Jaw SurgerySanta Maria, CA
Jaw surgery is a viable option to realign and correct any jaw irregularities. For some patients, braces alone are not enough to adequately improve a bad bite. Orthognathic jaw surgery realigns the bones of the upper jaw, lower jaw, or both to fix any malocclusion. In many cases, this procedure can also help enhance facial appearance.
Jaw surgery is available at Wilson Oral Surgery in Santa Maria and the surrounding area. Jaw problems can seriously wear down your teeth. For many patients, correcting malocclusion with jaw surgery may positively impact both self-esteem and overall oral health. Call us today at 805-910-1213 to schedule an appointment.
Understanding Jaw Surgery
For most patients, braces are the first line of action when it comes to correcting any bite issues. However, some jaw irregularities are too severe to be corrected by orthodontics alone. In such cases, jaw surgery (also known as orthognathic surgery) may be necessary. During this procedure, the surgeon realigns the jaws and teeth accordingly.
Jaw surgery can be performed on one or both of the jaws, depending on the patient’s needs. Most patients will need to wear braces before and after the surgery until the healing and alignment are complete. The orthodontist and surgeon will work together to determine the best, individualized treatment plan from the start to the end of the process.
Reasons for Jaw Surgery
Jaw surgery can do more than enhance a patient’s appearance. In addition to addressing any facial imbalance, correcting malocclusion (such as crowded teeth, crossbites, overbites, underbites, and open bites) gives jaw surgery the potential to address the following issues, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, AAOMS:
- Bite fit or jaw closure issues
- Chronic jaw or temporomandibular (TMJ) pain
- Chronic mouthbreathing
- Difficulty biting, chewing, or swallowing
- Excessive wear of the teeth
- Facial injury or congenital disabilities
- Inability to make the lips meet without straining
- Sleep apnea
Not everyone is a candidate for jaw surgery. Some patients may find that orthodontics, three-dimensional CT scanning, computer-guided treatment planning, and temporary orthodontic anchoring devices are enough to realign the jaws. Those whose conditions could still benefit from jaw surgery should acknowledge that the treatment is a long-term commitment that may take years to complete.
Preparing for Jaw Surgery
Typically, a patient’s orthodontist and oral surgeon will work together at least a year in advance (approximately 12 to 18 months) to prepare the most effective treatment plan for the jaw surgery. During this time, patients should refrain from using tobacco entirely. Preparation will involve taking X-rays, pictures, and models of the patient’s teeth. Further corrective procedures may also be necessary before the surgery, such as reshaping the teeth or covering them with crowns.
Patients can expect to be under general anesthesia for the operation and spending between two and four days in the hospital. As such, arrangements should be made well in advance to have a responsible adult drive the patient to and from the hospital. Additionally, patients should stock up on liquid foods before the day of the operation, as they will need to stick to a liquid diet for the first few weeks of recovery. Our doctors will give patients further instructions regarding what not to eat or drink before surgery, as well as how to proceed with any other medications they are taking.
Recovering from Jaw Surgery
Braces will need to be kept on until initial jaw healing has completed, usually around six weeks after surgery. Complete healing may take up to 12 weeks, although this varies from person to person. The orthodontist may also fit the patient with retainers to maintain tooth position.
Patients should spend at least a week recovering at home after being discharged from the hospital. Gradually, it will feel normal to return to normal eating and oral hygiene habits throughout the healing process. There will be one or more crucial post-operative exams with the surgeon during the two to six week period following surgery.
Sometime during the six to 12-month mark, patients will most likely have completed the entire orthodontic treatment. Throughout this time, the patient should still follow-up with Drs. Tyler M. Wilson, DDS and Marshall S. Humes, DDS, and their orthodontist as needed while also maintaining their dental care routine.
Learn More Today
Many patients find that jaw surgery improves their dental functions and overall feelings of self-confidence. At Wilson Oral Surgery, one of our qualified doctors may be able to perform a thorough dental exam and determine whether or not jaw surgery is right for you. Call us today at 805-910-1213 to schedule an appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will I need to get any sutures removed after jaw surgery?
In most cases, any sutures made during your jaw surgery will be absorbable, meaning they will not need to be removed after your surgery. However, you will still need to see your surgeon for follow-up appointments.
How old do you have to be to get jaw surgery?
In most cases, surgeons will not perform jaw surgery on anyone whose jaws have yet to reach skeletal maturity. For males, this is usually around ages 17 to 21; for females, this is usually around ages 14 to 16. However, surgeons will sometimes operate on children with particularly severe jaw discrepancies or facial asymmetries.
How long will it take me to get back to work or school after jaw surgery?
Many patients take as little as a week off from work or school. However, no two recoveries are the same. Additionally, some jaw surgeries are more involved than others. Your surgeon is the person best qualified to tell you what you can expect.
What can I eat after jaw surgery?
For the first two weeks after your jaw surgery, your teeth will be bound together by elastics or wires while the bone segments and incisions are healing. During this time, you will need to maintain a full liquid or pureed diet. After these two weeks, you can move on slowly to a soft, no- or low-chew mechanical diet. Speak to your surgeon to learn more.
Will my insurance cover jaw surgery?
The answer to this varies on a case-by-case basis. Speaking directly to your insurance company and surgeon is the best way to know what to expect. We can go over more details during a consultation.
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