Corrective jaw surgery is also known as orthognathic surgery. It’s performed by oral and facial surgeons to realign jaws and teeth and to improve basic functions like chewing, speaking, and breathing.
An orthodontist can correct a patient’s bite if only the teeth are misaligned. However, corrective jaw surgery performed by an oral and facial surgeon may be necessary to correct the misalignment of the jaws. This can be caused by birth defects, injuries to the face and jaw, or because the upper and lower jaw grew at different rates.
One type of orthognathic surgery, called maxillomandibular advancement or MMA, is used to treat obstructive sleep apnea. The oral and facial surgeon. surgically repositions the patient’s upper and lower jaws to prevent the tongue and other soft tissues from blocking the airway during sleep. The success rate for MMA is close to 90%.
All types of corrective jaw surgery are performed under a general anesthetic in a hospital, an ambulatory surgical center, or in the oral and facial surgeon’s office operating suite. The procedure may take up to several hours to complete. Depending on your condition. you may be able to go home the same day or be required to stay in the hospital for one or two days. Patients are generally able to return to work or school. one to three weeks after surgery, depending on how they feel. Complete healing of the jaws takes between nine and 12 months, with additional time required for your orthodontist to fine tune your bite.
Corrective jaw surgery requires a long-term commitment from you and your family. The surgery is only part of a process that usually includes orthodontics before and after surgery. Your oral and facial surgeon, orthodontist, and family dentist will work as a team to estimate how long the entire process will take. After the process is completed your jaws and teeth will be in positions that are more balanced, functional, and healthy. The goal is to improve your bite and function, yet some patients also experience positive changes in their appearance and speech.
Corrective jaw surgery can have a dramatic and positive effect on many aspects of your life. Talk to an oral and facial surgeon and find out if it’s right for you.
The following patients received corrective jaw surgery from an oral surgeon:
Tatiana: When I was a child a had a fairly sizable overbite. – I guess it was age 13, around 13 that I noticed that something was wrong. As I began to grow, I had an overbite. that just kept getting bigger and bigger.
Suzette:It was definitely noticeable visibly. I could fit like a couple fingers in between my front teeth.
Raphael: Definitely looking in the mirror I noticed physically. that I had an overbite, everyone did as I grew up. The grammar school kids, you know, we kind of make fun of each other. with anything that we can physically. The joke for me was always something. that had to do with my teeth or my mouth. It got worse and it made me more self-conscious.
Suzette: It affected the way I chewed and my bite. and I started getting a little bit of TMJ.
Tatiana: I didn’t know there was something medically wrong with me. in the beginning. It was mostly these things where I noticed, oh eating is a little bit harder. Speaking is a little bit harder. I look kind of different.
Raphael: I found myself waking up a lot in the middle of the night. and I really didn’t know why. and my mom said, “Boy, you know that’s a really bad snore. “you have goin’ on there. “I think we should go see someone.” I would’ve never imagined that an overbite could create a snoring problem.
Tatiana: My brother is an orthodontist. but he wasn’t an orthodontist when I was 13. He was in school. He knew I’d been complaining about it. for a very long time and ya know once he got out of school. and started practicing as an orthodontist. he said to me, “Ya know, if you really want to fix this. “I think you should do corrective jaw surgery.”
Raphael: So, after wearing my braces for a while. my orthodontist sat me and my parents down. and then we were referred to an oral surgeon for corrective jaw surgery.
Suzette: My orthodontist finally recommended oral surgery.
Tatiana: I met the surgeon, and I loved him. It was one of those moments where you meet somebody. and you just can feel that connection. I just felt like he understood me.
Suzette: I was relieved that he seemed to know exactly what to do. He was the first medical professional that I’d met with about this that had a very clear and definitive treatment for my problem.
Raphael: Well, when I met with my oral surgeon I was scared. You know, I didn’t know what to expect and he took a lot of my fears away by telling me how much my life could change and will change with the surgery.
Tatiana: It gave me so much confidence to walk into a room and feel like, you know, I’m, this is the best me. I’m normal. I’m like everybody else. I don’t care if you’re looking at my chin. I hope you are looking at my chin ’cause it looks great.
Raphael: Well physically it definitely helped me look better. I definitely looked in the mirror a lot. I think it was at a time in my life where it was important for me to look good and ya know it made me feel better.
Suzette: The results were noticeable right away. I didn’t realize how much I’d been suffering. I knew that I looked different and I really like the way I looked, but I didn’t realize how much it was affecting even the way I talked and the way I chewed my food.
Tatiana: Before I would be very self-conscious when I was eating. Afterwards, there was just such an ease to it. I could eat whatever I wanted, and I didn’t care, like I could take a big bite into a burger and just tear into it and not have to worry.
Raphael: I had more confidence. I feel better. I look better.
Suzette: I’ve had no pain, no, the TMJ, the clicking in my jaw went away completely. I couldn’t be happier with the results.
Tatiana: If someone said to me, “I think I need corrective jaw surgery, what should I do?” I would say, “Make an appointment with your oral surgeon, “go, see if it’s the right path for you, “and do it, absolutely do it”.
Raphael: I would definitely tell anyone who’s thinking of corrective jaw surgery to at least go speak to an oral surgeon. I’m sure that like mine they’ll treat ’em very nicely and they’ll make ’em feel comfortable, at ease, which is kind of the first big step.
Suzette: Just don’t wait, just don’t put it off, ’cause it’s changed my life. It was really worth it.
Tatiana: You know you’ll be happier. I promise you’ll be happier in the end.
Raphael: Corrective jaw surgery absolutely changed my life. Looking good, feeling good, ya know, I credit all that to my oral surgeon.
Suzette: I couldn’t be happier that I had the procedure done. I was very fortunate to have been recommended to a wonderful oral surgeon.