What is Jaw Surgery?
Corrective surgery is also known as orthognathic surgery. This surgery is provided for patient’s who have dental and jaw malalignment that cannot be corrected with orthodontics alone. Jaw malalignment is relatively uncommon affecting approximately 1% of the population. Having malalignment affects both facial appearance and function.
Why is Jaw Surgery needed?
When teeth do not properly match, patients can have difficulty chewing certain foods and jaw muscle fatigue. Teeth can abnormally wear which affects their long term prognosis. Additionally, malposition of the jaws can affect breathing through the mouth and nose and ultimately can be the cause for obstructive sleep apnea. Depending on the type of malalignment, certain patients can have difficulty closing their lips which results in gum inflammation and Treatment of jaw malalignments has both esthetic and functional benefits.
Who’s a good candidate for Jaw Surgery?
If a patient is a candidate for orthognathic surgery, they often will be referred to an oral surgeon for evaluation prior to having braces placed. This is an important appointment because explaining the details of surgery and the time line involved is useful for patients who are trying to decide on whether to have surgery or not. Orthodontists need this information to proceed with treatment. If they know you’re not going to have surgery, the dental movement that braces provide may be different than that if patient’s decide on surgery.
What can you expect with Jaw Surgery?
For those who decide on surgery, patients first go through a period of orthodontics before having jaw surgery which is performed in an operating room at the hospital.
Generally, there is a 1-2 night stay in the hospital and then the patient is discharged home where they undergo a 6 week healing period. During this period the jaws may be wired or rubberbanded shut to ensure proper healing. Thereafter there is a period of finishing orthodontics that generally lasts 3-6 months.
Medical insurance often covers corrective jaw surgery and we will work diligently to authorize with insurance.
If you think you may need jaw surgery or want to learn more about this treatment option, call our office today and we’ll help to schedule an appointment for you.