Orthognathic surgery, or corrective jaw surgery, is a procedure whose aim is to correct dental, jaw and facial abnormalities. These abnormalities are often caused by genetics or facial trauma. Besides the obvious effects on one’s physical appearance, these abnormalities can also affect a person’s ability to speak, chew or bite. Because of the presence of these abnormalities, orthognathic surgery was developed to help correct and fix these deformities.
A lot of people experience dental problems such as crooked teeth, and these problems are usually fixed by braces or some other dental solution. There are times, however, that a dental problem might actually be caused by jaw structure, such as differing jaw sizes or imperfect jaw positions, which in turn affects your dental health. This is because the alignment of your teeth is based as well on the position and sizes of your upper and lower jaws. Due to this problem being quite common, orthognathic surgery was developed and has since been a relatively popular procedure undertaken by many people in Singapore.
When is it necessary to undergo jaw surgery?
It varies case by case, which is why it is important that a patient undergo a preliminary check-up by a trusted so that his/her condition is assessed and whether or not jaw surgery is necessary. If the specific abnormality makes it difficult for the patient to function and carry out daily tasks, then jaw surgery is most likely needed to fix it.
What causes jaw abnormalities and deformities?
Jaw abnormalities and deformities are usually attributed to physical facial trauma or genetics.
What abnormalities and deformities can be fixed by jaw surgery?
Orthognathic surgery can be undergone to fix a slew of different deformities, such as:
- an open bite
- a protruding jaw
- a receding jaw
- facial asymmetry
- facial elongation
- a severe crossbite
- post-traumatic facial injury
- recurring jaw pain
If you have any of the given problems above, then it’s high time to consult with a trusted oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMFS) and determine if jaw surgery is needed or not.
What results can I expect from jaw surgery?
TES Clinic says that successful jaw surgery can result in many positive changes, such as:
- making the biting or chewing easier and improve overall the action of chewing
- slowing down the process of wear and tear of the teeth
- fixing problems in swallowing and speech
- correcting issues in closing the jaw and bite fit
- correcting facial asymmetries, such as small chins or overbites and crossbites
- lessening the strain in closing the lips
- relieving pain caused by TMJ disorder and other jaw problems
- repairing facial injury
- repairing birth defects
- providing relief for someone who has sleep apnea
Is jaw surgery a safe procedure?
Jaw surgery is a relatively safe procedure when done by an experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeon. However, there are a few risks in undergoing jaw surgery, such as:
- Loss of blood
- Nerve injury
- Jaw fracture
- Jaw relapsing to its original position
- Need for a follow-up surgery
Also, after the surgery, there might be some lingering pain or swelling. Other possible complications include eating problems and the inevitable adjustment period with your new appearance.
What are the preparations needed before jaw surgery in Singapore?
In a lot of cases, braces must be placed on teeth for about 12 to 18 months before surgery to ensure that your teeth are aligned and levelled in preparation for the procedure.
The orthodontist and oral and maxillofacial surgeon will develop a treatment plan for the patient, which includes x-rays, photos, and models of your teeth and jaw. All of these data are then examined and studies to fully prepare both the surgeon and the doctor for the jaw surgery. Some of the details that are observed and recorded include the shape of the teeth, and how your teeth fit together.
What happens during jaw surgery?
Before the surgery itself, general anaesthesia is injected into the patient to ensure that he/she will have little to no discomfort or pain during the long ordeal.
For the surgery, the incision is usually made inside the mouth so that there are no facial scars on the patient’s jaw, chin or mouth. There are cases, however, that some small incisions are made around the mouth.
After the incision, the surgeon will then make some cuts in the jawbone to move them to the intended position. Screws and wires are then used to keep and secure the bones in this position. Sometimes, the surgeon will transfer some bone from your hip, leg, or rib and added to the jaw. This is then secured with plates or screws. The bone may also be reshaped depending on the treatment plan.
What are the important things that need to be considered after jaw surgery?
Right after the procedure, the doctor will instruct you regarding the recovery. It is a good idea to avoid any demanding activity to give your body the energy to heal. The doctor will also give you some advice regarding what to eat, and which medicine to take to manage the pain and discomfort while the bone is still in the process of healing.
Patients will have to miss a bit of work or school as the first two to three weeks after the surgery is a delicate time when it comes to recovery. Six weeks after the surgery, the orthodontist will realign your braces. Expect a long but satisfying recovery as your teeth and jaw will start to look better compared to before.