A TECHNIQUE THAT COMBINES JAW SURGERY AND ORTHODONTICS
Orthognathic surgery corrects the alignment of the jaws and teeth to improve their function and appearance. This surgery may be an option if you have moderate to severe jaw problems that can only be solved with orthodontics. It is performed after the cessation of growth, usually from 16 years.
WHO NEEDS ORTHOGNATHIC SURGERY?
Here are the most common conditions that require a corrective jaw surgery:
- Difficulty chewing or biting food
- Asymmetrical appearance of the face (face or side);
- Chin fleeing;
- Protruding jaw;
- Inability to close lips without forcing;
- Sleep apnea (breathing problems during sleep)
- Excessive wear of teeth;
- Gap (gap between the upper and lower teeth when the mouth is closed)
- Gummy smile (when the lips do not close completely or pull up and excessively release the gum)
- Facial injury or congenital malformations.
Orthognathic surgery can help realign teeth and jaw so that they are aesthetic and functional. This procedure corrects malocclusions (jaw offset), the problems they cause and much more.
HOW IS ORTHOGNATHIC SURGERY PERFORMED?
In most cases, an orthodontist places fixed appliance (“pins”) on your teeth before surgery. These orthodontic appliances are usually in place for 12 to 24 months prior to surgery to align your teeth. Once the teeth are aligned, surgery is planned with your maxillofacial surgeon. In some cases, it is even possible to plan bone movements and anticipate facial appearance using computer analysis; a bit like doing the surgery virtually on the computer.
The surgery takes place in the hospital under general anesthesia. Your surgeon makes cuts in the jaws and moves them to the proper position determined according to pre-operative planning. Screws and plates secure the bones in their new position. Usually, the surgery is done inside the mouth entirely – as a result, it leaves no scars on the chin, face, near the mouth of the jaw. In some cases, extra bone (graft) can be added to the jaw. A short hospital stay of one to two days is necessary. Full recovery at home usually takes three to six weeks. In general, the surgery is not very painful and the pain is well relieved with the prescribed medication.
FOLLOWING THE SURGERY
After the surgery, your orthodontist will take a few months to finish aligning your teeth and then remove the devices (pins). After orthognathic surgery, patients are often required to adhere to a liquid or soft diet. After a few weeks, stronger foods are added. Adherence to the suggested diet is important. Analgesics and antibiotics are prescribed to the patient. There is often some edema around the area of the jaw, and in some cases bruising. The majority of the swelling disappears in the first weeks. Patients are normally able to return to work or to their studies within 1 to 4 weeks after surgery, depending on the speed of healing. Orthognathic surgery is a proven procedure that provides predictable, effective and stable results.