Orthodontists are highly skilled dental specialists who are trained to align the teeth. An important part of their assessment is the overall facial harmony. Simply correcting the alignment of the teeth and making them meet nicely can actually make the rest of the face look worse. In such circumstances, the challenge is to improve the positions of the bones supporting the teeth so that they match up.
Frequently, problems with the matching up of the top and bottom jawbones supporting the teeth can also be associated with snoring or obstructive sleep apnoea especially when either the top or bottom jawbone is small. To create a harmonious facial appearance and improved airway function, the jawbones can be surgically positioned into a more favourable position. For many patients, this is the only way to achieve optimal occlusion and facial aesthetics. It requires carefully co-ordinated care between Dr Leinkram and your orthodontist.
The usual pathway for patients is to commence orthodontic treatment to prepare them for their surgery. Your orthodontist will align the teeth, but the top and bottom teeth will not match up.
Once the teeth are aligned, Dr Leinkram will carefully assess you and plan to position the jawbones in their ideal aesthetic and functional positions. This plan will then be discussed with your orthodontist and presented to you for your input and suggestions. Once a final plan has been determined, we are ready for surgery.
Orthognathic surgery for both jaws as well as repositioning of the chin takes about four to five hours. Single jaw surgery takes about 2 hours. It is performed in hospital under general anaesthesia. The jawbones are repositioned and held in place by very small plates made of titanium. These sit under the gum and are never visible. Usually, they cannot even be felt and do not need to be removed. The surgery is performed inside the mouth and there are are no scars on the skin. The titanium plates do not alarm at the airport.
Usually, patients are in hospital for 2-3 days. You will need to follow a puree or liquid diet for the first two weeks and slowly progress to a normal diet by 6 weeks. At that point, your orthodontist will complete the final subtle adjustments to the bite and complete your treatment.
As with any operation, certain side effects and complication are possible. Fortunately, these are rare but will be explained to your carefully prior to your treatment.
Jaw straightening (orthognathic) surgery, in combination with orthodontics, will generally move your teeth and jaws into a new position that is more balanced, functional and healthy. This adjustment can benefit you in many ways, including:
If your dentist or orthodontist has recommended you for orthognathic surgery, it is likely you are a good candidate for the procedure. If you would like to learn more about the procedure and what it would mean for your personal case, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with Dr Leinkram. As a specialised oral and maxillofacial surgeon, he has treated patients with many different conditions and helped them improve their quality of life.