The alignment of your jaw plays a critical role in the way that you eat, speak, look, and even breathe. When the alignment of your jaw is off due to bone structure issues, TMJ disorders, orthodontic issues, sleep apnea, and other conditions, corrective jaw surgery (also called orthognathic surgery) may be offered when nonsurgical treatments fail to correct the problem and improve the function of the bite. At Fresno Oral Maxillofacial Surgery & Dental Implant Center, we offer orthognathic surgery at our offices in Fresno, Clovis, Reedley, and Madera.
Who needs orthognathic surgery?
The primary goal of orthognathic surgery is to correct or improve the function of the bite. It can be used to treat many different conditions. If you have one or more of the following symptoms or conditions, you may be a candidate for orthognathic surgery:
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing food
- Breathing problems or sleep apnea
- Excessive wear on the teeth
- A severe receding or protruding chin
- Difficulty closing your mouth or teeth fully
- Chronic jaw pain or TMJ (jaw joint) pain
- Difficulty opening your mouth all the way
If you experience any of the above symptoms or conditions, you should see a dental professional. They will be able to let you know if nonsurgical treatments, such as a night guard or braces, are an option for you or if surgery is the best solution to correct the problem.
Orthognathic Surgery Procedure
Correcting the function of the bite involves many steps that span over several months. The treatment process includes braces, surgery, and a recovery period.
Although your procedure will depend on your individual situation and needs, your oral surgeon will work closely with you and your orthodontist to ensure the right treatment plan and overall result.
The first step is often orthodontic treatment with braces, which realign your teeth and prepare them for your upcoming surgical procedure. This step, which is overseen by your orthodontist, can take several months to complete. Once your oral surgeon and orthodontist have determined that the alignment of your teeth are satisfactory, you will be ready for your jaw surgery.
Your treatment plan is determined and outlined at your consultation, which is well ahead of your surgery date. Your oral surgeon will evaluate your situation and inform you of the most appropriate course of treatment specific to your needs and goals. This is the chance to ask your surgeon about any questions you may have. You will also be given pre- and post-operative instructions during this time, which will help prepare you for your upcoming surgical procedure. Your surgery date may also be determined at this time.
Every detail of your surgery will be determined and communicated to you well in advance of your surgery date so you can feel informed and at ease about your procedure. To prepare you for surgery, your oral surgeon or anesthesiologist will administer anesthesia — general or IV anesthesia is common for most jaw surgeries. Once you are unconscious, you will not feel any pain or remember the surgery. Your surgeon will separate the portion of the jaw that needs to be re-aligned and set it in place using tiny screws, wires, or plates. Advances in orthognathic surgery have virtually eliminated the need for jaws to be wired shut. After your procedure has been completed, you will rest while your anesthesia wears off and recover until you are ready to be driven home by your designated driver.
It takes several weeks for bones to heal. Your recovery period is no exception. Most patients find the first week or so to be the most difficult, with increased improvement and comfort with each passing week. Taking care of your jaw also means resting it, which includes minimal chewing. Therefore, a soft food diet is necessary while you heal. You will be provided with post-operative instructions and a prescription for any medications you may need while you are in recovery.
Orthognathic Surgery in Fresno, Clovis, Reedley, and Madera
If you or a loved one is experiencing jaw pain and misalignment of the jaw and need orthognathic surgery, Fresno Oral Maxillofacial Surgery & Dental Implant Center can help. Our experienced oral surgeons will evaluate and treat you based on your specific condition. To learn more about jaw surgery, feel free to contact one of our offices, and one of our staff members will be happy to assist you.