Corrective Jaw (Orthognathic) Surgery 

Orthognathic surgery is corrective jaw surgery aimed at improving the relationship between the upper and lower jaws. This would often result in an improved jaw function, chewing ability, and improved facial profile/appearance. Orthognathic surgery may become necessary when orthodontic treatment alone cannot correct or improve specific problems with your jaws or teeth. Surgery is carried out in conjunction with orthodontic treatment provided by your orthodontist. 

Common reasons for orthognathic surgery include: 

  • Improving Chewing or Breathing: Misaligned jaws can cause difficulties with everyday functions, such as eating or speaking, and may even lead to breathing problems. Corrective jaw surgery can improve these basic oral functions. 
  • Facial Imbalance: Some individuals may have disproportionate facial aspects due to under-developed or over-developed jaws. Orthognathic surgery can achieve a more balanced facial features. 
  • Sleep Apnoea: In severe cases, misaligned jaws can contribute to problems like sleep apnoea and snoring. Surgery can often help improve these conditions.
Corrective Jaw (Orthognathic) Surgery 

Common Types of Corrective Jaw Surgery 

The type of corrective jaw surgery performed depends on the specific needs of the patient. Some common procedures include: 

  1. Maxillary Osteotomy (Upper Jaw):
    This procedure corrects issues like open bite, crossbite, or significantly receded upper jaw. It involves cutting and repositioning the upper jaw to align properly with the lower jaw. 
  1. Mandibular Osteotomy (Lower Jaw):
    This procedure can correct a receded or protruding lower jaw by cutting behind the molars and lengthening or shortening the jaw. 
  1. Chin Surgery (Genioplasty):
    If the problem lies with the chin and not the jaw, genioplasty can be performed to either reduce an overly prominent chin or augment a deficient one. 

Recovery following surgery 

  • You will stay in hospital between 1 and 3 days after your surgery. During this time you may require IV fluids to prevent dehydration. Once you can eat and drink on your own, you will be discharged from hospital. 
  • Dissolvable stitches will be used on the incision, which will gradually dissolve over two to three weeks. Sometimes, stitches may fall out earlier than this which is not an issue as long as there is no persistent bleeding.  
  • Although brushing may be difficult during the first week of recovery, it is very important to keep the mouth clean and healthy top prevent infection. You should rinse your mouth with warm salt water and chlorhexidine mouthwash, as prescribed by your surgeon.  
  • Your diet should be a “non chew” diet for 4 to 6 weeks after surgery to allow the bones to heal well. After 6 weeks, your diet can then be transitioned to a regular diet. 

If you are to receive orthodontic treatment, you will most likely be able to visit your orthodontist around two to three weeks after corrective jaw surgery. Follow-up care is essential to ensure that your jaw is healing correctly and that they are staying properly aligned.