When a patient has an alignment issue in their mouth that is complex and is causing other problems, such as weakened bite and difficulties with cleaning, a dental team will often meet to discuss options.
This is nothing to be worried about; after all, your dental team wants to help you get the best smile you can while also ensuring your teeth and jaws are functional enough to bite and chew food properly
Complex alignment issues in the jaws can occur due to genetic predispositions, after accidents or trauma, or due to progressive illnesses. This can present a challenging case for dentists and orthodontic teams who may offer a range of treatments to help correct the malocclusions.
Orthognathic surgery is a very specialised branch of maxillofacial and oral surgery that is usually part of the orthodontic branch of dentistry.
Typically, it involves the modification of one or both jaws in order to change the alignment and position. This can be extremely beneficial if the misplacement causes issues with breathing, like sleep apnoea or excessive snoring.
This is never undertaken by itself and is used with other orthodontic work, like braces, to give you the most appealing smile and to provide you with the strongest set of teeth.
What happens during the surgery?
Depending on the plan decided between your dentist, orthodontic team and the surgeons, you would be made aware of what they are actually going to do, including new position of the jaw(s) and where the incision will be made. You will be fully informed about the whole procedure.
This surgery is always performed under local anaesthetic and your jaw(s) will be adjusted to the desired position and held in place with metal screws or plates. The number of securing devices will depend on the extent of the realignment.
Will I have scars?
Yes, you will, but only along your gum line where the incisions are made. During this surgery the skin on your neck and face will not be opened, so you will be left with no visible scarring.
What happens after the surgery?
When the procedure is complete, you will be called back to your dentist for weekly check-ups for the first month, to keep an eye on any complications such as infections. You will also be required to visit your orthodontist during this time.
When everything is healed (in around 2 months), your orthodontist may decide to fit you with braces, which will help correct the more moderate misalignments.
Remember, the purpose of this option is to correct a severe malocclusion in your mouth and once your surgery is complete and you have healed, you will be left with a straightened, more symmetrical smile.
This will improve your confidence overall and prevent you from needing any intensive surgeries in the future if your alignment issue is progressive. The surgery is straightforward, a great solution to malocclusion and has long term benefits.