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Reconstructive Jaw Surgery

It is possible to correct many minor and major skeletal or dental anomalies with corrective jaw surgery, including misaligned teeth and jaws. As a result, chewing, speaking, and even breathing can be dramatically improved. Although the surgery may improve the patient's appearance, it is intended to address functional issues rather than cosmetic ones. We work closely with each patient’s dentist and orthodontist to provide the best possible collaborative treatment.

When Is Corrective Jaw Surgery Needed?

Each patient is different, and some issues can be corrected with orthodontics rather than surgery. However, those with the following issues may be evaluated to determine whether corrective jaw surgery is the best solution:

  • Difficulty biting or chewing

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Chronic jaw joint pain and headaches

  • Excessive wear of the teeth

  • Improper bite

  • Unbalanced facial appearance from the front or side

  • Facial injury or birth defects

  • Receding chin

  • Protruding jaw

  • Inability to make the lips meet without straining

  • Chronic mouth breathing and dry mouth

  • Sleep apnea

Orthodontics can generally correct bite issues that involve misalignment of the teeth. If the misalignment is in the jaws, corrective jaw surgery may be necessary.

jaw deformities

Evaluation and Treatment Planning

Together with your dentist and orthodontist, we will determine whether you are a candidate for surgery. Orthodontic devices are usually needed before and after surgery. As a result, the entire treatment process could take several years. Considering the time and investment required for treatment, we will do our best to provide a realistic estimate of how long it will take and how much it will cost.

To ensure that our patients are well educated, we use comprehensive facial x-rays and 3-D computer models to show what can be expected from your treatment. We encourage you to ask detailed questions and to let us know if you are unhappy with any of our suggestions.

What Is the Treatment Process?

There are several steps involved in treating every patient, despite the fact that every case is unique. Before surgery, your orthodontist will likely place braces to move your teeth into a position that will fit together properly after your surgery. At this point, it might seem that your bite is getting worse instead of better, but it will be worth it when your teeth are properly aligned after your surgery.

We will take new x-rays, pictures, and models of your teeth and jaws near the end of your pre-surgical orthodontic treatment. This helps us to precisely plan out your surgery.

Depending on the specific surgery you will have, it may take place in our office, ambulatory surgical center, or hospital. Surgery may take one to several hours to complete.

The goal of surgery is to reposition your jawbones to fit your specific needs, this may include adding, removing, or reshaping bone. We may use surgical plates, wires, screws, and even rubber bands to hold your jaws in place. To minimize scarring, we usually make incisions inside the mouth, but sometimes small incisions may need to be made outside the mouth. We will do our best to minimize the appearance of these cuts.

We will provide you with a modified diet and a schedule for returning to a normal diet, after surgery. We recommend that you refrain from smoking and avoid strenuous activity for a few weeks. In most cases, the initial healing phase lasts six to eight weeks, while full healing may take a year. You will receive prescription pain medications, which you should take as directed. Depending on the complexity of the surgery and how they feel, most people return to work or school within one to three weeks.

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