The why, how and what of jaw surgery
Corrective jaw (orthognathic) surgery corrects and treats imbalances of the jaws, facial bones and teeth, which can often cause a strain when it comes to talking, chewing and other day to day activities.
What is orthognathic (jaw) surgery?
Orthognathic surgery aims to correct imbalances between the upper and lower jaws, to improve the function and appearance of the mouth. Sometimes orthodontic treatment alone cannot correct your teeth and bite, because of the bones of your face and jaw (for example having a larger lower jaw and a normal sized upper jaw), which cause your jaws to be out of balance with one another.
It is usually planned together with orthodontic treatment, which means that you will be fitted for braces to move the teeth to make sure that they will be in the correct position for after the operation.
How would I benefit from orthognathic treatment?
Those who have issues with their jaw can benefit hugely from orthognathic treatment, as it not only changes your appearance but also your daily life:
- Chewing: surgery can help those who have difficulties in chewing or swallowing food due to the misalignment of the jaw. Correcting this will make daily activities such as eating more enjoyable.
- Joint pain: Once jaw surgery is completed, chronic joint pain of the jaw will no longer occur.
- Headaches: Many times, those who have misaligned jaws experience headaches and pain. This pain can be eliminated with corrective jaw surgery and less pain medication will be needed.
- Tooth wear: Treatment will prevent further wearing down of your teeth
- Bite: Treatment will adjust your bite, which is how your teeth fit together when your mouth is closed
- Sleeping: Many patients who have corrective jaw surgery have issues with breathing and sleeping. Corrective jaw surgery can allow for more rest, which can provide energy for a more productive lifestyle.
- Speech: The alignment of the teeth and jaw can affect speech, so correcting the jaw line can improve speech and prevent impediments.
What will the treatment involve?
Step 1: initial consultation & treatment plan
In the initial consultation you will meet our consultant, Dr Nayeem Ali and his team who will be personally looking after you throughout your treatment. Dr Ali will establish a diagnosis and will work with our specialist orthodontist, Dr Pratik Sharma, and together they will formulate a treatment plan that would best suit you.
Step 2: the surgery
After you undergo orthodontic treatment, the surgeon (Dr Ali) will undertake final planning with Dr Sharma to accurately move the jawbones to the required position. Surgery will be under general aesthetic and with the majority of cases, the surgery is done inside the mouth, so there are no external scars. During the surgery, the jawbones are repositioned and secured, and elastic bands are placed between the top and bottom braces to help guide the teeth into their new position.
Step 3: the recovery period
Most patients will remain in hospital for around 1-2 nights. After the operation, you will have some swelling and bruising but this should subside fairly quickly, over 2-3 weeks. You should therefore expect to take a few weeks off work.
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