Corrective jaw surgery, referred to as orthognathic in medical literature, can be used to correct a range of minor and major skeletal and dental conditions such as the misalignment of the jaws and teeth. Whether minor or major, misalignment can affect chewing, speaking and breathing with significant impacts on health as well as on a person’s sense of wellbeing.
Orthognatic surgery often dramatically enhances a patient’s appearance, but it is not cosmetic surgery. It is performed to correct functional problems. To determine if you need corrective jaw surgery, generally your dentist, orthodontist and OMF surgeon will work together to assess your situation.
Some misalignment occurs naturally, when jaws or teeth grow at different rates, and cause varying degrees of improper bite. An orthodontist may be able to correct the problem if only the teeth are misaligned, but corrective jaw surgery may be necessary when there is a problem in jaw alignment.
The surgical expertise and thorough understanding of the aesthetics and function of the mouth, teeth, jaws and face allow an OMF surgeon to diagnose your condition and perform corrective jaw surgery.
If surgery is appropriate for you, your surgeon will perform it but you will probably also require orthodontics before and after surgery. This process may require several years to complete and involves a long-term commitment from you and, possibly, your family.
Your surgeon and dental team will work with you to advise on dietary changes that may be required and to manage pain during the different stages of your treatment. Most people are able to return to work within one to three weeks of surgery, the complete healing phase is between six months and a year.