Orthognathic surgery is an extremely powerful surgical procedure that can move, enlarge, reduce, or reshape the jaws. Many people are frustrated or unhappy with the appearance of certain aspects of their face, such as a chin that is too long, not showing enough teeth, or being unable to bite or speak properly due to crooked teeth. These problems can be addressed with carefully planned orthognathic surgery. Balanced facial proportions provide for good aesthetics, good function, a good bite, and a good airway.
The treatment process
Orthognathic surgery is a team effort involving your specialist oral and maxillofacial surgeon, orthodontist, and yourself. The treatment time frame can range from 18 months to 3 years. The conventional sequence of treatment involves 3 stages:
1. Presurgical orthodontics to align and level the teeth
In this first stage of treatment, the orthodontist will correct any crookedness and growth mispositioning of the teeth, closing gaps and placing them into the ideal position in the jaw bone. You may notice your bite appears to become worse compared to your pre-treatment state. This is an essential preparation step for the surgical phase, and will last about 12 months.
2. Surgical phase
Surgery is performed in hospital and the procedure can take up to 4 hours. You will be in hospital for 1-2 nights typically. After surgery you need to be on a soft diet for 6 weeks to protect the bones as they heal.
3. Finishing orthodontics
This is the fine tuning of the bite and is designed to get you the best possible smile. This phase can take between 6-9 months.
You will have regular reviews with your surgeon, often for many years after surgery to evaluate the stability and progress of your results.