Orthognathic Surgery: An Overview Of The Most Reliable Treatment For Malocclusion

October 25, 2020

Individuals suffering from severely misaligned teeth or malocclusion can enquire about orthographic surgery from their dentist. This corrective jaw surgery aims to correct facial imbalance including underbites, overbites, crossbites, and minimizes the breakdown of teeth. Healthy teeth are important in carrying out vital functions such as chewing, biting, and speaking, and irregularities of the jaw bone can lead to problems with swallowing and speech and prevent correct bite fit.

What is Malocclusion?

People who have an improper bite or jaws that are positioned incorrectly can undergo orthognathic surgery to avoid periodontal problems, jaw joint issues, or even poor facial aesthetics.

There are several different types of malocclusion such as overcrowding, spacing, crossbite, impacted tooth, open bite, overbite, underbite, and a missing tooth. 

Symptoms vary from case to case and can include misaligned teeth, speech problems, discomfort when biting or chewing food, change in the facial structure, difficulty breathing through the mouth, and frequent biting of tongue or cheeks. Some common causes of malocclusion are tooth loss, injuries or traumas, lack of oral care, and airways obstructed by enlarged adenoids or allergies. 

At the German Dental and Neuromuscular Clinic, methods used to treat malocclusion are growth modification (the use of a device to help the jaw shift into a better position), Invisalign, orthodontic braces, and retainers. More recently, orthographic surgery is being offered as the mainstay of treatment for patients diagnosed with malocclusion.

Orthognathic Surgery: Before, During, and After

After your orthodontist concludes that orthognathic surgery is the necessary course of action, they will draw up an appropriate treatment plan together with an oral surgeon. If your teeth need to be leveled and aligned before surgery can take place, the dentist will require you to wear braces for a period of 12-18 months. In some instances, surgeons will also use the help of computer treatment planning and virtual surgical planning to accurately fit and correct jaw segment positions. 

The surgery itself is performed in a hospital under general anesthesia. The surgeon will make cuts in the jawbones so they can be easily moved into the desired position and then integrate tiny bone plates, screws, wires, and rubber bands into the bone structure to secure the newly moved jawbones in place. The details of the surgery can vary from case to case with some requiring the bone to be reshaped to provide a better fit while in others, extra bone may be added to the jaw.

Once the surgery is completed, the doctor will provide you with detailed instructions on the healing process which usually takes anywhere from six to 12 weeks. Take the required medication to deal with pain and swelling. Consult with a dietitian to address any problems with eating. Also during this time, refrain from using tobacco and avoid strenuous activity.

Be sure to follow up after the initial healing of the jaw so your orthodontist can align your teeth with braces once again to avoid a relapse of orthodontic movements.

When an individual is diagnosed with malocclusion, orthognathic surgery is recommended so that either the upper, lower or both jaws can be moved to result in a more harmonious bite and enhanced facial appearance. Other health benefits include improvements in sleep, breathing, chewing, swallowing, and speech Impairments. If you are looking to restore a functional balance between all the components of your jaw and mouth regions, schedule a consultation with your family dentist to enquire about more details.