When the upper and lower jaws develop at different rates, bite alignment problems can occur. In other cases, facial injuries and other conditions can cause issues with your bite. When nonsurgical treatments cannot correct jaw alignment problems, Dr. Kovach at Trinity River Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center offers corrective jaw surgery at our office in Willow Park, TX.
Bite problems can lead to sleep apnea, TMJ disorders, jaw pain, and other problems. Sometimes orthodontic treatments, lifestyle changes, and other treatments can help control these problems, but when nonsurgical options fail to help with bite problems, corrective jaw surgery, also known as orthognathic surgery, may be the best treatment option.
What are the signs of jaw alignment problems?
A variety of symptoms can be signs of jaw alignment issues. Corrective jaw surgery may be necessary for patients experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:
- Chronic jaw pain
- Tightness or sore jaw
- Problems closing your mouth or teeth fully
- A receding or protruding jaw line
- Difficulty opening your mouth wide
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing food
- Breathing problems
- Sleep apnea
- Tooth sensitivity or worn down teeth
If you are experiencing any of the problems mentioned above, you may be referred to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for a consultation. Most oral surgeons will make sure that all nonsurgical treatment methods have been considered before recommending orthognathic surgery. If you are considering surgery to treat your sleep apnea, you may be considered for either soft tissue alterations or full jaw surgery, depending on the cause and severity of your condition. Contact our office in Willow Park, TX, to learn more about these treatment options.
Orthognathic/Corrective Jaw Surgery Procedure
Orthognathic surgery procedures are usually a joint effort between your orthodontist, your oral surgeon, and you. The entire process — including preparation with braces, surgical treatment, and recovery — usually takes 18–24 months to complete. This may seem like a long time, but much of the treatment time involves wearing braces to prepare the teeth for their new alignment. Patients who have not found jaw relief through other treatments usually find that the benefits of orthognathic surgery are well worth the wait.
Treatment is different for each case, but we’ve created a general outline below for the process of undergoing corrective jaw surgery:
- Preparation and pre-surgery orthodontics. First, your orthodontist will prepare your teeth for their new alignment. Braces are usually necessary before the procedure, and they will also be worn during the surgery and for a short period after the procedure. Before your procedure, you will also undergo a full oral examination and consultation with your oral surgeon. Your surgeon will evaluate your condition and discuss your procedure with you to determine the best course of action. At Trinity River Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center, our surgeons use 3D imaging techniques to plan your treatment using the most advanced and reliable methods possible.
- The surgical procedure. Once your teeth are prepared for their new alignment, you will be scheduled for your surgery. Orthognathic procedures are performed using general anesthesia, so the patient will remain completely unconscious and feel no pain throughout. Once anesthesia is administered, your surgeon will separate the portion of the jaw that requires repositioning, then secure it in place using tiny biocompatible screws and plates. Depending on the extent of your procedure, you may be able to return home the same day, but sometimes an overnight stay in a hospital will be necessary. All of this will have been determined in the treatment planning stages well before your procedure day.
- Recovery. Recovery can differ substantially from patient to patient, depending on their condition and the extent of the procedure. In general, the first week or two will be the most difficult, but things get easier after that. The bone will require several weeks to heal fully, and a soft foods diet may be necessary for some of this period. Your surgeon will provide you with a prescription for medication to control any pain and a full explanation of your pre- and post-operative instructions so that you can be as comfortable and prepared for recovery as possible.
Corrective Jaw Surgery at Trinity River Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center
If you are in need of orthognathic surgery or sleep apnea surgery, contact our office in Willow Park, TX. Our oral surgeon has years of training and experience correcting facial disharmonies and repairing jaw issues. To learn more or schedule a consultation, give us a call at (817) 441-5000.