Patient Education: Orthognathic Surgery

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Patient Education: Orthognathic Surgery

What is Orthognathic Surgery?Orthognathic surgery, also known as corrective jaw surgery, is a surgical procedure used to correct a wide range of skeletal and dental irregularities in the jaw and facial bones. It aims to improve facial harmony, correct bite alignment, and enhance both aesthetic appearance and oral function.

Purpose of Orthognathic Surgery:

  • Correcting jaw misalignment: Orthognathic surgery is commonly performed to treat conditions such as underbite, overbite, crossbite, open bite, and asymmetry of the jaws.
  • Improving facial aesthetics: By repositioning the jaws and facial bones, orthognathic surgery can enhance facial symmetry and balance, improving overall appearance.
  • Resolving functional issues: Orthognathic surgery can improve chewing, biting, breathing, speaking, and swallowing function affected by jaw misalignment.

Indications for Orthognathic Surgery:Orthognathic surgery may be recommended for individuals with:

  • Severe malocclusion (misalignment of teeth and jaws)
  • Skeletal discrepancies between the upper and lower jaws
  • Facial asymmetry
  • Difficulty chewing, biting, or speaking due to jaw misalignment
  • Obstructive sleep apnea or breathing difficulties related to jaw position

Procedure Overview:

  1. Evaluation and Treatment Planning: Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon will conduct a comprehensive evaluation, including dental and facial imaging (X-rays, CT scans, or MRI), dental impressions, and bite analysis. A treatment plan will be developed to address your specific concerns.
  2. Preparation: Before surgery, you may need to undergo orthodontic treatment to align your teeth properly. Your surgeon will provide instructions for preoperative preparation, including dietary restrictions and medication management.
  3. Surgery: Orthognathic surgery is performed under general anesthesia in a hospital setting. Your surgeon will make incisions inside the mouth to access the jawbones and may reposition, reshape, or realign them as needed. Bone grafts or surgical plates and screws may be used to stabilize the bones.
  4. Recovery: After surgery, you will spend a few days in the hospital for monitoring. Recovery time varies depending on the extent of the surgery but typically ranges from a few weeks to several months. You may experience swelling, bruising, pain, and temporary changes in facial sensation during the initial recovery period.
  5. Postoperative Care: Follow your surgeon's postoperative instructions carefully, including dietary guidelines, oral hygiene practices, and restrictions on physical activity. Attend follow-up appointments to monitor healing progress and adjust orthodontic treatment as needed.

Benefits of Orthognathic Surgery:

  • Improved facial aesthetics and symmetry
  • Correction of bite alignment and functional issues
  • Enhanced oral health and hygiene
  • Relief from pain and discomfort associated with jaw misalignment
  • Potential improvement in breathing and speech function

Risks and Considerations:Orthognathic surgery is a complex procedure that carries risks, including:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Nerve injury
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction
  • Changes in facial sensation or appearance
  • Relapse of jaw misalignment

Conclusion:Orthognathic surgery is a valuable treatment option for individuals with significant jaw misalignment and related functional and aesthetic concerns. By understanding the purpose, procedure, benefits, and risks of orthognathic surgery, you can make an informed decision in collaboration with your oral and maxillofacial surgeon to achieve optimal outcomes and improve your oral health and quality of life.