Orthognathic Surgery; Corrective Jaw Surgery

Orthognathic Surgery; Corrective Jaw Surgery

Orthognathic is a word that derives from two Greek works; ortho translates to straight and gnathic translates to jaws. Orthognathic or corrective jaw surgery is performed by Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons to correct a wide range of minor and major skeletal and dental irregularities, including the misalignment of jaws and teeth, to improve chewing, speaking and breathing. It is performed to correct functional problems in the jaw.

Conditions that may indicate a need for corrective jaw surgery could be; chronic mouth breathing and dry mouth, facial injury or birth defects, difficulty chewing, or biting food, difficulty swallowing, unbalanced facial appearance, (TMJ) pain and headache, receding chin, protruding jaw, inability to make the lips meet without strain, sleep apnea (breathing problems when sleeping, including snoring), and an open bite.

Corrective jaw surgery can take several years to complete and it is important to understand that it will probably include orthodontics before and after any type of surgery. The Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon determines which surgical procedure is most appropriate for their patient, they tend to place braces on the patient before a surgery as this will move the teeth into a new position. Sometimes this may appear to make the jaw problems worse, after the surgery however, the teeth should fit together properly.

Pictures, X-rays and models of your teeth will be made by your surgeon, in order to monitor the process. Under general anaesthesia, the surgery will take place in either a hospital, surgical centre or in a maxillofacial surgery, and may take up to several hours to complete. The surgeons tend to make most of the incisions on the inside of the mouth, however if incisions need to be made outside the mouth, care is taken to minimise their appearance and avoid scarring. The jawbones will be repositioned by the surgeon in accordance with the patients specific needs. Depending on the type of case, bone may be added, taken away or reshaped. Surgical plates, screws, wires and rubber bands may be used to hold the jaw in the new position.

Corrective jaw surgery works to move the teeth and jaw into a position that is more balanced and functional, the goal is to improve the bite and function. Patients find that along with these improvements, they experience enhancements to their appearance and speech. The surgery aims to have dramatic and positive effects on many aspects in a patients life. So make the most of the new you!