Orthognathic surgery is a specialist branch of oral and maxillofacial surgery and is usually planned as part of the orthodontic treatment process. Patients who require orthognathic surgery typically begin with conventional orthodontic braces which will start to reposition the teeth, and around two-thirds of the way through this treatment will be referred for the surgery. Following this, a further period of time with an orthodontic brace will be needed to complete the treatment. Many patients are also given a retainer to wear after finishing their orthodontic treatment which helps the teeth and jaw to stay in the new and improved position.
We are delighted to be able to offer orthognathic surgery here at our Missoula and Hamilton oral surgery offices.
The surgery itself involves the modification of the jaws in order to change their alignment and position, thus improving both the function and appearance of the mouth and potentially the airway. You may have surgery to the upper jaw (the maxilla), the lower jaw (the mandible), or a combination of both depending on your concerns and the assessment made by our oral surgery team. Once the new position of your jaws has been achieved, plates and screws will be placed beneath the gum to hold them in place. These are usually left in place indefinitely but should have no impact on the way that you use your mouth and you won’t be able to feel them.
Most patients will stay overnight following their surgery but will be able to go home the next day provided that they commit to the rest and recovery needed. You’ll have to schedule at least 2-4 weeks off of work while the swelling dissipates, and your jaw heals. A significant amount of swelling and discomfort is to be expected in the first few days following your surgery, and our surgical team will give you explicit instructions on how best to care for yourself while you recover from your surgery. This will include taking pain medications exactly as directed. It can take up to 3 months for the jaws to completely heal following surgery.
Many patients are understandably concerned about the prospect of scarring but rest assured that all surgery is carried out from the inside of your mouth so that there will be no visible scars on your face. In rare circumstances, it may be necessary for a very small cut to be made at the angle of the jaw. This is tiny and the incision becomes virtually invisible within a month or so of your surgery.
Every patient is unique, and this means that every orthognathic surgery is different, planned to the requirements of each individual. The precise amount of change you can expect to see in the appearance of your face will depend on how much the position of your jaw has been adjusted.
For more information about orthognathic surgery, or to schedule an appointment to talk to us about your orthodontic concerns, contact us today at our Missoula, MT, or Hamilton, MT dental offices.