Corrective Jaw Surgery
Orthognathic Surgery (Corrective Jaw Surgery)
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.
Your Personal Consultation
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 liquid diet for the first few days followed by a puree diet for four weeks and slowly progress to a normal diet by 6 weeks when directed by Dr Leinkram. 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 you carefully prior to your treatment.
Benefits of Orthognathic Surgery
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:
- Improved bite function: Jaw surgery combined with orthodontics improves the contact of the teeth between upper and lower jaws as they meet. This improves activities such as chewing, eating and speaking.
- Straightened smile: A misaligned jaw will appear very visibly in your smile and may affect the way you feel about your image. When you bring your jaw and teeth back into alignment, you will enjoy a straighter smile, which is more aesthetically desired and may give you reason to smile more often. It is said that smiling itself can help make you feel happier, and we want you to flaunt your teeth without hesitation.
- Improved facial aesthetics: Jaw surgery can correct facial asymmetry and balance facial features and profile.
- Improved breathing: The new position of the jaws will open the airways. This has been shown to improve snoring and sleep apnoea. For severe obstructive sleep apnoea, orthognathic surgery is often the treatment of choice that will be recommneded by your sleep physician.
How can orthognathic surgery help you?
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.