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jaw surgery

Our jaws are a marvel of engineering, they are responsible for so much of how we operate daily. However, several conditions can affect how our jaw operates, from speech, chewing, and even sleep, this is where orthognathic, or jaw surgery comes in. For many people with severe bite problems, orthognathic surgery is a saving grace and allows them to live without discomfort and show off a beautiful smile. 

We have all the information you need at Oldham Orthodontics, in terms of the types of conditions that jaw surgery can address, allowing you to make an informed decision. So, if you are looking for orthognathic surgery in Oldham, this article is here to help.

What is Orthognathic Surgery?

Jaw surgery is used, primarily, to correct severe cases of dental misalignments to reposition the upper and lower jaw. During surgery, jaw bones are moved to their desired positions and secured into place with tiny screws that stay in place underneath the gum. The surgery is carried out under general anaesthesia, meaning that you will be in the hospital for the procedure, and it works to create balance and allow the teeth and jaws to meet properly. After surgery, braces and small elastic bands are used between the top and bottom brace, to help guide the teeth into their new bite position. In more severe cases, the jaw could be wired together, but this isn’t usual practice.

Malocclusions that Jaw Surgery Can Address

There is a long list of malocclusions that orthognathic surgery can help with, the below list is not exhaustive but includes:

  • Underbite (Prognathism) which occurs when the lower jaw protrudes beyond the upper jaw.
  • Overbite (Class II Malocclusion) is characterised by the upper jaw significantly overlapping the lower jaw.
  • Crossbite which involves the misalignment of the upper and lower jaws, causing some upper teeth to sit inside the lower teeth.
  • Open Bite which occurs when there is a gap between the upper and lower front teeth even when the mouth is closed.
  • Rebalancing facial asymmetry which refers to the uneven development of the facial bones, resulting in a lopsided appearance.
  • Correcting problems with swallowing and speech.
  • Improve the ability of lips to close fully and comfortably.
  • Relieve symptoms of disruptive sleep apnoea. 
  • Relieve TMJ disorder (temporomandibular joint pain) and other jaw problems.
  • Improve chewing action and make biting and chewing easier.
  • Minimise excessive wear and breakdown of teeth.
  • Correct bite fit and jaw closure such as open bite, where the molars touch but the front teeth don’t.
  • Repair facial injury and birth defects.

There are 3 main types of malocclusions that orthognathic surgery can help with-

Upper Jaw Surgery – Maxillary Osteotomy.

Surgery carried out on the upper jaw (maxillary osteotomy) can correct crossbite and open bite, too much or too little of the teeth showing, a receding or protruding upper jaw, and the reduced facial growth of the middle of the face (midfacial hypoplasia). During surgery, your surgeon will make an incision above your teeth, so that the entire upper jaw, including the roof of your mouth and upper teeth, is moved forward as one unit until they fit properly with the lower teeth. With an open bite, your surgeon will shave away or remove the excess that has grown above the molars, causing a normally flat surface to become angled. Once realigned, the jawbone is held in place with plates and screws. 

Lower Jaw Surgery – Mandibular Osteotomy.

Surgery carried out on the lower jaw (mandibular osteotomy) is used to correct a receding lower jaw and a protruding lower jaw. Surgeons will cut behind the molars and lengthwise down the jawbone to enable the front of the jaw to be moved either forward or backwards. It is then held together with plates and screws until it’s healed. 

Chin Surgery – Genioplasty.

Chin surgery (genioplasty) can be used to correct a small chin, which often accompanies a severely receded lower jaw. Surgeons can restructure the chin and alter the jaw during the same surgery by cutting a piece of chin bone from the front of the jaw, moving it forward, and securing it into place with plates and screws.

Other Conditions Orthognathic Surgery Can Address

In most cases, the primary aim of jaw surgery is to correct jaw misalignments, but these misalignments may lead to other disorders, from teeth not meeting together properly, which can cause pain and difficulties in everyday activities.

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder.

Temporomandibular joint disorders can cause jaw pain, headaches, and difficulty in opening or closing the mouth. In cases where alternative treatments fail, jaw surgery may be recommended to address structural issues within the joint. Surgery can alleviate pain and restore normal jaw movement by realigning the jaw and optimising joint function. 

Sleep Apnoea.

Obstructive sleep apnoea occurs when the airway is partially or completely blocked during sleep. In some cases, jaw surgery can be a viable option for patients with specific anatomical issues contributing to their sleep apnoea. By repositioning the upper and/or lower jaw, surgeons can create a more open airway, reducing or eliminating the symptoms of sleep apnoea and improving overall sleep quality.

Facial Asymmetry.

Facial asymmetry, where one side of the face differs significantly from the other, can result from developmental issues or trauma. Jaw surgery can play a pivotal role in addressing facial asymmetry by repositioning the jawbones and achieving a more balanced and harmonious facial appearance. This not only enhances aesthetics but also contributes to improved self-esteem and confidence.

Chewing and Speaking Difficulties.

Some individuals may experience difficulty in chewing or speaking due to jaw misalignments or irregularities, jaw surgery can correct these issues, allowing for improved functional ability. Patients often find that after surgery, chewing becomes more efficient, and speech impediments are alleviated, leading to a significant enhancement in overall quality of life.

The Process of Jaw Surgery

Treatment is carried out over a period of 2½ to 3 years, starting with the fixing of metal braces, in most cases, to help reposition the teeth. Around two-thirds of the way through orthodontic treatment is when you should be ready for 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. 

Oldham Orthodontics: Your Answer to Seeking Jaw Surgery in Oldham

If you are seeking orthognathic surgery in Oldham, 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 with 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 Oldham, we offer the specialist treatment and care needed to perform a successful orthognathic operation. Contact Oldham Orthodontics today to arrange your free consultation and begin your journey to a better and happier smile.