Corrective Jaw Surgery
One or both jaws may grow too much or too little. The resulting abnormality may interfere with proper teeth alignment, speaking and chewing. The tongue and lips may be forced to move awkwardly during speech and swallowing in an attempt to compensate for the jaw mal relationship. There may be a speech defect or excessive mouth breathing. An improper bite may threaten the long-term health of the gums and teeth. The jaw joint (TMJ) can also be adversely affected by a jaw mal relationship. In addition, jaws of different sizes—that don’t match—can affect appearance.
When an individual’s jaw fails to grow properly, both functional and psychological difficulties may be experienced. Functionally, this abnormality may interfere with proper chewing, create difficulties swallowing, cause a speech defect, result in chronic mouth breathing and lead to jaw pain. Psychological difficulties that can accompany this kind of problem are also important considerations. Some abnormalities may involve only misaligned teeth and can be corrected orthodontically with braces or other appliances. More serious problems may require surgery to move all or part of the upper jaw, lower jaw or both into a more normal position. Surgical correction of jaw irregularities (orthognathic surgery) is undertaken after thorough study and consultation with an orthodontist and restorative dentist. Once the precise nature of the abnormality is determined, the surgical strategy is planned and the outcome may be reasonably predicted. Surgery can be performed in a hospital or ambulatory surgical center under general anesthesia. Corrective jaw surgery moves teeth and jaws into a new position that is more balanced, functional and healthy.
When unequal jaw growth is the source of the problem, corrective jaw surgery may be necessary. Orthodontic treatment (braces or other appliances) may also be needed to allow the teeth to align properly.
Corrective jaw surgery involves moving all or part of the upper and/or lower jaw into a more favorable position. For example, the entire jaw can be moved backward if it’s too large. The goal of treatment is to improve function and restore facial balance. Some people have facial abnormalities involving just the upper face, cheek bones and nose. These can also be surgically corrected. The bones are repositioned so the facial features are more symmetrical. This is usually accompanied by the return of normal breathing, speaking and eating patterns. After the jaws are moved into their new position, rubber bands or wires attached to the teeth may be used to fasten the jaws together during healing. Alternatively, rigid internal fixation with miniature screws and plates may be used to allow you to open and close your jaws sooner after corrective surgery.
The following are some of the conditions that may indicate the need for corrective jaw surgery:
Difficulty chewing or biting food
Chronic jaw or jaw joint (TMJ) pain and headaches
Excessive wear of the teeth
Open bite (space between the upper and lower teeth when the mouth is closed)
Unbalanced facial appearance from the front or side
Receding lower jaw and chin
Inability to make the lips meet without straining
Chronic mouth breathing
Sleep apnea (breathing problems when sleeping, including snoring)
Enjoy the Benefits
Corrective jaw surgery moves your teeth and jaws into positions that are more balanced, functional and healthy. Although the goal of this surgery is to improve your bite and function, some patients also experience enhancements to their appearance and speech. The results of corrective jaw surgery can have a dramatic and positive effect on many aspects of your life. So make the most of the new you!
can have a
on many aspects
Take a closer look at your bite and appearance. Does your chin stick out? Does it recede? Do your teeth fit together properly? Do you have “buck” teeth? Are your teeth straight? If you suspect there’s cause for concern, ask Dr. Skigen to examine your face and bite!
Contact our office today to schedule an appointment!
Lessing the Trauma of Facial Injury
Because of his dental background, Dr. Skigen is uniquely qualified to deal with any injury to the face, jaws, mouth or teeth. Cuts and lacerations anywhere on the face require meticulous attention. If stitches are needed, placement must be precise to ensure a proper cosmetic result. When facial bones are broken, the experience and training of Dr. Skigen is invaluable. For a fractured jaw, metal braces may be attached to the teeth and wires or strong rubber bands used to hold the jaws in place and allow the bones to heal. Patients with few or no teeth may need dentures or special dental splints to align and fix the fracture. Severe fractures can require surgery to wire together broken bones or secure them with metal plates.
SEEK HELP AT THE FIRST SIGN OF TROUBLE
Any suspicious lesion or growth on the face, neck or in or around the mouth, should be checked out by Dr. Skigen without delay. Lumps and sores or reddish or whitish patches can be signs of cancer. Dark, slowly healing or crusty lesions on the skin may also be signs of cancer. Upon examination, Dr. Skigen can diagnose potential problems. If needed, a biopsy is done; lab tests then determine if there is a malignancy. Remember, early detection and treatment of head and neck cancer greatly increases the chance of complete recovery. Don’t ignore suspicious lumps or sores. If you discover something, make an appointment for a prompt examination.
ALL YOU WILL FEEL IS RELIEF
Pain is a sure sign something is wrong. Unfortunately, fear of pain often prevents people from seeking needed oral care. Dr. Skigen is trained in the most advanced anesthetic and pain control procedures. During surgery, one or more of the following can be used in controlling pain and anxiety: local anesthesia, nitrous oxide, intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Prior to any surgery Dr. Skigen can review the type of anesthetic to be used, as well as the way you’re likely to feel during the operation. The main goal is to ensure maximum patient comfort and safety.
Frequently asked questions
Is jaw surgery a major surgery?
Orthognathic surgery can improve breathing, chewing and speaking issues. Corrective jaw surgery — also called orthognathic surgery — is performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS) to correct a wide range of minor and major skeletal and dental irregularities, including the misalignment of jaws and teeth
How do I prepare for jaw surgery?
Buy several pairs of pajamas and clothes that do not have to be put on over your head.
Test out different types of protein powder before surgery so you can find the type you like.
Get your prescriptions filled before surgery.
Plan and prepare non-chew meals in advance.
Purchase a food processor or blender.
Shop for food and plenty of liquids so you have these items on hand when you return from the hospital. Nutrition/sports drinks are good options.
Have ice packs available for use at home or stock up on frozen peas, corn, or other vegetables for moldable ice packs.
Purchase a gel cold/hot pack.
Purchase a back wedge pillow to put in your bed to make sleeping and resting easier.
Purchase a pillow to support your neck or roll up and tape a towel.
Buy a child-sized toothbrush for when you cannot open your mouth very wide. Don’t forget the mouthwash.
If your mouth is wired shut, consider buying a Zip’N Squeeze® which makes eating much easier.
Purchase ChapStick® to help soothe your lips.
Purchase Toothettes™ (oral swabs) to keep your mouth clean if wired shut.
Wear a tank top or tops with a large head opening or blouse after surgery.
Have straws available for drinking.
How long does it take to recover from a jaw surgery?
Initial jaw healing typically takes about six weeks after surgery, but complete healing can take up to 12 weeks.
Why does my ear hurt after jaw surgery?
It is not uncommon to experience some pain or pressure in or around your jaw joint areas after jaw surgery. This may feel somewhat like an earache. It is due to pressure in the jaw joint area due to the new position of your jaw. This will usually disappear within 2 to 3 weeks.
Does jaw surgery leave scars?
Corrective jaw surgery is generally performed entirely inside the mouth; therefore, no external scars are produced.
How many hours does jaw surgery take?
Routine surgery on one jaw typically takes one to two hours. Surgery that involves multiple procedures may take as long as three to five hours.