins, screws, and bone plates. In some cases, the surgeon may use bone grafts to start the healing process for large gaps created by the procedure. In the end, the surgeon stitches up the gums. You will likely have no visible scars outside of your mouth.
What Happens After Orthognathic Surgery?
You may need to spend time in the hospital after surgery to ensure you are in good health before going home. You may have activity and food restrictions for several days or even a few weeks. After about six weeks, your orthodontist may fit you with braces to further align your teeth. The jawbone takes about three months to completely heal, but you may need braces and retainers for much longer.
Any surgery involves risk, so make sure you a fully informed before committing yourself to the procedure. In the end, you should not only look better but have fewer bite problems. If you think you may benefit from orthognathic surgery, see a local dentist or oral surgeon for more information.