What is surgical orthodontic treatment?
The purpose of orthognathic jaw surgery is to correct functional and aesthetic problems that are due to improper growth of the jaw bones. Orthognathic surgery, also known as jaw surgery, is occasionally the treatment solution in patients where the bite problems are too severe for braces to completely correct the problem.
At Dr. Martin Braces, we understand that not all adult patients that require surgery will want to go ahead with orthodontic treatment combined with jaw surgery. In most cases, we can still offer orthodontic treatment without surgery while giving you a great smile. However, the bite will not be addressed, and this can potentially lead to jaw discomfort, tooth wear, receding gums and other complications.
What can I expect from surgical orthodontic treatment?
- Before initiating orthodontic treatment in conjunction with jaw surgery, Dr. Martin will ask that you meet with the oral surgeon, who will explain in details the procedure.
- In order to prepare your teeth for your jaw surgery, we will place braces on your teeth to initiate their alignment within your jawbone. A series of impressions of your teeth will be needed during treatment in order to monitor the progress and to verify the match between your upper and lower jaws. Once we feel that your upper and lower teeth are a perfect match, we will send you to the oral surgeon for pre-surgical evaluation and a tentative surgical date will be provide to you. This initial part of the orthodontic treatment may take as few as six months or many as 24 months depending on the severity of your bite.
- On the day of your surgery, you will be admitted to the hospital. The length of your surgery depends if one or both jaws are involved, and the severity of the surgery. It usually varies from 45 minutes to four hours in the most severe cases. The surgical procedures are conducted while you are under general anaesthesia. In most instances, you will be discharged from the hospital the next day.
- Relax: in nearly every case, the oral surgeon will not wire your jaws shut. You will simply be asked to wear guiding elastics from the upper teeth to the lower teeth. These elastics will not prevent you from opening and closing your mouth.
- Many of our patients are worried about facial scars, but because all of the surgery is done within your mouth, there will be no facial scarring.
- After surgery, between six and 12 months of orthodontic treatment is required in order to allow the healing of the jaws to mature and provide you with the best possible bite and smile.
Most of our patients will return to school or work one week after their surgery. Depending on the physical stress involved with your job and the extent of your surgery, you may require more time to recuperate. Your oral surgeon will assist you in making that decision.
We strongly suggest avoiding moderate to severe physical activities until your oral surgeon permits it. However, walking and other light activities are beneficial for faster healing.
Oral hygiene is of critical importance after jaw surgery. Not maintaining appropriate dental hygiene can drastically increase your chance of infection and cavities. A small soft toothbrush should be use to access all areas of your mouth, making sure that your gums are healthy.
A soft diet will be suggested for the first week after surgery, returning slowly to a regular diet a month after surgery. Supplement drinks such as Boost or Ensure are sometimes needed to ensure appropriate energy intake.
One week after jaw surgery, your oral surgeon will provide you with jaw exercise to regain your initial jaw mobility.
The amount of swelling that occurs varies from patient to patient. The swelling is usually worse on the second day of surgery and will decrease after. Most of the swelling is usually not noticeable within 4-5 weeks after surgery.
Dr. Martin will want to see you one week after your surgery to check your bite and monitor the healing. Very rarely are we going to do a wire adjustment at that time. However, elastic wear will be re-enforced to guide your jaws and teeth in place.