Orthognathic/Corrective Jaw Surgery
Orthognathic surgery is surgery of the jaws to correct a misaligned bite. Orthodontics (braces) can correct a bite that is misaligned only when the teeth are the cause of the misalignment. When the improper bite is due to the jaws, this is when orthognathic surgery maybe indicated.
Jaw growth is a gradual process and in some instances the jaws do not grow at the same rate. When the jaws are misaligned there can be a host of problems including, difficulty with chewing and biting, speech, TMJ pain, breathing issues, and facial appearance.
Orthognathic surgery can be performed on either the upper and/or lower jaw(s). During the surgery, the jaws are lengthen or shortened depending on the need. Titanium bone plates and screws are often used to fixate the jawbones, but on occasion the jaws need to be wired together for a short time. Orthognathic surgery is usually accomplished in the hospital and frequently requires a short stay admission.
Orthodontics (braces) are frequently used in conjunction with orthognathic surgery. Often braces are indicated both before and after surgery for an optimal result. In most cases you will be referred to our doctors for a surgical evaluation by your orthodontist. Often your initial consultation with us will be in the early phase of your orthodontic treatment, sometimes months or years before surgery would be indicated.
It is important to know whether you are a candidate for orthognathic surgery early in the treatment planning process. To maximize the results of your surgery, your pre-surgery braces may place the teeth in the best alignment for surgery, so the jaws will match up at the surgical time. The bite for those who are to undergo surgery may therefore appear to get worse before getting better at surgery, when the jaws are then aligned.
Ultimately, the results can be dramatic and can result in a more attractive, functional and healthy dental-facial relationship that braces alone cannot accomplish.