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.
Who Needs Orthognathic Surgery?
People who can benefit from orthognathic surgery include those with an improper bite or jaws that are positioned incorrectly. Jaw growth is a gradual process and in some instances, the upper and lower jaws may grow at different rates. The result can be a host of problems that can affect chewing function, speech, long-term oral health and appearance. Injury to the jaw and birth defects can also affect jaw alignment. Orthodontics alone can correct bite problems when only the teeth are involved. Orthognathic surgery may be required for the jaws when repositioning in necessary.
Difficulty in the following areas should be evaluated:
- difficulty in chewing, biting or swallowing
- speech problems
- chronic jaw or TMJ pain
- open bite
- protruding jaw
- breathing problems
Any of these symptoms can exist at birth, be acquired after birth as a result of hereditary or environmental influences or as a result of trauma to the face. Before any treatment begins, a consultation will be held to perform a complete examination with x-rays. During the pre-treatment consultation process, feel free to ask any questions that you have regarding your treatment. When you are fully informed about the aspects of your care, you and your dental team will make the decision to proceed with treatment together.
Benefits of Orthognathic Surgery
Below are some of the benefits of orthognathic surgery:
- Improved Jaw Function. Orthognathic surgery can improve the function of the jaw, making it easier to chew, speak, and breathe.
- Enhanced Aesthetics. Orthognathic surgery can improve the appearance of the face, giving it a more balanced and symmetrical look.
- Reduced Risk of TMJ Disorders. Orthognathic surgery can help to reduce the risk of developing temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, which can cause pain and discomfort in the jaw.
- Improved Dental Health. Orthognathic surgery can improve dental health by correcting bite problems, reducing the risk of tooth decay, and making it easier to maintain good oral hygiene.
- Increased Self-Confidence. Orthognathic surgery can improve a person's self-confidence by correcting facial asymmetry and improving the overall appearance of the face.
- Better Sleep. Orthognathic surgery can help to improve breathing during sleep, reducing the risk of sleep apnea and other sleep-related disorders.
Overall, orthognathic surgery can have a significant positive impact on a person's quality of life, improving both their physical and emotional well-being.
Risks and Possible Complications of the Surgery
Below are some of the potential risks and complications of the procedure:
One of the most common risks associated with orthognathic surgery is nerve damage. The nerves that control sensation and movement in the face and jaw can be damaged during the procedure, leading to numbness, tingling, or loss of function in the affected area. In most cases, nerve damage is temporary and resolves on its own within a few weeks or months, but in some cases, it can be permanent.
Like any surgical procedure, orthognathic surgery carries a risk of infection. Infections can occur at the surgical site or in other parts of the body, and can be caused by bacteria or other microorganisms. In some cases, infections can be severe and require hospitalization and treatment with antibiotics.
Orthognathic surgery can cause bleeding, which can be severe in some cases. Excessive bleeding can lead to complications such as anemia, shock, or even death. It is important to follow all pre-operative instructions and avoid taking medications that can increase the risk of bleeding.
Swelling is a common side effect of orthognathic surgery, and can be especially pronounced in the face and jaw. Swelling can be uncomfortable and can interfere with eating, speaking, and other daily activities. In some cases, swelling can also lead to complications such as difficulty breathing or swallowing.
Orthognathic surgery requires general anesthesia, which carries its own set of risks and complications. Anesthesia can cause allergic reactions, breathing problems, or other complications that can be serious or even life-threatening.
While orthognathic surgery can have many benefits, there is always a risk that the results will not meet the patient's expectations. In some cases, the surgery may not correct the problem as well as anticipated, or may result in asymmetry or other aesthetic issues.
Orthognathic surgery is a complex procedure that carries a number of potential risks and complications. However, with careful planning, skilled surgical technique, and close post-operative care, many of these risks can be minimized or avoided altogether. It is important for patients to discuss the risks and benefits of orthognathic surgery with their surgeon, and to follow all preoperative and post-operative instructions carefully to ensure the best possible outcome.
In addition, patients should be aware that recovery from orthognathic surgery can be a long and difficult process, and may involve significant pain, discomfort, and lifestyle changes. It is important to have a strong support system in place, and to be prepared for the physical and emotional challenges of the recovery process.
Overall, while orthognathic surgery can be a highly effective treatment for jaw abnormalities, it is important to carefully weigh the potential risks and benefits before undergoing the procedure. With proper planning, preparation, and care, many patients can achieve excellent results and enjoy a significant improvement in their quality of life.
Orthognathic Surgery Overview
For a brief narrated overview of the orthognathic surgery process, please click the image on the right. It will launch our flash educational MiniModule in a separate window that may answer some of your questions about orthognathic surgery.
Technology and Orthognathic Surgery
Dr. Chan uses modern computer techniques and three-dimensional models to show you exactly how your surgery will be approached. Using comprehensive facial X-rays and computer video imaging, we can show you how your bite will be improved and even give you an idea of how you'll look after surgery. This helps you understand the surgical process and the extent of the treatment prescribed. Our goal is to help you understand the benefits of orthognathic surgery.
If you are a candidate for Corrective Jaw Surgery, Dr. Chan will work closely with your dentist and orthodontist during your treatment. The actual surgery can move your teeth and jaws into a new position that results in a more attractive, functional and healthy dental-facial relationship.
How to Prepare for Orthognathic Surgery
If you are considering orthognathic surgery, it is important to take steps to prepare for the procedure and maximize your chances of a successful outcome. Below are some of the key steps you can take to prepare for orthognathic surgery.
Choose a Skilled Surgeon
The first step in preparing for orthognathic surgery is to choose a skilled and experienced surgeon who specializes in this type of procedure. Look for a surgeon who is board-certified and has a track record of successful outcomes. You may also want to consider getting a second opinion to ensure that you are making an informed decision.
Understand the Procedure
Before undergoing orthognathic surgery, it is important to have a clear understanding of the procedure and what it involves. Your surgeon should explain the procedure in detail, including the risks and benefits, and answer any questions you may have.
Get a Comprehensive Evaluation
To ensure that you are a good candidate for orthognathic surgery, you will need to undergo a comprehensive evaluation that includes a physical exam, dental exam, and imaging studies such as X-rays and CT scans. Your surgeon may also recommend additional tests or consultations with other specialists as needed.
Address Any Pre-Existing Conditions
If you have any pre-existing medical or dental conditions, it is important to address these before undergoing orthognathic surgery. This may include treating gum disease, getting any necessary dental work done, or managing chronic health conditions such as diabetes or hypertension.
Follow Pre-Operative Instructions
Your surgeon will provide you with detailed instructions to follow in the days and weeks leading up to your surgery. This may include dietary restrictions, medication adjustments, and other preparations to ensure that you are in the best possible health for the procedure.
Prepare for the Recovery Process
Orthognathic surgery requires a significant recovery period, during which you may experience pain, swelling, and other side effects. It is important to prepare for this by arranging for time off work or school, lining up support from family and friends, and making any necessary adjustments to your living space to accommodate your recovery needs.
Preparing for orthognathic surgery requires careful planning and attention to detail. By choosing a skilled surgeon, understanding the procedure, getting a comprehensive evaluation, addressing any pre-existing conditions, following pre-operative instructions, and preparing for the recovery process, you can maximize your chances of a successful outcome and a smooth recovery.
It is also important to have realistic expectations about the results of the surgery and to be prepared for the physical and emotional challenges of the recovery process. With proper preparation and care, orthognathic surgery can be a highly effective treatment for jaw abnormalities and can significantly improve your quality of life.
Post-Operative Care for Orthognathic Surgery
After the surgery, it is important to follow your surgeon's instructions closely and take steps to promote healing and reduce the risk of complications. In this article, we will explore some of the key steps you can take to care for yourself after orthognathic surgery.
Manage Pain and Discomfort
Orthognathic surgery can cause significant pain and discomfort, especially in the first few days after the procedure. Your surgeon will prescribe pain medication to help manage your symptoms, and it is important to take this medication as directed. You may also find relief from cold compresses, heat therapy, and other non-medical pain management techniques.
Follow a Soft Food Diet
After orthognathic surgery, you will need to follow a soft food diet for several weeks to allow your jaw to heal. This may include foods such as mashed potatoes, yogurt, smoothies, and soups. Avoid hard or crunchy foods, as well as foods that require a lot of chewing.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
It is important to maintain good oral hygiene after orthognathic surgery to reduce the risk of infection and promote healing. Brush your teeth gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush, and rinse your mouth with saltwater or a prescribed mouthwash as directed by your surgeon.
Attend Follow-Up Appointments
Your surgeon will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your progress and ensure that you are healing properly. It is important to attend these appointments and follow any recommendations or instructions provided by your surgeon.
Avoid Strenuous Activities
After orthognathic surgery, you will need to avoid strenuous activities such as exercise and heavy lifting for several weeks. This will help to prevent complications such as bleeding or swelling.
Swelling is a common side effect of orthognathic surgery, and can be managed with ice packs, elevation, and other techniques. Your surgeon may also recommend medications or other treatments to help reduce swelling.
Post-operative care is a critical component of a successful outcome after orthognathic surgery. By managing pain and discomfort, following a soft food diet, practicing good oral hygiene, attending follow-up appointments, avoiding strenuous activities, and managing swelling, you can promote healing and reduce the risk of complications.
It is important to follow your surgeon's instructions closely and to ask any questions or raise any concerns you may have during the recovery process. With proper post-operative care, you can achieve excellent results and enjoy a significant improvement in your quality of life.