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There are a number of reasons why people need to have jaw surgery. Also called orthognathic surgery, this type of procedure can correct problems with the jaw bones. It can realign the teeth and jaws so that they work better. It can also improve the way your face looks.

Corrective jaw surgery is usually used for problems with the jaw that can’t be fixed with just orthodontics. Often, the patient is already in braces when they have their jaw surgery. They often continue in braces as their jaw heals and everything is aligned properly. Sometimes, orthodontists work with your oral surgeon to create a personalized treatment plan.

Correcting the Jaws

When a patient needs jaw surgery, the surgeon often waits until they have stopped growing. This happens up until about age 16 for girls and up to age 21 for boys. Corrective jaw surgery is often done to fix a number of different dental and skeletal irregularities. After the patient has had this surgery, they may find that it is easier to speak, to chew and even to breathe. Corrective surgery may also improve the patient’s appearance, but the surgery’s intent is to fix functional issues with the jaws.

Conditions That May Require Jaw Surgery

You may need corrective jaw surgery if you have any of a number of different symptoms and conditions. These include: having trouble biting and chewing, having a difficult time swallowing, having a lot of pain in your jaw joint, having extreme wear to your teeth, having certain birth defects, a jaw that protrudes or frequently breathing through the mouth.

If your lower chin and jaw are receding, having a hard time making your lips meet, having an open bite and certain facial injuries can make corrective jaw surgery necessary for you. Sleep apnea can also sometimes be corrected with jaw surgery.

What Jaw Surgery Can Do for You

When you need jaw surgery for one of the conditions above, you can expect to see certain benefits from the surgery. These often depend on which type of jaw surgery you have and the reason behind it. These benefits may include: speaking and/or swallowing better, easier biting and chewing less wear to the teeth, the end to the breakdown of teeth, make it easier to close the lips, correct jaw-closure problems, correct bite-fit problems, less pain from TMJ disorder and other painful jaw issues, repair problems from birth defects or facial injuries and help to relieve your sleep apnea.

Preparing for Corrective Jaw Surgery

It’s common for people to need braces installed before they have surgery. They might be worn for a year or more before the patient has surgery so that their teeth are aligned and leveled before the surgery. When this happens, the orthodontist and the oral surgeon have worked together and have a mutual treatment plan that involves them both. You will likely need to get X-rays as well as various pictures of your teeth and jaw, and you may need models made of your teeth while the treatment plan is being developed.

You may also need to have crowns installed on certain teeth or to have some teeth reshaped so that they fit together better before your surgery. You may also need CT scanning for a 3D look at your jaws. In some cases, you may need anchoring devices installed so that you won’t have to wear braces for as long a time. Your oral surgeon can use virtual surgical planning to create a specific surgery plan for your specific needs. This will show them how exactly your jaw may need to be moved in order to get the best results.

When the corrective jaw surgery is performed, you will likely be under general anesthesia. For those who worry about having scars from their jaw surgeries, these surgeries can often be done on the inside of the mouth so that there are no outward scars. These surgeries are done in the hospital, and you may need to stay there for as long as four days.

After Your Surgery

After you have had jaw surgery, your oral surgeon will give you a lot of instructions about how to enable your body to recover faster. They will tell you not to smoke, as this can impede healing, and tell you exactly what to eat during your recovery time. You will likely be told not to engage in any strenuous activities for a while and told how to handle your oral hygiene routine. You will likely have medications to keep pain under control, and the surgeon will let you know when you can go back to work or to school. This often takes anywhere from one to three weeks of recovery time.

If you need corrective jaw surgery, call us at DFW Oral Surgeons to schedule a consultation for your jaw problems.