The smile is made up of components other than teeth. An attractive smile requires aligned teeth, proportional gums and jaws that fit together properly.
Misaligned jaws are not only unattractive, but they can also compromise the joint’s ability to chew and cause discomfort for patients.
Patients with various types of malocclusions can benefit from jaw surgery known as orthognathic surgery. This category of procedures repositions the upper and/or lower jaws and may also involve the chin. The goal of orthognathic surgery is to improve the way the jaws fit together. This type of surgery may be recommended in cases of TMJ disorders or sleep apnea that has not responded to more conservative interventions.
Orthognathic surgery may involve collaboration between an oral surgeon and orthodontist. The orthodontist will begin to bring the teeth into the proper positions, and the surgeon will step in at some point during that process to work on correcting the jaw.
Jaw surgery can be a serious proposition, and patients should be fully prepared for the process. Complex cases may involve several hours of surgery in a hospital setting, while other patients may be finished in just a few hours and get the procedure at the oral surgeon’s office. General anesthesia is typically required for orthognathic surgery.
Patients often wear wires, screws or plates to keep the jaws in the proper position as they heal following orthognathic surgery. These devices may be necessary for up to six weeks, throughout the initial healing process.
For patients with jaws that are wired shut, the diet must be modified to include pureed foods and liquids.
Orthognathic surgery is typically part of an overarching treatment plan that unfolds over the course of a few years. Although that may seem to be a long time to wait, it’s well worth the patience to enjoy the lifetime of benefits that follow.
If you would like more information on this jaw correcting procedure, contact our professional team of oral surgeons, serving Dallas and surrounding areas, to schedule a professional consultation.