Orthognathic surgery or jaw surgery commonly refers to a group of procedures which can correct or realign how the teeth and jaws come together to improve a patient’s bite and junction. Jaw surgery is usually indicated when routine orthodontic treatment (braces) cannot solely be effective due to the degree of severity. This type of surgery is usually coordinated with an orthodontist and braces to properly align the teeth. The need for surgery is patient focused depending on the abnormality or malalignment of the jaws. This may be due to a growth defect, birth defect, previous trauma, or TMJ disorder with the bite (malocclusion) or skeletal deformity.
The orthodontist’s office and our office will coordinate models, xrays, measurements, progress notes, and other pertinent information to build a collection of all your data to properly treatment plan a customized surgery to re-establish facial and dental harmony. This could include any combination of upper jaw (maxillary) and/or lower jaw (mandibular) procedures. The goal is to improve the alignment of a patient’s bite, facial balance, and increase the size of the airway.
Generally this type of surgery is performed by an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon in a surgery center or hospital type of setting under general anesthesia, where in some instances 1-2 night hospitalization is indicated for observation.
Common Reasons or Indications Orthognathic Surgery:
- Malalignment of the teeth or jaws causing a severe under-bite, cross-bite, or overbite
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or biting foods which can lead to jaw muscle pain
- Abnormal tooth wear potentially causing or leading to loss of teeth
- TMJ Dysfunction (TMD) – Certain type of TMJ issues can be treated with jaw surgery
- Breathing problems/sleep apnea
What does orthognathic surgery involve?
Most commonly it is a team approach where your dentist will identity a malocclusion or bad bite and refer you to an orthodontist for consultation and workup. Based on the orthodontist’s evaluation they will decide whether you should be treated as a combined orthodontic (braces) and surgical approach or not and to make the appropriate referral to our office.
We will see you in our office to start to process of data collection including: physical examination, panorex x-rays, cephalometric x-rays, CBCT ( digital 3D bone scan), dental models, impressions, and measurement. We will work with your other dental providers and determine how to best correct and improve primarily function but also paying close attention to facial changes and harmony. We will take the time to discuss the recommended procedure(s), risks, benefits, alternatives so that you can make the best informed decision for you. Afterwards one of our treatment coordinators will discuss how to maximize your insurance benefits and the process/timeframe. This type of surgery will impact both proper jaw function and the aesthetic appearance of the entire face so therefore the planning/consultation stage will be detailed to cover all the necessary bases.