Orthognathic surgery, known more commonly as corrective jaw surgery, is necessary when dental malalignment or skeletal irregularities begin to impair the teeth and jaws. There are a variety of functional problems that can arise from dental malalignment, including trouble breathing, chewing, and speaking. Corrective jaw surgery is typically the best way to improve the quality of life for clients experiencing these issues, and at the Southern California Center for Surgical Arts, we help restore the skeletal structure to a healthy position. Dr. Husam Elias is a maxillofacial plastic surgeon who will create a treatment plan that results in a healthy alignment and a renewed appearance.

What is corrective jaw surgery?

Many individuals experience facial deformities that impact how they carry out daily tasks. Eating, drinking fluids, smiling, and breathing, all become more complicated when the facial skeletal structure is malaligned. In order to adjust these irregularities, corrective jaw surgery is performed with results that create a more aesthetically pleasing countenance and a healthier bite. It is also used when bite abnormalities can’t be adjusted with orthodontic treatment alone. Corrective jaw surgery refers to a number of surgical procedures used to correct the jaw, and these procedures are completed with the collaboration of an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

Corrective jaw surgery works to alleviate a variety of skeletal alignment issues such as an underbite, overbite, crossbite, open bite, sleep apnea and facial asymmetry. Cosmetic adjustments like facial contouring and facial feminization procedures are also possible with an orthognathic operation.

The Effects of Jaw Malalignment

A misaligned bite position can have short and long-term effects, some of which you may not attribute to your teeth or jaws at first. Along with the daily habits that are made difficult, physical symptoms can occur when the jaws are not properly positioned.

Some effects of jaw misalignment include:

  • Chronic pain in the teeth or jaw
  • Headaches and jaw soreness (commonly known as TMJ disorder)
  • Asymmetrical countenance
  • Protruding or receding chin
  • Mouth breathing
  • Sleep apnea
  • Excessive wear on certain teeth

Jaw malalignment occurs for many reasons, the most common being injury to the face, birth defects, and abnormal jaw growth. If you are experiencing any of the conditions associated with a misaligned bite, you may be a candidate for corrective jaw surgery. Dr. Elias can assess your bite position and determine whether surgery is right for you.

Corrective Jaw Surgery with Dr. Elias

Orthognathic surgery involves several steps before the actual procedure takes place. During your initial consultation, clinical measurements of the face are taken, and radiographs are used to gain a better understanding of the malalignment. Dental models are also created to provide an estimation of how your jaw will progress through surgery and other orthodontic measures. The goal is to devise a treatment plan based specifically on your needs that effectively repositions the jaw and alleviates pain associated with dental deformities.

Dr. Elias uses various techniques when planning corrective jaw surgery, including CT scans, facial photographs and virtual surgical software that simulates surgical movements. Other technology, like 3D printing software, is used to more accurately perform the surgery and lessen operating time.

What can I expect during treatment?

Depending on the severity of your case, you may have to undergo orthodontic treatment before surgery, which better ensures a successful surgery down the line. Orthodontics may also be required once the surgery is complete. The specifics of your operation will depend on your individual circumstances, but it is possible for the procedure to be completed as an inpatient or outpatient procedure. Once all pre-operation treatment is complete, Dr. Elias will schedule your surgery.

What happens once the surgery is complete?

It is important to keep in mind that corrective jaw surgery, as well as the treatments before and after surgery, can be a long process, with some treatment plans taking years to complete. Patience and realistic expectations will be necessary to ensure your peace of mind while you recover. Overall, recovery from corrective jaw surgery takes between nine and twelve months.

Dr. Elias will provide you with care instructions that will allow you to recover in the most comfortable way possible, along with medication that should relieve any pain. You can expect to be on a liquid diet for the first two weeks after surgery. After that, you can begin to incorporate more solid foods. During healing, you will also take part in follow-up appointments with Dr. Elias so that he can gauge the progress of your procedure. Although your appearance may improve after surgery, Dr. Elias will focus more on the functionality of your dentition.