Do you have an over bite or under bite? If so, you may have been told you need corrective jaw surgery, more often known as orthognatic surgery.
For people with jaw abnormalities, every day tasks like eating and even sleeping can be affected as the jaws do not align with each other. They can also cause pain and affect your affect facial appearance.
In some cases orthodontic elastics can be used to realign the jaw during your regular orthodontic treatment. But this really depends on the severity of your overbite or underbite. While elastics can work quite well in some cases, it is usually advised that patients with severe over or underbites get corrective jaw surgery to permanently resolve any jaw issues.
During this procedure your jaw is disconnected and re-aligned to the ideal position. Sounds painful right? Do not worrry, you're asleep for the actual procedure. However when you wake up you will not be able to talk as easily and you will be in some pain for the first couple of days as you heal.
However, it's worth it for those who suffer from severe overbites or underbites. Along with orthodontic treatment, this procedure resolves jaw pain and improves the overall appearance of the face.
Depending on the type jaw spacing issue you have, your jaw surgery may include moving your upper jaw, lower jaw or both. This surgery is only done on skeletally mature non-growing individuals, and patients can usually return to their normal routines soon after the surgery.
Healing time can vary depending on your age and how much adjustment needs to be made, but it can be anywhere from two weeks to more than a month.
Will you need this surgery as part of your orthodontics plan? Well, it may be unnecessary if orthodontic treatment can correct the problem. However with any orthodontic treatment orthodontists face biologic limitations as to what can realistically be achieved with braces alone. During your first visit your orthodontist will be able to tell you if corrective jaw surgery is the correct treatment option for you.
The usual sequence of events in such a surgery / orthodontic treatment plan is as follows:
1. Diagnostic records are taken and a comprehensive treatment plan is developed in conjuction with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
2. Braces are placed on the teeth and over time the teeth are placed ideally on each dental arch. The bite may get worse as this step progresses.
3. Jaw surgery is performed to address the skeletal concerns.
4. After an appropriate healing time your case is finished and the braces are removed.