Many patients need to get jaw surgery to correct any of a number of jaw problems. Jaw surgery comes with a lot of benefits for patients who have jaw problems and have trouble doing things like chewing and talking. There could be a few side effects after getting jaw surgery, but these generally don’t last very long. Jaw surgery, also called orthognathic surgery, is often necessary for realigning the teeth and jaws and correcting various problems that exist in the jaw bones. The surgery can also improve the appearance of the face in a number of ways. This is especially true when the jaw has been protruding and is realigned through surgery.
For some jaw problems, getting braces or other orthodontics can help. However, this isn’t always true. When orthodontics aren’t enough to help with your jaw problem, you may need to get surgery to get enough correction. It’s common for braces or other orthodontics to be used in concert with jaw surgery. Braces may be installed before your surgery, and you may have to wait a few months to a year or more to get your surgery after that. This allows the braces to correct your jaw as much as possible before the surgery is done.
Why Do People Get Jaw Surgery?
There are many conditions and problems with the jaw that can be corrected with jaw surgery. For people who have difficulty chewing and biting or have trouble with speaking or swallowing, jaw surgery can be a big help. When the jaw is misaligned, it can cause the teeth to become very worn, and they may even break down. Jaw surgery can end this problem. When the jaw doesn’t close properly, such as when the front teeth don’t touch when the jaw is closed, surgery can help.
Some people get jaw surgery to fix an asymmetry of the face. This may include a chin that’s very small, crossbites, overbites, and underbites. Some people have a hard time closing their lips comfortably or have TMJ pain that can be relieved with this surgery. It can also help those who have certain birth defects of the face or who have had an injury that affected the jaw. Patients with obstructive sleep apnea can also get relief.
Side Effects You Might Experience
Many people have pain and swelling in the surgical area after their surgery. This won’t last long, and the surgeon will be able to give you a number of ways that you can keep the pain and swelling down. You will likely have medication to help with any discomfort, and there are a number of over-the-counter remedies that can be effective in bringing down any swelling. You might also have trouble eating at first as the area is healing. You can talk to a dietitian if you worry about your nutrition. Many people use nutritional supplements after their jaw surgery for this reason.
Some people also have little time when they need to adjust to the way their face looks after the surgery. It can be a little surprising at first to look into the mirror and see a slightly different face. However, patients are generally happy with the change- it’s simply surprising for those first few days. You will soon get used to your different look and will be happy with the change.
Testing Before Your Jaw Surgery
Before you get your jaw surgery, you will likely need an examination plus different types of imaging tests. You might need to have braces installed and wear them for up to 18 months. You may have your orthodontist plus your oral surgeon work toward a plan for your treatment that involves them both. You will likely need to have models made of your teeth as a part of the surgeon’s planning for the surgery. You might also need to have some of your teeth reshaped or to get crowns as a part of the correction process. You will need many pictures taken as well as x-rays as a part of the planning.
You will likely need a 3D CT scan to further get a look at your teeth and jaw. Virtual surgical planning is often used as a high-tech way to guide the surgeon to the correct position for the jaw. This can help you to get the best result from your surgery.
Your Jaw Surgery
Most patients are given general anesthesia to keep them under throughout the surgery. This keeps the patient comfortable throughout the procedure. The surgery often needs to take place in the hospital, followed by a short stay there. When the surgery is done, you don’t have to worry about having facial scars from it in most cases. The surgery can most often be done on the inside of the mouth so that there are no external incisions. In a small percentage of cases, however, there may need to be tiny incisions on the outside.
Once the surgery is done, you will be given detailed instructions about how to protect the surgical area and how to control any discomfort and swelling. You will have to avoid tobacco and take special care with your oral hygiene as well as avoid any strenuous activities for a little while.
Get Your Consultation About Jaw Surgery
When you’re interested in getting jaw surgery to correct a jaw problem, we’re here to 2consult with you and let you know whether you’re a good candidate for this surgery. Just contact us at DFW Oral Surgeons to make your appointment.