If you need orthognathic jaw surgery, the surgeons at Arizona Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons can help. Orthognathic surgery, also known as corrective jaw surgery, is often considered when orthodontic work alone cannot fix a patient’s bite problems. The goal of surgery is to improve the function of the bite, but many patients notice improvements in their overall appearance as well.
Do I need orthognathic surgery?
Usually, braces and other methods of aligning the bite will be tried before resorting to surgery. In cases of severe misalignment, facial injury, or growth problems, surgery may be the only way to correct the issue. Your orthodontist and oral surgeon will thoroughly evaluate your condition before presenting your treatment options. Having difficulty in any of the following areas may be a sign that surgery is necessary:
- Problems chewing or fitting the teeth together when closing the jaw
- Difficulty eating (biting and swallowing food)
- Chronic pain around to jaw or TMJ
- Open bite – the teeth don’t come together when the mouth is closed
- Protruding or receding jawline
- Breathing problems or sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that affects a person’s breathing during sleep. Frequent pauses in breathing can last a few seconds or even minutes in serious sleep apnea cases. This disruption in breathing can lead to low blood oxygen, mental fog during the day, heart problems, and other serious issues. When nonsurgical treatments can’t provide relief, surgery may be considered as the next step in your sleep apnea treatment plan.
Jaw surgery sometimes helps open the airway. Repositioning the jaw to create more space for airflow can be very successful in treating sleep apnea. This procedure is more involved and is usually only considered in serious cases.
If you are interested in having an evaluation or learning more about jaw surgery, feel free to contact one of our offices in Tucson, AZ, or Oro Valley, AZ, for more information.
Orthognathic Surgery Procedure
Most of the time, orthognathic surgery will be a joint effort between you, your orthodontist, and your oral surgeon. The process of having orthognathic surgery almost always involves having braces before surgery and for a short period after. This allows your orthodontist to prepare your teeth for their new alignment and make any fine adjustments after the jaw is repositioned.
Oral Surgery Consultation
Once your teeth are ready, you will have an evaluation with your oral surgeon. Your surgeon will take 3D images during the evaluation to help us precisely plan your procedure. These high-quality images can be used to create models of your jaw and surgical guides for your procedure. The evaluation appointment is also a good time to ask questions and discuss your procedure with your surgeon. Your surgeon will give you a full overview of your pre- and post-operative instructions to help prepare you for treatment. Next, you will choose a date to return for your orthognathic procedure.
Your surgical visit may take place in one of our operating suites, but if your procedure is more extensive, it will probably take place in a hospital. These details will all be determined and communicated with you well before your procedure day. Once you arrive and prepare for surgery, the surgeon or anesthesiologist will administer your anesthesia. General or IV anesthesia is the standard for most jaw surgeries. Next, your surgeon will separate and reposition the portion of the jaw that needs movement and correctly reposition it. Tiny biocompatible plates and screws will secure the bone in place. Some patients worry that they will need to have their jaws wired shut during the healing period, but advances in orthognathic procedures have virtually eliminated the need to do this. Once the surgery is complete, you will rest and recover until you are ready to be driven home by your designated driver. If the procedure was very involved, you may spend a night in the hospital or care facility before returning home.
While the bone heals into its new position, your jaw will need rest. The first week or two is usually the most difficult, and most patients can start to resume their normal schedules around the second or third week. A soft diet will be necessary for some time, and you may have to return for periodic checkups to ensure that your jaw is healing properly. Full healing can take several months or more to complete, but patients are generally very pleased with their results after the recovery period. Once your teeth are ready, your orthodontist will make any final adjustments to your bite before removing your braces.
Orthognathic Surgery in Tucson, AZ, and Oro Valley, AZ
If you or your child needs jaw surgery, Dr. Robert Wood, Dr. Nicholas Coles, and Dr. Negin Saghafi have the skills necessary to evaluate and treat their condition. To learn more about jaw surgery at our practice, feel free to contact Arizona Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons at one of our offices in Tucson, AZ, or Oro Valley, AZ. One of our staff members will be happy to help you.