Orthognathic surgery, also called corrective jaw surgery, refers to various procedures to improve the condition, function, and/or appearance of the face, particularly lower part of the face such as upper jaw, lower jaw, and chin. This is usually seen clearly in the unbalanced face shape and difficulty closing the mouth.
Orthignatic surgery may be undertaken to improve how the teeth fit together, normalize or optimize facial proportions, and/or to treat obstructive sleeep apnea.
Whether you want to improve your appearance or are experiencing functional problems, orthognathic surgery can be a life-changing procedure.
How do I know I need orthognathic surgery?
There are a lot of people with facial imbalances. Jaw or forehead that is too large or too small, teeth not fitting right or just aren’t in right position, flat cheeckbones, those are all examples of facial characteristics that can be improved with orthognathic surgery.
Here are some common facial abnormalities:
- Retruded Maxilla
This is when the maxilla (upper fixed bone of the jaw formed from the fusion of two maxillary bones) recedes with respect to the frontal plane of the forehead. A retruded maxilla can have detrimental effects on a person’s aesthetics.
- Protruded Maxilla
Condition where the upper jaw along with the upper teeth is too ‘forward’. In some cases, the sufferer would have difficulty closing their lips. Teeth would always be visible and in most cases, so would the gums when smiling (gummy smile) which resulted from excessive vertical growth of the maxilla.
- Protruded Mandible
Pathologic mandibular prognathism is a potentially disfiguring genetic disorder where the lower jaw outgrows the upper, resulting in an extended chin and a crossbite. It is sometimes a result of acromegaly.
- Face asymmetry
Condition where some parts of the face are more developed or less developed so that one part of the face becomes bigger or smaller.
Do I need orthognathic surgery?
You are advised to do orthognathic surgery if you have displaced jaw. Orthognatic surgery will treat the jaw so it can function properly.
What will the surgery be like?
Orthognathic surgical process usually lasts 3 to 4 hours during which you will be sedated. A small incision will be made on the inside of your mouth to expose the bone to be cut, then the surgical procedure will be carried out. The incision will be closed by suturing.
How long is the recovery time?
There is usually swelling and facial color changes during recovery.
In-hospital recovery time varies from 1 to 3 days after surgery. Physical activities need to be limited for at least a week after surgery. Any heavy work physical activities are not advised in the first month after surgery.
What if I don’t want to have orhognatic surgery?
Imperfect jaw can impact not only your appearance (at minimum), but also its function. If the functional problems are not resolved, it can cause difficulties with biting and chewing, closing your mouth, and/or also difficulties with speaking clearly.
It can also cause problem with dental health, gums and especially jaw joint health (TMJ) if not treated.
The other reason people opt for othognatic surgery, as mentioned above, is for cosmetic reasons, as imperfect jaw can spoil your appearance.