The experienced team at The Center for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery are skilled in diagnosing and treating a variety of facial and jaw issues and discomforts. From addressing wisdom tooth discomfort to diagnosing facial pain, their team is ready to provide a personalized treatment plan to all patients’ specific needs. A big part of what they do at The Center for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery consists of jaw and oral surgery, one of which is Orthognathic surgery.

Ortho-what surgery? Orthognathic surgery, sometimes referred to as simply corrective jaw surgery, is a type of surgery that corrects conditions of the jaw and face related to structure and growth. This is a complex surgery that is used to address a variety of issues and is best done by talented and experienced surgeons, like those at The Center for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. In this article we’ll answer some of the most common questions related to Orthognathic surgery to give you an idea of what this surgery consists of, what conditions it can treat and other questions you may have.

What is Orthognathic surgery?

First, let’s cover the biggest question on everyone’s mind right now: What is Orthognathic surgery? Orthognathic surgery treats conditions and skeletal misalignments that regular braces or orthodontic work would not be able to fix. When teeth are misaligned braces are usually enough to align them correctly, but sometimes Orthognathic surgery is required to further correct a misalignment that involves the jaws. It is also commonly used to treat some congenital conditions like cleft palate.

There are different types of Orthognathic surgery, but all of them mainly consist of the same process. During this type of surgery, bone is often cut, moved and realigned to correctly align the jaws. Overall, this surgery and process can be very successful in correcting a variety of jaw problems.

There are two common types of Orthognathic surgery: Maxilla osteotomy which focuses on correcting the upper jaw and Mandible osteotomy which focuses on correcting the lower jaw. These types of procedures have been around the longest and have been performed by oral surgeons since the 1940s. Other types of Orthognathic surgery include Sagittal split osteotomy which can be used to address an over or under bite and Genioplasty osteotomy which is done to either bring the chin forward or backwards.

How do I know if I need this surgery?

Orthognathic surgery is performed and deemed necessary when the top and bottom jaws do not meet correctly and/or when the teeth do not adequately fit within the jaw. Performing this surgery not only helps ensure the teeth align and therefore function correctly, but Orthognathic surgery can also help improve facial appearance.

So how do you know if you may need this surgery? Ultimately, there’s no way to know that for sure without being evaluated by an oral surgeon, but keep reading for some of the conditions that Orthognathic surgery can remedy.

Orthognathic surgery can benefit people who suffer from an improper bite or jaws that are positioned improperly. These problems can be caused by how the jaws grow and other hereditary factors or can be a result of facial trauma. Since the top and bottom jaws grow separately, there are some instances where they can grow at different rates and create problems and discomfort that may affect chewing, speech, appearance and long-term oral health. Birth defects and facial trauma are other instances that can cause misalignment and differences in the top and bottom jaws.

When issues like this are being experienced by a patient, Orthognathic surgery may be the answer. Orthodontics alone can be utilized to address issues when only the teeth are involved, but when the jaw is affected as well, surgery is often required to reposition the jaws as necessary.

Some of the ailments that can be treated by Orthognathic surgery include sleep apnea, pain associated with TMJ disorders, orthodontic problems and some issues related to facial appearance. Jaw misalignment, or significant differences in growth, can cause some disorders like sleep apnea, but they can also be a source for daily discomfort as well. Many people that undergo Orthognathic surgery are doing so to address chewing and speech problems which can lead to jaw muscle and bone strain and pain.

If you suffer from an under or overbite, then you probably know the discomfort that it can lead to when it comes to eating, speaking and possibly even sleeping. Orthognathic surgery can address those conditions as well as an open bite, which can also cause daily discomfort.

What can be expected with this surgery?

If you are dealing with any of the issues described above, then it’s important to be evaluated by a skilled surgeon with experience in this type of surgery. At The Center for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery they will start by evaluating the symptoms you are experiencing. These symptoms may include difficulty with chewing, biting or swallowing; speech problems; chronic jaw or TMJ pain; open bite; protruding jaw; and breathing problems. During the consultation they will also take a series of comprehensive x-rays to see what issues may need to be addressed.

During your consultation you will also be encouraged to fully communicate all of your questions, concerns and symptoms to ensure you are getting a treatment plan that will address your specific situation. Once all of the information related to your case is collected, you and your dental team will proceed with a treatment plan.

The preparation process normally lasts a few months and the actual surgery is usually performed for one to four hours. After the surgery, it is common to stay in the hospital for up to three days. The recovery process for Orthognathic surgery can be lengthy, but it is important to ensure the correct results are achieved. Your dental team will work with you to make sure that you are fully informed with everything that this process consists of before moving ahead with surgery.

Now that you know what Orthognathic surgery is and what it can treat, hopefully you have a better understanding of how this may fit into your oral health. If you are experiencing jaw pain or discomfort as a result of an over or underbite, then it’s important to have it evaluated by an experienced dental team. The team at The Center for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is highly experienced in Orthognathic surgery and will be able to evaluate your unique case and decide whether or not this surgery is an appropriate treatment option for you.

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