Orthognathic (Corrective Jaw) Surgery

Orthognathic surgery, also commonly called corrective jaw surgery, is a performed to treat issues that result from defects in jaw alignment. It is necessary when jaws and/or teeth are unable to meet properly. Corrective jaw surgery is a collaborative effort between an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, who surgically corrects jaw alignment, and an orthodontist, who provides care to correct the position and alignment of teeth. While these procedures are done primarily to resolve functional issues, aesthetic issues caused by misaligned jaws and/or teeth are also improved by orthognathic surgery.

When Is Orthognathic Surgery Necessary?

Patients who can benefit from orthognathic surgery include those with malocclusions (bad bites) caused by poorly aligned or mismatched jaws, which are unable or unlikely to be resolved with orthodontic care alone. These are called skeletal malocclusions, and include conditions commonly referred to as underbite, overbite, open bite or cross bite, among others.Skeletal malocclusions can be the result of uneven jaw growth, where jaws upper and lower jaws grow at different rates, or can be due to birth defects or jaw trauma. They can give rise to a number of functional issues that can greatly affect a person’s oral health, overall health, quality of life and appearance. Symptoms that can indicate the need for orthognathic surgery include:
    • Poor biting and chewing efficiency
    • Chronic headache or jaw pain
    • Uneven or excessive tooth wear
    • Inability to close the mouth naturally
    • Sleep apnea
    • Mouth breathing and/or dry mouth
    • Congenital defects or jaw injury

Orthognathic surgery, also commonly called corrective jaw surgery, is a performed to treat issues that result from defects in jaw alignment. It is necessary when jaws and/or teeth are unable to meet properly. Corrective jaw surgery is a collaborative effort between an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, who surgically corrects jaw alignment, and an orthodontist, who provides care to correct the position and alignment of teeth. While these procedures are done primarily to resolve functional issues, aesthetic issues caused by misaligned jaws and/or teeth are also improved by orthognathic surgery.

Evaluation, Planning and Treatment

Patients who are considering orthognathic surgery or have been referred by their orthodontist for evaluation will be thoroughly examined by Dr. Arroyo. Dental imaging will be done in order to diagnose and evaluate functional problems and symptoms. If Dr. Arroyo determines that corrective jaw surgery is the most appropriate course of action, treatment planning will begin – a process that will require close collaboration with the patient’s orthodontist and, of course, the patient.As that planning progresses, today’s 3-D imaging technology and software allows Dr. Arroyo to create a digital, 3-D model of patients that gives them the ability to see how surgery will be done, how the bite will be improved, and even give them an idea of how they will look once surgery is complete and jaws and teeth are properly aligned. Once a treatment plan has been agreed upon, orthodontic care is the first step in the process, moving the teeth into proper position to accommodate the planned alterations in jaw position and alignment. Then, Dr. Arroyo will perform the surgical portion of treatment, resizing, reshaping and/or repositioning one jaw or both as necessary for proper jaw alignment. After a healing period, most patients will require another round of orthodontic care to ensure a good bite and efficient oral function.

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