Corrective jaw, or orthognathic, surgery is needed when jaws don’t meet correctly and/or teeth don’t seem to fit with jaws. Teeth are straightened with orthodontics, and corrective jaw surgery repositions misaligned jaws. This not only improves facial appearance, but also ensures that teeth meet correctly and function properly.
Following are some of the conditions that may indicate the need for corrective jaw surgery:
- Difficulty in chewing, biting or swallowing
- Speech problems
- Open bite (space between the upper and lower teeth when the mouth is closed)
- Unbalanced facial appearance from the front or side
- Protruding jaw
- Receding chin
- Inability to make the lips meet without straining
- Chronic mouth breathing and dry mouth
- Sleep apnea (breathing problems when sleeping, including snoring)
Who Needs Corrective Jaw Surgery?
People who may benefit from corrective jaw surgery include those with an improper bite resulting from misaligned teeth and/or jaws. Jaw growth is usually a gradual process, however in some cases, the upper and lower jaws may grow at different rates. This can cause a variety of functional problems. Injuries and birth defects may also affect jaw alignment. While orthodontics can usually correct bite, or “occlusion” problems when only the teeth are misaligned, corrective jaw surgery may be necessary to correct misalignment of the jaw(s).
For people suffering with sleep apnea or snoring, surgical options are available when conservative treatments fail to relieve the problem.
Evaluating Your Need for Corrective Jaw Surgery
Your dentist, orthodontist and our surgeons will work together to determine whether you are a candidate for corrective jaw (orthognathic) surgery. Corrective jaw surgery may reposition all or part of the upper jaw, lower jaw and chin. When you are fully informed about your case and your treatment options, you and your dental team will determine the course of treatment that is best for you. It is important to understand that your treatment, which will probably include orthodontics before and after surgery, may take several years to complete. We understand that this is a long-term commitment for you and your family. We will try to realistically estimate the time required for your treatment.
Protruding Lower Jaw
Receding Lower Jaw or “Weak Chin”
What is Involved in Corrective Jaw Surgery?
As your pre-surgical orthodontic treatment nears completion, additional or updated records, including x-rays, pictures and models of your teeth may be taken to help guide your surgery.
Corrective jaw surgery is generally performed in a hospital. The surgery may take from one to several hours to complete.
Our surgeon(s) will reposition the jawbone in accordance with your specific needs. In some cases, bone may be added, taken away or reshaped. Surgical plates, screws, wires and rubber bands may be used to hold your jaws in their new position(s). Incisions are usually made inside the mouth to reduce visible scarring; however, some cases may require small incisions outside of the mouth. If this is necessary, care is taken to minimize their appearance.
After surgery, we will provide you with post-operative care instructions. While initial healing takes about six weeks, complete healing of the jaw(s) usually takes between nine (9) and twelve (12) months.
Enjoy the Benefits
Corrective jaw surgery moves your teeth and jaws into positions that are more balanced, functional and healthy. Although the goal of this surgery is to improve your bite and function, some patients also experience enhancements to their appearance and speech. The results of corrective jaw surgery can have a dramatic and positive effect on many aspects of your life.