When the alignment of the teeth and jaws is not normal, you may have difficulty biting or chewing. You may also experience jaw joint pain and headaches. Corrective jaw surgery (also called orthognathic surgery) restores a normal tooth and jaw alignment and often improves or completely alleviates the pain and difficulties caused your abnormal bite. Restoring proper alignment also restores facial balance and improves facial aesthetics.
Corrective jaw surgery may involve moving your upper jaw, your lower jaw or both, depending on what is required to correct your jaw misalignment. Prior to surgery, you will likely need braces to help adjust and align your teeth so they fit together well at the time of surgery. Sometimes, your orthodontic preparation for jaw surgery may take 1-2 years. If you still have wisdom teeth, these will also need to be removed 6 months before your surgery. As your orthognathic surgery date nears, a CAT scan and new dental models will be made. These xray images and models will then be used to plan and model your surgery in virtual reality. This modeling forms the basis for what is then done in the operating room.
In most instances, the incisions for orthognathic surgery are placed in the mouth so they are not visible to others. Following surgery, most people stay in the hospital for 2-3 days. Typically, you will go home once your swelling is improving and your pain is well controlled. Serious complications are rare following orthongathic surgery but these should be discussed in detail with your surgeon before your operation.
Dr. Gage has over 10 years of experience in performing jaw surgery in children and adults, including many patients with cleft lip and palate. If you would like to meet Dr. Gage and discuss your jaw surgery needs, please call today to schedule an office consultation at (314) 251-4530.