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Orthognathic surgery, or jaw surgery, is a procedure that can both enhance facial harmony and correct irregularities of the jawbone, improving how the jaw and teeth work. Jaw surgery is often referred to as a transformative procedure, which can alleviate chronic pain and improve speech. Let’s take a look at how orthognathic surgery can offer a spectrum of benefits that go beyond mere appearances.

What is Orthognathic Surgery?

 Jaw surgery is an intricate procedure, carried out in severe cases of dental misalignments to reposition the upper and lower jaw. In these cases, correction cannot be achieved by orthodontics alone, so surgery is suggested, alongside the wearing of braces before and after the operation, until healed and alignment is complete. Jaw surgery is usually only carried out after growth stops, at around the age of 14 to 16 for females and 17 to 21 for males.

The surgery is carried out under general anaesthesia, meaning that you will be in hospital for the procedure, which works to create balance and allow the teeth and jaws to meet properly. During surgery, jaw bones are moved to their desired positions and secured into place with tiny screws that stay in place underneath the gum. In some cases, extra bone may be added to the jaw, transferred from the hip, leg, or rib, and secured into place with plates and screws. Small elastic bands are used between the top and bottom brace, to help guide the teeth into their new bite position. In more severe cases, the jaw could be wired together, but this isn’t usual practice. 

What Can Orthognathic Surgery Help With?

There are a range of issues that orthognathic surgery can help, both dental and aesthetically, including:

  • Correcting problems with swallowing and speech.
  • Improve the ability of lips to close fully and comfortably.
  • Relieve symptoms of disruptive sleep apnea. 
  • Relieve TMJ disorder (temporomandibular joint pain) and other jaw problems.
  • Improve chewing action and make biting and chewing easier.
  • Correct facial asymmetries such as smaller chin, underbite, overbite, and crossbite.
  • Minimise excessive wear and breakdown of teeth.
  • Correct bite fit and jaw closure such as open bite, where the molars touch but the front teeth don’t.
  • Repair facial injury and birth defects.

How Can Orthognathic Surgery Impact the Jaw?

Orthognathic surgery can be carried out on the upper and lower jaw and chin and is usually performed inside the mouth. Only on very few occasions will small incisions be required outside the mouth, meaning that visible scarring is minimal to none. Surgery can be planned on a computer to determine if additional work is needed, such as orthodontics, to help correct any remaining fit issues, after the procedure. 

Upper Jaw Surgery – Maxillary Osteotomy.

Surgery carried out on the upper jaw (maxillary osteotomy) can correct crossbite and open bite, too much or too little of the teeth showing, a receding or protruding upper jaw and the reduced facial growth of the middle of the face (midfacial hypoplasia). During surgery, your surgeon will make an incision above your teeth, so that the entire upper jaw, including the roof of your mouth and upper teeth, is moved forward as one unit until they fit properly with the lower teeth. With an open bite, your surgeon will shave away or remove the excess that has grown above the molars, causing a normally flat surface to become angled. Once realigned, the jawbone is held in place with plates and screws.

Lower Jaw Surgery – Mandibular Osteotomy.

Surgery carried out on the lower jaw (mandibular osteotomy) is used to correct a receding lower jaw and a protruding lower jaw. Surgeons will cut behind the molars and lengthwise down the jawbone to enable the front of the jaw to be moved either forward or backward. It is then held together with plates and screws until it’s healed.

Chin Surgery – Genioplasty.

Chin surgery (genioplasty) can be used to correct a small chin, which often accompanies a severely receded lower jaw. Surgeons can restructure the chin and alter the jaw during the same surgery by cutting a piece of chin bone from the front of the jaw, moving it forward, and securing it into place with plates and screws. 

Benefits Beyond Aesthetics.

As well as the incredible skeletal improvements that orthognathic surgery can create, it is not uncommon for it to be used for aesthetic purposes and purposes beyond that of changing your appearance. Jaw surgery can: 

  • Enhance facial harmony and self-esteem – the cosmetic benefits of orthognathic surgery can, in turn, boost self-esteem and confidence, by enhancing facial features and correcting asymmetry. 
  • Improve speech – surgery can correct jaw misalignments, enabling individuals to articulate words more clearly, enhancing verbal communication, and contributing to increased confidence and better social interactions.
  • Alleviate chronic pain – conditions such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder can cause persistent discomfort and headaches but by realigning the jaws with surgery, symptoms can be improved alongside overall quality of life.
  • Improve chewing and digestion – chewing difficulties due to jaw misalignment can affect nutrition and digestion, however, these issues can be corrected through surgery, allowing individuals to chew their food properly, ensuring better nutrient absorption, and reducing the risk of digestive problems.
  • Prevent dental issues – excessive wear, fractures, and uneven tooth stress can be addressed with surgery, leading to overall improved dental health and a reduced need for dental interventions in the future.
  • Enhance breathing and sleep quality – breathing difficulties and sleep apnea can be corrected through surgery by repositioning the jaws and improving airway function, resulting in better breathing and enhanced sleep quality, addressing not only oral health but also overall well-being.
  • Correct birth defects and trauma-related issues – restoring the normal alignment of the jaws can correct congenital abnormalities or injuries resulting from trauma, leading to a significantly improved form and function, and allowing individuals to lead healthier and more fulfilling lives. 

Chorley Orthodontics: Seeking Jaw Surgery in Chorley?  

If you would like to speak to one of our specialists about obtaining orthognathic surgery in Chorley, then we would be only too happy to help. We procure optimal treatment using a combined treatment plan, created by the maxillofacial surgeon and orthodontist. We pride ourselves in the complex interdisciplinary care that we provide to all patients undergoing jaw surgery, ensuring close liaison between highly trained and experienced clinicians.

Chorley Orthodontics offers the specialist care that is needed to perform jaw surgery in Chorley, so contact us today to speak to our friendly and helpful team.


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