The Role of Orthodontics in Preparing for Orthognathic Surgery


jaw surgery

Orthognathic surgery, often referred to as corrective jaw surgery, is a highly reliable procedure that corrects severe malocclusions and jaw deformities and improves the relationship between the upper and lower jaw. For many, jaw surgery is a life-altering procedure and one that comes with a lot of thought, planning, and pre-orthodontic treatment. 

Pre- and post-surgery treatment and care are paramount and some people may not realise just how long a journey it can be. In this article, we will look at exactly what undergoing orthognathic surgery entails, for you to make an informed decision on whether this procedure is right for you.

What is the Role of Orthognathic Surgery?

Orthognathic surgery addresses various bite problems and facial irregularities such as difficulties with chewing, speaking, or breathing due to misaligned jaws. It is a specialised procedure performed by oral and maxillofacial surgeons and involves moving jaw bones into their desired positions which are then secured by tiny screws and plates that stay in place under the gum. A general anaesthetic is used during the process, and it can be a very effective way to encourage the teeth and jaw to meet properly, addressing issues like overbites, underbites, crossbites, and facial asymmetry.

How Does Orthodontic Treatment Prepare Patients for Surgery?

For anybody looking to undergo jaw surgery, you will know that orthodontic treatment is needed before undergoing the procedure. Orthodontic treatment is usually carried out over 2½ - 3 years and typically starts with a brace to reposition the teeth. With many jaw misalignments, the teeth will always try and compensate for the abnormal relationship between the jaws. For example, if the lower jaw is shorter than the upper, the lower incisor teeth will tend to lean forward to meet the upper teeth. If the lower jaw protrudes, the upper incisors will tend to lean forwards and the lower incisors backwards, to correct the bite. Correcting the alignment of the teeth before surgery ensures that the teeth fit together properly after surgery. 

After a brace is worn for a set period determined by the orthodontist and surgeon, the teeth are aligned for the post-surgery bite and a stable foundation has been created in order for surgery to be carried, the patient will be ready for the orthognathic procedure. 

The Process of Jaw Surgery

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.

There are 3 main types of surgery carried out by maxillofacial surgeons. Upper jaw surgery or Maxillary Osteotomy, which fixes crossbite, open bite, a receding or protruding upper jaw, too much or too little teeth showing, and midfacial hypoplasia, which is the reduced facial growth of the middle of the face. Lower jaw surgery or Mandibular Osteotomy, which corrects a receding and protruding lower jaw, and chin surgery or Genioplasty, which can fix a small chin, which often accompanies a severely receding lower jaw.

Recovery and Post-Surgical Orthodontics

Once these procedures are carried out it is often necessary to undergo a further 6 months of orthodontic treatment which will be determined by your orthodontist and surgeon. Depending on the severity of your case, it could be longer than 6 months and the type of brace needed is also dependent on this. This is to ensure that your teeth stay in alignment with your new jaw position and that your bite can function properly. Often, after surgery, it is possible to need elastic bands between the upper and lower teeth to keep the jaw in place.

Seeking Jaw Surgery in Manchester? Northenden House Orthodontics can help

If you are seeking orthognathic surgery in Manchester, our team of fully trained and experienced clinicians regularly undertake this type of work, meaning all our patients are in good hands. We ensure a smooth end-to-end process from pre-orthodontic treatment, through to surgery and post-orthodontic care. We ensure complex, interdisciplinary care, and regular check-up appointments to ensure that your recovery is going well and remaining on track. 

You can rest assured that in seeking jaw surgery in Manchester, we offer the specialist treatment and care needed to perform a successful orthognathic operation. Contact Northenden House Orthodontics today to arrange a consultation and begin your journey to a better and happier smile.

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  • Mohammad Malik
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