Orthodontics Combined with Surgery (Orthognathic surgery)

Orthognathic surgery is needed when the relationship between the upper- and lower jaw, or the relationship between the skull and the jaws is abnormal. During orthognathic or surgical orthodontic treatment, the maxillofacial and oral surgeon works closely with a specialist orthodontist. The orthodontist will straighten and prepare the teeth, while the surgeon will reposition the jaws. This not only improves facial appearance, but also ensures that teeth meet correctly and function properly.

Who Needs Orthognathic Surgery?

People who can benefit from orthognathic surgery include those with an improper bite or jaws that are positioned incorrectly. Jaw growth is a gradual process and in some instances, the upper and lower jaws may grow at different rates. The result can be a host of problems that can affect chewing function, speech, long-term oral health and appearance. Injury to the jaw and birth defects can also affect jaw alignment. Orthodontics alone can correct bite problems when only the teeth are involved. Orthognathic surgery may be required for the jaws when repositioning is necessary.

Symptoms and signs of jaw discrepancies that warrant investigation:

  • Difficulty in chewing, biting or swallowing
  • Speech problems
  • Chronic jaw or TMJ pain
  • Open bite (anterior or posterior)
  • Protruding upper or lower jaw
  • Breathing problems (including obstructive sleep apnoea)
  • Syndromic involvement

Any of these symptoms can exist at birth, be acquired after birth as a result of hereditary or environmental influences, or as a result of trauma to the face. Before any treatment begins, a consultation will be held to perform a complete examination with X-rays and photographic imagery. During the pre-treatment consultation process, feel free to ask any questions that you have regarding your treatment. When you are fully informed about the aspects of your care, you and your dental team can make the decision to proceed with treatment together.

Following the surgical procedure, you will need to rest and recover for 2-3 weeks, following a strict diet and exercise regimen to help your jaw heal. You will continue to wear braces for 6-8 months. After the completion of your treatment, you will have to make use of retainers for the rest of your life.

Surgical orthodontics has many rewards that allow you to live a long and fulfilling life with a healthy and beautiful smile.

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