Corrective Jaw Surgery

(Orthognathic Surgery)

Unequal growth of the jaws commonly leads to bite problems that cannot be corrected by braces alone. In these situations, orthognathic (jaw straightening) surgery is needed.

Orthognathic Surgery is used to correct conditions of the jaw and face related to structure, growth, sleep apnea, TMJ disorders, malocclusion problems owing to skeletal disharmonies, or other orthodontic problems that cannot be easily treated with braces. It is also used in treatment of congenital conditions like cleft palate. [1] Bones can be cut and re-aligned, then held in place with either screws or plates. Orthognathic is also referred to as corrective jaw surgery. [2]

Florida Craniofacial Institute provides input from a multidisciplinary team. Radiographs and photographs are taken to help in the treatment planning, and specialized software helps predict the shape of the patient’s face after surgery. [3,4] This is especially helpful for the patient, the patient’s family and the referring oral practitioner to insure the structural and cosmetic goals are achieved.
The surgery might involve one jaw or both jaws during the same procedure. The modification is done by making cuts in the bones of the mandible and/or maxilla and repositioning the cut pieces in the desired alignment. Usually surgery is performed under general anesthetic and using nasal tube for intubation rather than the more commonly used oral tube; this is to allow wiring the teeth together during surgery. The surgery often does not involve cutting the skin, and instead, a surgeon may be able to go through the inside of mouth.

The main goals of orthognathic surgery are to achieve a correct bite, an aesthetic face, and an enlarged airway. While correcting the bite is important, if the face is not considered the resulting bone changes might lead to an unaesthetic result. [6] Orthognathic surgery is also available as a very successful treatment (90-100%) for obstructive sleep apnea. [7] Great care needs to be taken during the planning phase to maximize airway patency, which Florida Craniofacial Institute provides.

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