Understanding Orthognathic Treatment

Posted on: 24 February 2015

If you have a problem with biting, chewing or talking, then the issue could be with your jaws. Your family doctor might recommend you go through corrective surgery for your jaws. The following article takes you through the basics of orthognathic treatment.

What is Orthognathic Treatment?

Orthognathic is derived from two greek words " orthos" and "gnathic" which mean straighten and dealing with the jaw, respectively. Hence the word orthognathic refers to surgical treatment that straightens the jaws.

Conditions That Call For the Need of Orthognathic Treatment?

  • Facial Injury
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty biting or chewing food
  • Birth defects
  • Excess wear of your teeth
  • Pain on your jaws
  • Space between your lower and upper teeth when you close your mouth also known as an open bite
  • Protruding jaw
  • Sleep apnea- having breathing problems while asleep such as snoring
  • An unbalanced appearance on your face from the side or front

How is Orthognathic Surgery Done?

Preparation: Prior to surgery you might be required to wear braces for a period of nine to fourteen months.

Planning: Your family doctor uses sketches, skeletal analyses, computer imaging and trial surgeries of plaster models to plan for the surgery.

Surgery: Your dentist will use technical instruments and techniques to reposition your jaws with tiny screws and wires. These plates and screws are temporary and allow the jaw time to be able to mend itself to the right position. However, due to the biocompatibility of these plates and screws, it is rare to see them removed in the later stages of treatment.

How Some Conditions Are Corrected:

  • An open bite- removal of a bit of bone from the upper tooth portion of your jaw. Your upper jaw is secured in place with screws or plates
  • A lower jaw that protrudes: separation of the bone in the back of the jaw from that in the front portion. This allows the tooth bearing section of the lower jaw to be repositioned correctly.

What to Expect During Treatment

  • Nasal congestion: You might undergo nasal congestion for about a week.
  • Swelling: You will experience facial swelling within the first couple of days. This swelling gradually decreases and completely gets resolved in a few months.
  • Difficulty when eating or chewing food- swelling and pain when moving the jaw will limit your diet to soft foods.

Orthognathic treatment has a very short duration for convalescence. Even patients with complex cases are fit to go back to work or school in ten days time. The only long  physical restriction is for patients who are active in sports. If you are active in sports, you may be required to refrain for up to three months. Have more questions? Contact a professional like David Semrau, DDS to learn more.