Corrective jaw surgery may be performed to help correct a severely misaligned bite
Corrective jaw surgery, commonly known, as orthognathic surgery is a common procedure performed to improve a person’s ability to chew and speak. In turn, corrective jaw surgery can have a number of aesthetic benefits and other functional improvements too. Some of the concerns that may be fixed with corrective jaw surgery include jaws that are too large, too small, too far forward, too far back or crooked. This may cause a significant gap between the upper and lower front teeth.
The corrective jaw surgery procedure
Your surgeon will carefully cut the bone and move the jaw or jaws as required. Where a small jaw may be lengthened, a large jaw may be shortened. Fortunately, your surgeon will place the incisions inside your mouth, so there will be no visible scars. In the case where your surgeon needs to make an incision on the face, they will be careful to hide it in the natural skin creases so that it will be minimally visible.
Once the jaws have been positioned appropriately, they will be fixed permanently with small bone plates and screws made of titanium. The duration of corrective jaw surgery can differ depending on the complexity of the case. Surgery can range from 1-4 hours.
Corrective jaw surgery recovery
You will stay in hospital for a period of time, between one and three days after your surgery. During this time you will remain on IV fluids to prevent dehydration and infection. Once you can eat and drink on your own, you will be discharged from hospital.
Dissolvable stitches will be used on the incision, which will gradually dissolve over two to three weeks. Sometimes they might fall out earlier than this, which is fine, as long as there is no persistent bleeding. Although brushing may be difficult during the first week of recovery, it is very important to keep the mouth clean and healthy top prevent infection. You should rinse your mouth with warm salt water and chlorhexidine mouthwash, as prescribed by your surgeon. Soft foods should be eaten for four to six weeks after surgery until you feel comfortable to move on to a regular diet.
If you are to receive orthodontic treatment, you will most likely be able to visit your orthodontist around two to three weeks after corrective jaw surgery. Follow-up care is essential to ensure that your jaw is healing correctly and that they are staying properly aligned.
Corrective jaw surgery at OMFS in Melbourne
If you have been referred for corrective jaw surgery, fill out our patient registration form here!
Corrective Jaw Surgery FAQs
The jaw of a patient who had oral and maxillofacial surgery takes up to 12 weeks to heal, but it can take longer depending on the exact procedure you had, and how your body is recovering after surgery.
After your initial recovery, patients are often required to wear braces to make sure the repair and correction set in. These braces might have to stay in for over a year, but your jaw would be in an advanced state of recovery. If you’re interested in getting jaw surgery, take a look at the face and jaw surgery procedures performed by our OMFS surgical team.
Smoothies, juices and soups. You cannot eat any solid food immediately after oral and maxillofacial surgery as your jaw has to heal in place so that the correction holds. Your jaw might be held in place by elastics which would make it impossible to open your mouth wide to eat harder foods.
Eating solids can also compromise the success of the procedure. Your surgeon will let you know when you can start eating solids according to how your jaw is recovering.
The surgery is done by making incisions inside the patient’s mouth in the jawbone. After the surgeon makes the incision, they can then move the jaw into the correct position, and then plates or screws are used to hold the bone in place.
Orthognathic or jaw surgery is performed to restore a patient’s facial structure and function. It can be used to correct the effects congenital deformities, asymmetry and aesthetic concerns, or trauma.
These procedures include cheek augmentation, corrective jaw surgery, genioplasty, and upper jaw expansion. Be sure to consult with an oral and maxillofacial specialist to determine if this is the right procedure for you.