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What Do You Need to Know About Orthognathic Surgery

orthodontist operating on a patient

A visit to the dentist is a scary prospect but listening to the dentist throwing terms like orthognathic surgery can be scarier. If you hear your dentist use that term, this article will outline everything you need to know about it.

Orthognathic or corrective jaw surgery is performed to correct a wide range of major and minor skeletal and dental irregularities. This surgery can significantly improve the patient’s chewing, speaking and breathing. Moreover, the surgery may also enhance the appearance of the patient and correct functional problems of the jaw.

Who Needs Orthognathic Surgery

Those suffering from improper bite or incorrectly positioned jaws will benefit from corrective jaw surgery. The jaws grow gradually as a person grows and sometimes the upper and lower jaws may grow at different speeds. When this happens, it can affect the chewing, speech, lifetime oral health, and facial aesthetics of the person.

In a few cases, hereditary, injury or environmental factors can inhibit proper jaw alignment. Orthognathic surgery must be done if both teeth and jaws are out of line. In case of just poor teeth alignment, orthodontic surgery would suffice.

Symptoms Indicating You May Need Orthognathic Surgery

  • Difficulty in biting, chewing or swallowing food
  • Open bite
  • Chronic jaw pain or TMJ and headaches
  • Protruding lower jaw
  • Chronic mouth breathing or breathing issues due to jaw placement

3 Benefits of Doing the Orthognathic Surgery

  • Increased Oral Function – Ideally, the oral function should be smooth and comfortable. In case you have difficulty moving the mouth while speaking or eating, it can lead to various oral issues like TMJ, worn dentition and facial discomfort. Corrective jaw surgery will align the jawbones, thus improving occlusal problems. Once healed post surgery, the patients can enjoy smooth and comfortable oral functions.
  • Reduced Orofacial Pain – When the jaws are misaligned, especially in cases where the lower mandible meets up with the TMJ, it can produce intense and chronic orofacial discomfort. This is because the lower mandible’s position will stress the TMJ and its supportive muscular tissue. Misalignment of jaws can greatly reduce a person’s quality of life and have many negative effects on oral health. All these can be addressed by the surgery.
  • Improved Facial Symmetry – There may be instances when one jaw outgrows the other. This generally occurs during development and can be rectified with jaw surgery to produce a symmetrical aesthetic. The jaw surgery involves removing excess bone and aligning the jaws so that they meet up properly and appear proportionate.

Correction of Some Dentofacial Deformities

Correcting an Open Bite

The dentist removes some of the bone in the upper tooth-bearing portion of the jaw. The upper jaw is then secured in position with plates and screws.

Correcting a Receding Lower Jaw

The bone in the lower jaw is separated from its base and modified. The tooth-bearing portion of the lower jaw and a portion of the chin are re-positioned forward.

Correcting a Protruding Lower Jaw

The bone in the rear portion of the jaw is separated from the front and modified so that the tooth-bearing portion of the lower jaw can be moved back for proper alignment.

Follow the post-operation instructions carefully to reduce the risk of complications. If you have any questions, ask your dentist clearly and get satisfactory answers before the surgery is scheduled.

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