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The Look Orthodontics Guide to Orthognathic Surgery
It’s even difficult to say, let alone understand! That is why at The Look Orthodontics we have developed this small guide to help better explain this surgical procedure.
Not all malocclusions are caused solely by the alignment of the teeth. Some malocclusions are caused by a problem with the size, shape or alignment of the jaw bones. This can be the underlying cause of the poor bite and unbalanced facial proportions.
Unfortunately some people are born with, or even develop, skeletal problems that prevent them from developing an optimal bite. A lower jaw that is shorter or “set back” may make the upper teeth appear to “stick out” or appear to be more prominent. A larger lower jaw may produce a reverse bite of the front teeth.
These malocclusions can cause many issues within the body such as:
- Difficulty chewing
- Speech issues
- Joint pain and headaches
- Unbalanced facial proportions ( poor facial aesthetics)
In minor cases, the teeth may be moved to compensate or camouflage the jaw discrepancy. In more severe cases, alignment of the teeth alone will not fully correct the malocclusion. Jaw realignment surgery (orthognathic surgery) in conjunction with orthodontics to align the teeth may be recommended.
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Orthognathic surgery is done in conjunction with a specialist Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon as part of a team approach.
If orthognathic surgery is recommended, you will be referred to a specialist Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon for a consultation. All your X-rays and information will be forwarded to the surgeon. The surgeon will examine and discuss in detail the process and expected results, to ensure that you are able to make a fully informed decision about the problem and the surgery recommended for yourself or your child.
Both the orthodontist and surgeon will work closely together to ensure the best outcome.
The combined orthodontic and orthognathic surgery treatment takes approximately 2 years. Braces are fitted first to align the teeth to the best position over each individual jaw. This will take 12 months.
Surgery is then performed when the teeth are in the best position, approximately 12-18 months into the treatment. The braces remain on during the surgery.
Surgery is performed whilst the patient is asleep under a full general anaesthetic in a hospital environment. The surgery in generally performed entirely from inside the mouth with no incisions on the face. The jaws are carefully divided and realigned to the correct position where they are then set.
[mk_blockquote style=”quote-style” font_family=”none” text_size=”12″ align=”left”]If required, wisdom teeth are removed at the same time as the surgery so only one bout of surgery is generally required.[/mk_blockquote]
Recovery is normally an overnight stay in hospital with the patient being allowed to go home the next day.
Recuperation time differs from patient to patient, however there is some facial swelling and discomfort for one to two weeks. Adequate pain relief will be prescribed by the surgeon. Most patients return to work/school within two weeks. The jaw will fully heal similar to any broken bone within 6-8 weeks.
Softer foods will be recommended in the initial few weeks after surgery while the bones are healing.
Braces generally remain on the teeth for final detailing of their position for about 4-6 months after surgery.
After braces are removed, retaining plates will be fitted to hold and settle the teeth similar to normal bracing treatment. The duration these are required will be determined by your orthodontist.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.