Orthognathic surgery is also called corrective jaw surgery because it focuses on the realignment of the jaw to address a host of issues related to breathing, chewing, biting, or even general aesthetics around the face. At Bellflower Oral Facial Surgery, we feature skilled professionals with years of expertise performing the many procedures that fall under orthognathic surgery. Dr. Adamous and Dr. Sonnichsen, who is a diplomat of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, have performed numerous procedures designed to restore confidence and full jaw function to patients of all ages and backgrounds. Find out today if orthognathic surgery might be right for you.
What does orthognathic surgery correct?
There are numerous issues caused by misalignment, including:
- Misalignment of the bite, and consequent difficulty in chewing food
- Chronic pain in the TMJ joint (the jaw’s main hinge)
- An open bite, when the patient is unable to close the gap between their upper and lower teeth
- An asymmetrical facial structure
- Receding or protruding jaw
- Chronic mouth breathing
- Sleep apnea
Sometimes the jaw is misaligned at birth, while at other times it is caused by a facial injury later in life. Either way, orthognathic surgery can correct these problems by targeting functional issues. This can affect a person’s appearance, but almost always positively.
What is the orthognathic surgery procedure like?
Here at Bellflower Oral Facial Surgery, we are careful to ensure that a long process of pre-planning is performed before each procedure, as orthognathic surgery can result in changes to a patient’s physical appearance. Changes typically occur because the joint needs to be repaired, which often results in a straighter jawline and more comfort for each patient. We possess advanced software which can predict what the results of a surgery will be and demonstrate how facial structure might change with a repaired TMJ.
Before surgery, we also perform a psychological assessment to gauge whether or not a patient will react positively to surgery and the change in their physical appearance. In many cases, orthognathic procedures involve the use of orthodontics like retainers or braces to help keep a patient’s teeth straight before and after surgery. Braces tend to be installed before the operation and are removed after a set period of time, allowing for surgery to commence. After the procedure, custom retainers are created to keep the teeth straight and to stop potential damage to the repaired joint.
General anesthesia is used during the procedure, meaning patients will be unconscious. Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon operates on either one or both of jaw points to fix any issues in the TMJ. During a standard orthognathic surgery, the bones are cut, realigned, and held in their new position with medical screws or plates. After the procedure, your surgeon gives detailed instructions about post-operative care.
In orthognathic surgery, the healing time varies but typically ranges from 6-12 weeks. However, the time spent wearing braces and retainers can last for several years, so it’s important to investigate any potential issues early to better address a problem. At first, it is common to have an all-liquid diet following surgery since the jaw and teeth will be sensitive. Chewing can then be introduced slowly, starting with soft foods like bananas and slowly working up to harder alternatives. Sometimes pain medication will be prescribed as needed, and multiple follow-up visits are necessary to check on the healing process and its progress.
Orthognathic surgery is a long, involved process, but patients find the results are worth it in the end because they now have an aligned jaw that is proper for speaking, chewing, and breathing in comfort. Faces also have a more symmetrical, balanced look. Call Bellflower Oral Facial Surgery for a consultation.