Orthognathic surgery, also known as corrective jaw surgery, is designed to fix both major and minor irregularities of the dentition and facial skeleton, including misalignments in the jaws or teeth. While there are often aesthetic improvements, the primary benefits focus on functional issues, such as enhancing the ability to chew, speak, and even breathe normally.
When Is Orthognathic Surgery Performed?
While occlusion or “bite” issues can often be addressed with orthodontic procedures alone, many cases will require surgery to achieve the optimal desired results. Those patients with certain demands and problems should be evaluated by a Board Certified Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon for orthognathic surgery. These problems may include, but are not limited to:
- Birth defects, including cleft lip or palate
- Chronic headaches or pain in the jaw joints
- Difficulty biting or chewing
- Excessively worn teeth
- Facial injuries
- Improper bite
- Inability to bring the lips together without extreme effort
- Mouth breathing and dry mouth
- Protruding jaw
- Receding chin
- Sleep apnea
- Trouble swallowing
- Unbalanced appearance of the face from the front or side
Bite issues that are solely due to misaligned teeth may be corrected with orthodontics alone. However, in these cases surgery may be recommended if the misalignment of teeth is severe or if it is associated with gross malposition of the jaws.
What to Expect
The first step is a cooperative, comprehensive evaluation with your Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon and your orthodontist. The evaluation will include a clinical examination, facial x-rays and 3-D computer model imaging. Working as a team, we will provide a detailed treatment plan, and answer any questions that you may have. Orthognathic surgery is a serious commitment, so we encourage you to take your time in deciding whether it is right for you.
Treatment is several-stage process. You will require braces or other orthodontic therapy prior to surgery. Pre-surgical orthodontics will position your teeth all in preparation to optimize the surgery and end result.
As the pre-surgical orthodontic phase of treatment progresses to the surgical phase, we will take new pictures, x-rays, and computer models of your teeth and jaws to precisely plan your surgery. The surgical goal is to reposition your jawbones according to your specific needs. Many times this may include removing, reshaping, or even adding bone, and using a combination of surgical plates, screws and wires. The surgical procedures are performed with all of the incisions made from inside the mouth to minimize scarring.
We will provide detailed aftercare instructions depending on exactly what your surgery involves. Initial healing typically takes up to six weeks and most people are back to work or school in one to three weeks.
Ready to Get Started?
If you are ready to start your journey to better oral health with a highly skilled and experienced Board Certified oral surgeon, contact New Jersey Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates, P.C. today at 201-342-7353 (Hackensack), 201-941-9494 (Ridgefield), or 201-867-0404 (North Bergen) to schedule your first appointment.