What to Expect During the Process of Corrective Jaw Surgery

Jaw Surgery

Corrective jaw surgery, also known as orthognathic surgery, is an advanced surgical procedure that addresses various irregularities and misalignment issues in the jaw and face. With a focus on both functionality and aesthetics, this surgery aims to improve bite position, facial balance, and overall oral health.

Corrective jaw surgery might be the ideal solution for individuals experiencing a variety of jaw and facial irregularities, such as underbites, overbites, open bites, and other misalignment issues that cannot be sufficiently corrected with orthodontic treatment alone. Candidates for corrective jaw surgery may experience difficulties in biting, chewing, and speaking, or have sleep apnea, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, or an imbalance in facial proportions due to jaw discrepancies.

By undergoing corrective jaw surgery, patients can experience significant improvements in their overall quality of life. Aside from enhanced facial harmony and aesthetics, the surgery can also lead to better bite alignment, improved speech and chewing capabilities, relief from sleep apnea, and resolution of TMJ pain and discomfort.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down the journey to corrective jaw surgery, starting with the initial consultation and diagnosis, followed by pre-surgical orthodontic treatment, and then finally, the surgical procedure itself. we’ll also discuss what to expect during the recovery period and provide valuable tips to ensure the best possible outcome for your surgery.

Whether you’re currently considering corrective jaw surgery or are simply looking to expand your knowledge on this transformative procedure, our aim is to equip you with the information you need to make an informed decision about your oral health and well-being.

The Path to Corrective Jaw Surgery: Consultation, Diagnosis, and Pre-Surgical Orthodontics

Embarking on the journey towards corrective jaw surgery involves several crucial steps:

Step 1: Initial Consultation and Diagnosis

During your initial consultation, Dr. Maurer will conduct a thorough examination, evaluating your dental and facial structure using X-rays, photographs, and detailed measurements. This comprehensive assessment will allow him to determine if you’re a suitable candidate for corrective jaw surgery and develop a customized treatment plan tailored to your unique needs.

Step 2: Collaborating with Your Orthodontist

Dr. Maurer will collaborate closely with your orthodontist to coordinate your treatment plan. This teamwork ensures that your jaw surgery will be most effective, providing both functional and aesthetic benefits.

Step 3: Pre-Surgical Orthodontic Treatment

Before the jaw surgery can take place, pre-surgical orthodontic treatment is usually necessary to align your teeth and create an ideal bite. This process typically takes several months to a couple of years.

The Corrective Jaw Surgery Procedure

The specifics of your corrective jaw surgery will depend on the type and severity of your jaw irregularities. However, the general procedure generally follows these steps:

  1. Anesthesia: To ensure your comfort during surgery, you will be administered either general anesthesia or intravenous sedation by our expert anesthesia team.
  2. Incisions and Bone Manipulation: Dr. Maurer will make careful incisions inside your mouth, minimizing visible scarring. Through these incisions, he will access and reposition your jawbones to achieve the desired alignment, either by moving them forward, backward, or in some cases, both.
  3. Securing the Jaw: Once the jaws have been repositioned, they will be secured in place using tiny plates, screws, or wires, allowing the bones to heal and knit together in their new position.
  4. Closing the Incisions: The surgical sites will be closed using sutures that dissolve over time, eliminating the need for removal.

The duration of the surgery can vary depending on the complexity of the case but usually ranges from two to five hours.

Post-Surgical Care and Recovery

Proper post-surgical care is vital to ensuring a smooth recovery and optimal healing from your corrective jaw surgery. Dr. Maurer will provide you with detailed instructions for care, which may include the following:

  1. Managing Pain and Swelling: Over-the-counter pain relievers and prescription medications will be provided to manage any discomfort or pain. Apply ice packs to your face to help reduce swelling during the first few days, then switch to using warm compresses.
  2. Rest and Activity Limitations: Get plenty of rest and avoid strenuous activities for at least the first two weeks post-surgery. Gently exercise your jaw by opening and closing it to stretch the muscles and reduce stiffness.
  3. Temporary Diet Alterations: Stick to a liquid or soft food diet for the first few weeks, gradually transitioning to solid foods as directed by Dr. Maurer. Avoid chewy or hard foods that could strain your jaw or cause discomfort.
  4. Oral Hygiene Practices: Keep your mouth clean by gently using a soft-bristle toothbrush, being cautious not to disturb the surgical sites. Avoid using mouthwash if it contains alcohol, as it may irritate the tissue. Dr. Maurer may recommend saline rinses to promote healing.
  5. Follow-Up Appointments: Attend all scheduled follow-up appointments so Dr. Maurer can assess your progress, monitor your healing, and remove any appliances if necessary.

Long-Term Results and Benefits

Though the recovery period for corrective jaw surgery may be extensive, the long-term results are well worth the investment. Among the lasting benefits of this transformative procedure are:

  1. Improved Bite and Jaw Function: Corrective jaw surgery can alleviate difficulties in biting, chewing, and speaking, significantly improving quality of life.
  2. Enhanced Facial Balance and Aesthetics: By correcting jaw irregularities and misalignment, the surgery leads to noticeable improvements in facial proportions and symmetry.
  3. Prevention of Dental and Health Issues: Addressing jaw misalignment issues can prevent future dental complications, such as tooth wear, gum disease, and TMJ disorders.
  4. Boosted Self-Esteem: The combination of improved aesthetics, increased comfort, and enhanced oral function can lead to a boost in self-confidence and overall well-being.

How Corrective Jaw Surgery Can Improve Your Life

Corrective jaw surgery is a life-changing procedure capable of granting lasting functional and aesthetic benefits. By understanding the timeline, process, and recovery guidelines for jaw surgery, you can make an informed decision and take the first steps toward achieving a healthier, more balanced smile.

At Bozeman Oral Surgery and Implant Center, Dr. Jarom E. Maurer, DMD, is committed to providing personalized care and support throughout your journey. If you’re considering corrective jaw surgery or would like further information on the procedure, don’t hesitate to reach out and schedule a consultation with our team.