Orthognathic surgery is sometimes needed when your upper and lower jaws don’t meet correctly or your teeth don’t seem to fit together properly. Your teeth are first straightened and correctly positioned with braces/orthodontic appliances. Corrective jaw surgery is then completed by your Oral Surgeon to reposition misaligned jaws. While this typically improves facial esthetics, more importantly it allows your jaws/teeth to meet correctly and function appropriately.
Who May Require Orthognathic Surgery?
Large jaw discrepancies (overbite/underbite) are the main reason for patients to seek jaw surgery. Jaw growth is a gradual process, which generally stops after teenage years. Many things can contribute to changes in jaw position and growth, such as: genetics, injury/fracture and some birth defects. These changes can affect chewing function, long-term oral health, esthetics/appearance, speech and can cause breathing problems (obstructive sleep apnea).
Before any treatment begins, a consultation will be held to perform a complete examination with x-rays. This information will be shared with your Orthodontist to develop the most appropriate surgical plan.
How Long Is This Process?
The most important factor in orthognathic surgery is to time your bodies growth with the surgical procedure. The majority of jaw corrective surgeries cannot be completed until you are finished growing. Continued growth will potentially compromise the final position of the teeth and jaws and likely require additional surgeries to correct. Your Oral Surgeon will ensure that you will be ready for surgery, but this may take several radiographs (x-rays), impressions/models and multiple appointments.