Orthognathic Surgery

Orthognathic surgery, also known as corrective jaw surgery, is a procedure that involves the realignment of the jaw and facial bones to improve functionality and enhance the facial appearance. This surgical intervention is typically performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon who specializes in treating conditions affecting the mouth, jaws, and face.

Understanding Orthognathic Surgery

Orthognathic surgery aims to correct a wide range of jaw abnormalities, including misalignment, asymmetry, and malocclusion (improper bite). These conditions can cause difficulties with chewing, biting, speaking, and even breathing. By addressing these issues, orthognathic surgery helps improve both the functional and aesthetic aspects of a person’s life.

The surgery involves manipulating the position of the jaws to achieve proper alignment and balance. This may require repositioning the upper jaw (maxilla), lower jaw (mandible), or both, depending on the patient’s specific needs.

Before undergoing orthognathic surgery, patients typically undergo a thorough evaluation by a multidisciplinary team consisting of oral and maxillofacial surgeons, orthodontists, and sometimes speech therapists. This team works together to assess the patient’s condition comprehensively and develop a personalized treatment plan.

During the surgery, the oral and maxillofacial surgeon makes carefully planned incisions inside the mouth to access the jawbones. They then use specialized instruments to cut, reposition, and secure the jaws in their new alignment. In some cases, bone grafts may be necessary to enhance stability and promote proper healing.

Common Reasons for Needing Orthognathic Surgery

Orthognathic surgery is often recommended for individuals with severe jaw misalignment or facial deformities that cannot be corrected through orthodontic treatment alone. Some common reasons for needing orthognathic surgery include:

  1. Severe underbite or overbite
  2. Crossbite
  3. Open bite
  4. Facial asymmetry
  5. Difficulty chewing or biting
  6. Speech problems

It is important to note that orthognathic surgery is typically considered after other less invasive treatment options, such as orthodontics, have been attempted but proven ineffective in achieving the desired results.

Severe underbites and overbites can lead to issues with the alignment of the teeth, causing problems with speaking and eating. These conditions can also impact the overall facial aesthetics, leading to self-esteem issues for some individuals. Orthognathic surgery aims to correct these misalignments by repositioning the jaw to improve both function and appearance.

In cases of facial asymmetry, where one side of the face appears different from the other, orthognathic surgery can help bring balance and harmony to the facial features. This type of surgery is often a combination of orthodontic treatment and surgical intervention, with the goal of achieving a more symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing facial profile.

Preparing for Orthognathic Surgery

Prior to undergoing orthognathic surgery, a thorough evaluation and consultation with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon is necessary. This evaluation may include comprehensive dental and medical examinations, imaging studies (such as X-rays, CT scans, or 3D models), and discussions about the patient’s goals and expectations.

Orthognathic surgery, also known as corrective jaw surgery, is a complex procedure that aims to correct irregularities in the jaw structure that may cause functional issues such as difficulty chewing, breathing, or speaking. It can also address aesthetic concerns related to facial symmetry and alignment.

Once the decision to proceed with the surgery is made, the surgeon will provide detailed instructions on how to prepare for the procedure. This may involve adjustments to medication, dietary restrictions, and cessation of smoking, as smoking can impair the healing process.

Patients undergoing orthognathic surgery should be prepared for a recovery period that may include swelling, bruising, and some discomfort. Following the surgery, a liquid or soft food diet may be recommended for a period of time to allow the jaw to heal properly. Physical activity and strenuous exercise may need to be limited during the initial stages of recovery to facilitate optimal healing.

The Procedure: What to Expect During Orthognathic Surgery

Orthognathic surgery is a complex surgical procedure that is typically performed under general anesthesia. This ensures that the patient remains unconscious and pain-free throughout the surgery, which can last several hours. The anesthesiologist will closely monitor the patient’s vital signs and adjust the anesthesia levels as needed to ensure their safety and comfort.

Once the patient is under anesthesia, the surgeon will make incisions inside the mouth to access the underlying jawbones. These incisions are strategically placed to minimize visible scarring post-surgery. The surgeon will then carefully manipulate the jawbones, using specialized instruments to cut, reposition, and secure them in their new alignment.

During the surgery, the surgeon may also perform additional procedures to enhance the overall outcome. This can include grafting bone or tissue to areas of deficiency, reshaping the jawline for improved aesthetics, or addressing any functional issues such as breathing difficulties or bite alignment. The use of fixation devices like plates, screws, or wires may be necessary to stabilize the newly repositioned bones and promote proper healing.

Recovery Process After Orthognathic Surgery

Following orthognathic surgery, the patient can expect a period of recovery and healing. This may involve swelling, bruising, discomfort, and difficulty in performing daily activities, such as eating and talking.

The length of the recovery process can vary, but most individuals can return to work or school within two to three weeks, although strenuous activities should be avoided for a longer period of time. Pain medications may be prescribed to manage any post-operative discomfort, and the surgeon will provide detailed instructions for proper care and hygiene.

During the initial phase of recovery, it is common for patients to experience some restrictions in their diet. Soft foods that require minimal chewing are often recommended to prevent any strain on the healing jaw. Additionally, maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial to prevent infections and promote faster healing. Gentle rinsing with saltwater or a prescribed mouthwash can help keep the surgical site clean and reduce the risk of complications.

It is essential for patients to attend follow-up appointments with their surgeon to monitor the healing progress and address any concerns that may arise. These appointments allow the surgeon to assess the recovery process, remove any sutures if necessary, and make any adjustments to the treatment plan as needed. Patients are encouraged to communicate openly with their healthcare team about any discomfort or unusual symptoms they may be experiencing to ensure a smooth and successful recovery.

Risks and Complications of Orthognathic Surgery

As with any surgical procedure, orthognathic surgery carries certain risks and potential complications. These can include infection, bleeding, adverse reactions to anesthesia, nerve damage, or temporary numbness in the face. However, these complications are relatively uncommon and can often be managed or minimized with proper surgical technique and post-operative care.

It is crucial for patients to discuss these potential risks with their surgeon to fully understand the possible outcomes and make an informed decision about proceeding with the surgery.

In addition to the risks mentioned above, orthognathic surgery may also lead to issues such as malocclusion (misalignment of the teeth), temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, or changes in facial appearance. While these complications are rare, they underscore the importance of choosing a skilled and experienced surgeon who can minimize the likelihood of such outcomes.

Furthermore, patients undergoing orthognathic surgery should be aware of the potential for prolonged swelling, difficulty in chewing or speaking, and the need for a modified diet during the recovery period. Following the post-operative instructions provided by the surgical team is crucial in ensuring a smooth recovery and optimal results.

Long-Term Benefits of Orthognathic Surgery

The ultimate goal of orthognathic surgery is to improve both the functional and aesthetic aspects of a person’s life. By correcting jaw alignment and facial symmetry, orthognathic surgery can enhance chewing and speaking efficiency, relieve jaw pain, improve facial aesthetics, and boost self-confidence.

Patients often experience a significant improvement in their quality of life and an increased ability to enjoy everyday activities without the limitations imposed by jaw abnormalities.

Furthermore, orthognathic surgery can have lasting effects on a patient’s overall health. Proper jaw alignment can alleviate issues such as sleep apnea, which is often linked to obstructive breathing during sleep. By improving the airway passage through jaw correction, patients may experience better sleep quality and overall well-being.

Moreover, the benefits of orthognathic surgery extend beyond physical improvements. Many patients report a positive impact on their mental health, as the surgery can help alleviate feelings of self-consciousness and social anxiety related to facial asymmetry. This boost in self-esteem can lead to greater opportunities in both personal and professional spheres, enhancing overall quality of life.

Alternatives to Orthognathic Surgery

In some cases, alternative treatments may be considered before opting for orthognathic surgery. These alternatives can include orthodontic treatment, dental restorations, or camouflage techniques. Orthodontic treatment involves the use of braces or aligners to gradually move the teeth into proper alignment, which can improve the appearance and function of the bite. Dental restorations such as crowns, bridges, or veneers may be used to correct minor dental imperfections and improve the overall aesthetics of the smile. Camouflage techniques involve the use of cosmetic procedures such as tooth reshaping or bonding to mask the appearance of jaw misalignment.

However, it is essential to note that these alternatives may not provide the same comprehensive and long-lasting results as orthognathic surgery, particularly for individuals with severe jaw misalignment. Orthognathic surgery, also known as corrective jaw surgery, is a surgical procedure that involves repositioning the upper jaw, lower jaw, or both to correct functional and aesthetic issues related to the jaws and teeth. This surgery can have a significant impact on the overall facial harmony and function, addressing issues such as difficulty chewing, breathing problems, and facial asymmetry.

Consulting with an experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeon is crucial to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for each specific case. These specialists have the expertise to evaluate the severity of the jaw misalignment and recommend the most effective treatment approach to achieve optimal results. By carefully considering all available options and discussing the potential risks and benefits of each, patients can make informed decisions about their oral health and overall well-being.

Finding the Right Surgeon for Orthognathic Surgery

Choosing the right surgeon for orthognathic surgery is a critical step in ensuring a successful outcome. It is important to seek out a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon who has extensive experience and expertise in performing orthognathic surgeries.

Prior to scheduling a procedure, patients should thoroughly research the surgeon’s credentials, read patient reviews, and request before-and-after photographs of previous cases. An initial consultation with the surgeon is also crucial to address any questions or concerns and to establish a good rapport.

Additionally, patients may want to inquire about the surgical team that will be assisting the surgeon during the procedure. An experienced and skilled team of nurses, anesthesiologists, and surgical technicians can contribute to a smoother surgical experience and better post-operative care.

F.A.Q.

Orthognatic Surgery raises many questions among patients.
Some frequently asked questions include:

During the surgery, general anesthesia ensures that patients do not feel any pain. However, some discomfort and swelling can be expected during the recovery period. Pain medications can be prescribed to manage the post-operative discomfort.

Orthognathic surgery is a complex procedure that involves repositioning the jaw to improve both function and aesthetics. The surgery is meticulously planned to ensure the best possible outcome for the patient. Surgeons work with precision to make the necessary adjustments while prioritizing patient comfort and safety.

 

The length of the surgery can vary depending on the complexity of the case. On average, orthognathic surgery can take between two to four hours.

Prior to the surgery, detailed imaging such as X-rays and 3D scans are used to create a customized treatment plan for each patient. During the procedure, the surgeon carefully follows this plan to achieve the desired results. While the duration of the surgery may vary, the focus remains on achieving optimal functional and aesthetic outcomes for the patient.

The incisions made during orthognathic surgery are typically placed inside the mouth, which minimizes visible scarring. However, it is important to follow proper care and hygiene instructions to promote optimal healing.

Post-surgery, patients are advised on how to care for their incisions to minimize the risk of complications and promote healing. Following these instructions diligently can help reduce the visibility of any scarring that may occur. The surgical team provides comprehensive post-operative care to support patients through the recovery process and address any concerns that may arise.

Whether orthognathic surgery, also known as jaw surgery, is worth it depends on individual circumstances and goals.

Orthognathic surgery can be beneficial for correcting significant jaw misalignment, improving facial aesthetics, enhancing bite function, and alleviating related symptoms such as difficulty chewing or breathing. However, it’s essential to consider factors such as potential risks, recovery time, and whether the expected outcomes align with your expectations and quality-of-life goals.

Consulting with a qualified surgeon can help you make an informed decision based on your specific needs and concerns.

Orthognathic surgery, like any surgical procedure, carries inherent risks, but it is generally considered safe when performed by experienced surgeons in appropriate candidates. Potential risks and complications of orthognathic surgery may include bleeding, infection, nerve injury, adverse reactions to anesthesia, and temporary or permanent changes in sensation or function of the jaw, teeth, lips, or facial tissues.

The level of risk associated with orthognathic surgery can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the procedure, the skill and experience of the surgical team, and the individual’s overall health and medical history. Preoperative evaluation, careful planning, and close postoperative monitoring can help minimize risks and optimize outcomes.

It’s essential for individuals considering orthognathic surgery to discuss potential risks and benefits with their surgeon, ask questions, and ensure they have a thorough understanding of the procedure and its potential outcomes before making a decision. Additionally, following preoperative and postoperative instructions provided by the surgical team can help reduce the likelihood of complications and promote successful recovery.

Yes, orthognathic surgery often results in enhanced facial aesthetics, improved facial balance, and greater overall harmony, leading to a more pleasing and proportionate appearance for many individuals.

The age limit for jaw surgery can vary depending on individual factors such as skeletal maturity, overall health, and the specific goals of the surgery.

For adolescents and young adults, typically between the ages of 16 to 18 years old, orthognathic surgery may be considered once skeletal growth is complete or near completion. This age range is often preferred because it allows for optimal surgical planning and stabilization of jaw structures after growth has ceased, reducing the risk of relapse.

In some cases, orthognathic surgery may be performed in early adulthood, typically up to the mid-20s, especially if there are significant functional or aesthetic concerns that cannot be adequately addressed with non-surgical treatments. However, as individuals age, the bone density may decrease, and healing may be slower, which can affect surgical outcomes and recovery.

Beyond the mid-20s, the suitability for orthognathic surgery becomes more individualized and may depend on factors such as overall health, bone quality, and the presence of other medical conditions. While there is no strict age limit for jaw surgery, older adults may need to undergo a thorough evaluation to assess their candidacy for surgery and the potential risks and benefits.

Ultimately, the decision to undergo orthognathic surgery should be made in consultation with a qualified surgeon who can evaluate individual needs and circumstances to determine the most appropriate treatment plan.

Conclusion

Orthognathic surgery is a highly effective solution for individuals with jaw misalignment and facial deformities that cannot be corrected with orthodontics alone. This surgical procedure offers numerous benefits, including improved functionality, enhanced facial aesthetics, and increased self-confidence.

While orthognathic surgery does involve certain risks and a recovery period, the potential rewards in terms of improved quality of life and overall well-being make it a worthwhile consideration for individuals in need of jaw realignment.

If you are considering orthognathic surgery, it is essential to consult with an experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeon who can provide personalized guidance and support throughout the entire process.

 

Start Your Journey to a Healthier Smile with Genç Dental

If you’re considering orthognathic surgery to correct jaw misalignment and enhance your facial aesthetics, Genç Dental® is here to guide you every step of the way. Since 2015, our oral health polyclinic has been providing comprehensive services with a team of specialist physicians dedicated to giving you the healthy smile you deserve.

Embracing innovation and academic excellence, our doctors are committed to lifelong learning to offer you the best care. Contact us today to learn how we can support your journey towards improved oral health and self-confidence.

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