Due to injury, birth defects, or disparate growth rates of the upper and lower jaws, it is sometimes necessary to straighten or reposition the jawbone. A misaligned jaw can affect your chewing, speech, long-term oral health, and appearance.
Orthognathic surgery can move your teeth and jaws into a position that will result in a more attractive appearance and ensures your teeth meet correctly and function properly. Most patients require orthodontic treatment before and after surgery.
Your oral or maxillofacial surgeon should evaluate the following problem areas:
• difficulty in chewing, biting, or swallowing
• speech problems, tongue thrust, and slurring
• chronic jaw or TMJ pain
• open bite
• protruding jaw
• breathing problems
• recessive (small) jaw
Treatment method will be determined after a complete examination including X-rays and clinical examination.
Surgeries are done in a hospital under general anesthesia. For lower jaw surgery, the lower jaw is brought forward or moved back. For upper jaw surgery, the upper jaw is shortened or lengthened. Other facial bones contributing to the asymmetry of your face may be repositioned during this procedure.
Your hospital admission will range from 1-4 days depending on the amount of surgery (one or both jaws) and your recovery. It is very important to follow all the instructions given by your surgeon. There will be temporary swelling, possible bruising of your lips and cheeks for one to two weeks, and numbness. You may also experience a sore throat or nasal congestion due to the nasal tubes used for anesthesia. This can be controlled with medications. A good diet and oral hygiene is extremely important. Recovery should take approximately six weeks, with full healing expected within nine to 12 months.
Four to eight weeks after surgery, post-surgical orthodontic treatment will begin. Your orthodontist will make minor adjustments so that your teeth are in the best possible position. This phase lasts from three months to a year. Visit your surgeon and orthodontist periodically to ensure your teeth and jaws maintain their new position.
AAOMS (American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons) on Corrective Jaw Surgery