When your jaw is misaligned, it can cause a lot of problems. Whether your bite pattern makes it hard to chew or your jaw structure gives you facial pain, jaw correction surgery can help you.
Finding a good oral surgeon in your area is important because the process can take a while. You’ll want to be comfortable with your surgeon and close to their office.
This article will help you learn what to expect when you’re getting jaw correction surgery.
How Does Jaw Correction Surgery Work?
Jaw surgery refers to several types of procedures. These procedures are called orthognathic surgery. You can have jaw correction surgery on your upper jaw or lower jaw, or both at the same time.
Most orthognathic surgeries are in-patient procedures. You can expect to be in the hospital for a few days, but no more than a week. Most of the incisions, if not all of them, will be inside your mouth to avoid facial scarring.
The exact steps of your surgery will depend on what your oral surgeon is trying to correct. However, most of these procedures involve moving part of your jaw bone into alignment with the rest of your jaw.
For some jaw correction surgery, your surgeon may reshape your existing jaw bone or supplement it with bone from another part of your body. Once the bones are in the correct place, your surgeon will fasten them in place with tiny brackets, screws, plates, wires, or even rubber bands. As you heal, the plates, screws, and brackets will fuse to the bone.
There are two main types of jaw surgery, upper jaw surgery, and lower jaw surgery.
Upper Jaw Surgery
Upper jaw surgery is called a maxillary osteotomy. For this procedure, your surgeon will move your entire upper jaw as one unit. This includes the roof of your mouth and your top row of teeth.
Your surgeon will bring the whole bone forward or backward to better align with your bottom teeth and jaw. Once it’s in place, your surgeon will anchor it with screws, using plates to bridge any gaps. If there is bone in the way, they might reshape it first to make a better fit for the upper jaw.
Lower Jaw Surgery
Lower jaw surgery is called a mandibular osteotomy. Like the maxillary osteotomy, your surgeon will move the whole jaw at once. However, this procedure does not normally involve the hinge of the jaw, where it connects to the rest of the skull.
To move the bottom portion of the lower jaw, the surgeon will cut the bone behind your molars. That is the portion they will move to align it with the rest of your teeth. Like an upper jaw surgery, your surgeon will use a combination of plates and screws to fix your lower jaw into its new position.
Why Would You Need Jaw Correction Surgery?
There are a handful of reasons you might need jaw correction surgery. Common reasons include correcting your bite pattern, fixing a protruding jaw (either upper or lower), or relieving pain from a misaligned jaw.
During a jaw correction surgery, your surgeon can move your jawbones forward, backward, side to side, or even expand your palate. This means your doctor can correct a wide variety of jaw problems through this type of surgery.
A common medical issue that surgeons treat with orthognathic surgery is TMD. Temporomandibular disorders are disorders that come with a lot of jaw and facial pain. Realigning your jawbones can relieve these symptoms.
In addition to the medical benefits, jaw surgery can also balance your facial features to improve your appearance. Jaw correction surgery can help restore your facial appearance after an accident or injury as well.
How to Prepare for Jaw Correction Surgery
Getting ready for jaw correction surgery can take a significant amount of time. In most cases, you will work with an orthodontist first before getting your orthognathic surgery.
Braces and other types of orthodontia can help adjust the spacing and orientation of your teeth before your jaw surgery. You might have your braces for up to a year and a half before surgery. If you already have braces, but they aren’t correcting your jaw alignment, your orthodontist may recommend jaw correction surgery.
Once your orthodontist has recommended the surgery, they will work together with an oral surgeon to make your surgical plan. This could involve scans, different or additional orthodontia, and other appointments.
You’ll want to work with a surgeon near you. You’ll need to go to multiple appointments before and after your procedure. If you need jaw correction in Provo, make sure your orthodontist and your surgeon are in the same area.
What to do After Jaw Correction Surgery
After your surgery, you’ll have a long recovery period, usually about twelve weeks. During the first few weeks, you’ll need to avoid strenuous activity. You’ll likely have a prescription for medication to help with the pain, and your doctors will give you personalized instructions for how to keep your incision sites clean and healthy.
After the first six weeks, you’ll have another appointment with your surgeon and orthodontist. If you’re healing well, they may fit you for braces, retainers, or other orthodontia to help finish the realignment.
From beginning to end, the whole process can take up to a few years. It’s important to find a surgeon you’re comfortable with, as you’ll see them multiple times throughout the process.
Talk to an Oral Surgeon Today
No matter what kind of jaw correction you need, an oral surgeon can help you get the right results. From reducing the symptoms of TMD to realigning your facial features, orthognathic surgery can help you.
If you think you need jaw surgery in Provo, we’re here for you. Contact us today to make an appointment and learn whether this procedure might be right for you.