What is Orthognathic Surgery?

Corrective jaw surgery and orthognathic surgery are interchangeable terms to describe a surgery meant to correct the size and shape of the jaws. It is a relatively common procedure, often done in conjunction with orthodontists to align the teeth. The work of an orthodontist alone can correct bite problems when the teeth are involved however orthognathic surgery becomes necessary when the jaws require repositioning. Your orthodontist will refer you for a consultation at Maxillo 3 Lacs if your bite cannot be corrected with an orthodontic treatment alone.

Jaw growth is a gradual process but in some instances, the upper and lower jaws may do so at different rates. When this situation occurs, it can lead to multiple problems and affect chewing, speech as well as your appearance. Jaw surgery is not only able to improve facial appearance but also ensures the teeth meet correctly and function properly. Some of the concerns that can be fixed with corrective jaw surgery include jaws that are too large, too small, too far forward, too far back or crooked.

Corrective jaw surgery offers aesthetic benefits and functional improvements

Orthognathic surgery, in conjunction with orthodontic treatment, can be required when there is a moderate to severe abnormality in the development of the jaws which prevents the bite from being corrected by orthodontic treatment alone. The procedure may be performed as early as 15 years in females and 17 years in males and can also be performed during adulthood. Orthognathic surgery can also be performed in conjunction with Invisalign treatment in suitable cases. Your referring orthodontist and M3L surgeon Dr. El-Hakim, Dr. Makhoul or Dr. Gigliotti will discuss your individual condition and the best treatment for you during your initial consultation.

Who needs orthognathic surgery?

People who benefit from corrective jaw surgery include those with an improper bite or jaws that are not positioned correctly. The upper jaw, the lower jaw or both jaws may require surgical correction to treat deformities resulting from developmental problems or following severe trauma or a previous surgery for instance.

Any of these can exist at birth or may be acquired after birth as a result of hereditary or environmental influences or as a result of trauma to the face. Patients with congenital birth defects such as cleft lip and palate may also benefit from corrective jaw surgery.

To know if corrective surgery is for you, the following areas should be evaluated:

  • Difficulty in chewing, biting or swallowing
  • Speech problems
  • Chronic temporomandibular pain
  • Open bite
  • Protruding jaw
  • Breathing problems

The process of corrective jaw surgery

Before any orthognathic surgery treatment begins, your Maxillo 3 Lacs surgeon will plan several appointments with you. Dr. El-Hakim, Dr. Makhoul or Dr. Gigliotti will determine the best way to align your jaw to improve its functionality. During the pre-treatment consultation process, feel free to ask any questions that you have regarding your treatment.

Your medical history and prior surgeries will be thoroughly reviewed to understand how your condition arose and a full examination of your nose, head, neck, eyes, mouth and jaw joint will be performed. X-rays may also be taken along with 3-D models and cutting edge computer-assisted planning tools to plan your procedure and offer you a preview of your projected final outcome. Only when you are fully informed about all aspects of your surgery will the M3L surgeon and orthodontic team choose to proceed ahead with the treatment.

Orthognathic surgery is performed in a hospital under general anesthesia. Your M3L oral and maxillofacial surgeon will carefully cut the bone and move the jaw or jaws as required. The jaws are sectioned and repositioned before being secured into the new position with small bone plates and screws made of titanium. Your surgeon will place the incisions inside your mouth, so there will be no visible scars. The duration of corrective jaw surgery can differ depending on the complexity of the case and the surgery itself but typically ranges from 1-4 hours.

Corrective jaw surgery recovery

Patients usually require 2 to 3 weeks to recover.

Dissolvable stitches will be used on the incision, and will gradually dissolve over two to three weeks. Sometimes they might fall out earlier, which is fine, as long as there is no persistent bleeding associated with it. Although brushing may be difficult during the first week of recovery, it is very important to keep the mouth clean and healthy to prevent infection. You should rinse your mouth with warm saltwater and antibacterial mouthwash, as prescribed by Dr. El-Hakim, Dr. Makhoul or Dr. Gigliotti. Soft foods should be eaten for a period of four to six weeks after surgery until you feel comfortable to move on to a regular diet. You will be able to visit your orthodontist around three to six weeks after your corrective jaw surgery.

If you are a candidate for corrective jaw surgery, our M3L oral and maxillofacial surgeons will be happy to work with your orthodontist and contribute to the success of your treatment. Please do not hesitate to call us at (514) 395-9896 or contact us using our online form to have more information about this procedure or to schedule your appointment. Our team will be happy to answer all the questions you may have.

Implantology and Maxillofacial Surgery Center

We accept new patients without a referral