Jaw misalignment can be traumatic both physically and psychologically for children and adults alike. In most cases of under bites, over bites and other misalignment, children are born with these conditions and have to suffer being bullied and having improper jaw function for years. Corrective jaw surgery (Orthognathic surgery) is designed to restructure the shape of the jaw and bring it back into alignment, allowing for not only an aesthetic improvement, but also functional.
The Pain is Real!
Patients with jaw misalignment experience side affects that can be very painful and harmful for their oral health. Jaw bones may be rubbing against each other, clenching and grinding during sleep is very common, speech is often compromised and bullying for looking different than others is rampant. By choosing corrective jaw surgery, you not only set yourself up for success with correct jaw function and pain relief, most patients leave with a newfound confidence in the way they look and feel.
Am I a Candidate?
The following symptoms may make you a good candidate for corrective jaw surgery:
- Difficulty breathing through the mouth
- Shifted jaw to the left or right
- Cleft palate
- Difficulty chewing, biting or swallowing
- Strained speech
- Protruding jaw
- Chronic jaw pain or locking (TMJ)
- Open bite, overbite or under bite
- Facial or jaw asymmetry
While many patients experience jaw misalignment as a result of a birth defect, trauma may also cause the above symptoms and require surgery. Physical violence, athletic injuries to the face and, often, accidental falls may cause the jaw to break or fall out of its proper alignment. It is important, especially in these cases, to seek treatment immediately, before your oral health is seriously compromised.
What happens before the surgery?
Orthodontic treatment will be initiated by your orthodontist to align your teeth within your upper and lower jaw, your bite will looks slightly worse initially in anticipation of the final correction with jaw surgery, orthodontic treatment will continue after the jaw surgery to perfect the alignment of the teeth with the new jaws position, in some instances orthodontic treatment can be done after jaw surgery. Orthodontic treatment can be done with either braces or clear aligners such as Invisalign.
Dr. Elias will plan your surgery in collaboration with your orthodontist, Dr. Elias uses virtual surgical planning and 3D printed models of your jaws and facial skeleton to plan your surgery and design the movements to achieve the best aesthetic and functional outcome.
What Happens During Surgery?
Jaw surgery is really cool, because the entire procedure is done within the mouth. This means no scarring externally! No need to worry about bullying from jaw misalignment being transferred to a lifelong scar. Once recovery is over, patients finally experience normality when it comes to oral health, function and appearance.
Corrective jaw surgery typically requires a 1-2 day stay in the hospital and a strenuous recovery following, because eating will be a challenge for several weeks. During surgery, incisions are made in the actual jawbones to displace them from their current misalignment. They will be realigned and secured with screws for healing. Some patients require bone grafting to fill in gaps in the new alignment.
Recovery: Your Final Push
Following your surgery, you will be unable to chew solid food and speech will be very strained and minimal. Swelling will inhibit much of your mouth’s function, but it is important to continue to nourish your body with either broth-based soups or smoothies containing protein and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
The healing process typically takes 3-6 weeks at home, depending on your overall health, the care you take of yourself and your body’s reaction to surgery. It is important to follow all of the after-care instructions given by your surgeon to ensure a quick and easy recovery.
Dr. Elias of the Southern California Center for Surgical Arts has successfully treated many happy patients for jaw misalignment. If you are suffering jaw misalignment and are interested in learning about what corrective jaw surgery can do for you, call us at (818) 696-4425. You will be able to schedule a diagnostic consultation with a full evaluation by Dr. Elias, who will determine the best course of action for your surgery.