As your smile specialists in Oklahoma, the orthodontists at Craig & Straight offer an array of services to give you your best smile. Oftentimes, aesthetic dental issues can be corrected through braces or other orthodontic care. Braces can shape your teeth and align your jaws, making drastic improvements for your smile overall.
But what if you are experiencing deeper, more complex problems when it comes to your oral health? Corrective jaw surgery, or orthognathic surgery, treats abnormal facial bones, typically the bones found in the jaw, teeth, and chin area. While surgery may seem daunting, today’s technology is so advanced that surgeries have become minimally invasive, yet highly effective.
By consulting us on your next appointment, we can determine what level of treatment you may need. Until then, read along and decide if jaw surgery may be an option for you.
How Do I Know I Need Jaw Surgery?
According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the following conditions are signs that jaw surgery may be needed:
- Difficulty chewing, biting, or swallowing food
- Chronic jaw joint pain and headaches
- A space between the upper and lower teeth when your mouth is closed; or, inability to make your lips meet without great effort
- Excessive wear of teeth
- Unbalanced facial appearance (from the front or side) caused by birth defects, facial injury, receding lower jaw and chin, protruding jaw, or other issue
- Chronic mouth breathing
- Sleep apnea
As you can see, these sorts of problems can be invasive to everyday life, causing pain and limiting daily functions. If you are experiencing major trouble when trying to eat or sleep, it’s apparent that your jaw is impacting your life in a negative way.
On the other hand, another major reason for jaw surgery is more of an aesthetic fix, giving a desirable face shape from all angles. Typically, these sorts of defects that originate from birth are handled early on, usually in the teenage years. If there has been an injury that has caused these problems, surgery can happen for anyone, no matter the age. Depending on your specific needs, our team at Craig & Straight can determine a path forward to your best smile.
What Treatment Will I Receive Before, During, and After Jaw Surgery?
First, your orthodontist will decide the level of care your smile requires. If your jaw can be realigned using orthodontic care, like braces, retainers, or other wiring, that is typically the route that is taken.
Many times, braces are needed as a first step in the jaw surgery process. Wearing braces before the surgery allows your teeth and jaws to align as much as they can before surgery takes place. Typically, this can take up to a year or year and a half.
The surgery itself does not take long at all, lasting only a few hours. However, it is, after all, surgery. Before it starts, you will be put under anesthesia, and then you will likely be in the hospital for one to two days following surgery.
The longer and more difficult step in the healing process is a six week, at-home stay. Consider how this length of time will affect your life and your family – certainly, it is necessary if it will improve your quality of life, but it does take time. Overall, the entire process can take between one to three years from start to finish.
From braces to your own “before and after” pictures, our team at Craig & Straight will be with you every step of the process. Contact us today to begin the journey to your very best smile!