When the relationship between the teeth and jaws is causing a serious orthodontic problem, surgery may be recommended. Conditions treated surgically may include underbites and congenital abnormalities (birth defects) related to jaw development.
Sometimes referred to as orthognathic surgery, corrective jaw surgery may be recommended by your orthodontist if there are certain jaw misalignments or skeletal deformities that affect chewing, breathing, speaking or other factors that can impact your quality of life on a regular basis. Of course, corrective jaw surgery can improve a patient’s overall appearance, but the most important reason for getting jaw surgery is to fix the underlying issue to preserve a patient’s oral health.
If you are dealing with any of these issues then you may benefit from corrective jaw surgery:
Sometimes orthodontic treatment is required both before and after your surgery. Braces will remain on your teeth for anywhere from nine to 18 months prior to your surgery to help improve tooth alignment. Then after your jaw has fully healed from surgery we will reapply braces to your teeth to finish aligning your teeth. Between wearing braces and getting surgery the process can take anywhere from one to two years to complete.
Before corrective surgery is even performed, there are several things that have to occur first. Your first visit will be an evaluation in which we will go over your medical history and discuss the issues you are having. Through a physical exam and potential diagnostic tests, we can determine whether corrective jaw surgery is right for you.
The next visit will be to talk to us about orthodontic treatment and to have your braces prepared and applied. Then braces are worn for several months (as mentioned above), after which they can be removed and we will create a series of models of your jaw to help us determine the proper bone positioning. Once the surgery has taken place it can take about 8 weeks for the bone to become hard enough to be fully functional; however, your activities may be limited for up to 4 months. Once the bones are stable braces will be placed back on for several more months.
Corrective jaw surgery may be performed on both jaws or either the upper or lower jaw. Upper jaw surgery is performed if the upper jaw is protruding or if the patient has a crossbite or open bite. Lower jaw surgery is recommended if the lower jaw recedes much further than the upper jaw.