Jaw surgery isn’t something that you might hear of often. This is because most dental professionals are going to try everything else first before settling on surgery since it’s considered an invasive procedure. However, some circumstances call for jaw surgery in order for an issue to be corrected when nothing else is an option. It’s also referred to as orthognathic surgery and it corrects the alignment of the jaw or irregularities and often times improves the appearance of the face even.
In short, jaw surgery is necessary when issues such as jaw alignment can’t be fixed with normal orthodontic treatment alone. This includes issues with bite alignment, swallowing issues, birth defects, TMJ, etc. Jaw surgery alone doesn’t usually fix the problem either. Often times, both orthodontic treatment and jaw surgery, are paired together to fix the issue. For example, when a jaw is being realigned, it’s common for the patient to wear braces for a minimum of a year prior to the surgery occurs. Once the surgery is finished, the patient will continue to wear the braces for another year or so, depending on the circumstances. This helps ensure the alignment stays in place permanently.
What Are the Risks?
With any invasive procedure, there are risks to jaw surgery. Among these risks are blood loss, nerve damage, and infection. However, the greater risks are jaw fracture, further surgery being needed, the jaw relapsing to the original position, and loss of a portion of the jaw. Of course, many of these greater risks are rare and not a common occurrence. If the surgeon’s advice is followed before and after surgery, it should be a pretty seamless process.
With any surgery, there’s going to be a pain after jaw surgery. Pain medicine will be prescribed, and your doctor will give you all the information you need to know to keep everything a smooth process through healing. For example, prepare to not be able to use tobacco and to stay relatively inactive while the healing is occurring. You may also be limited to foods for a period of time and may have to stay away from school work, etc. The healing process can take up to six weeks however, many of these limitations will only last 1-3 weeks.
Is it Worth it?
If your doctor or dental professional is suggesting it, they often don’t do so lightly. This means that it most likely is well worth the effort it would take to go through the surgery. All doctors and dental professionals are always open for questions to ease any fears or worries you might have before going through with the procedure. After a few short weeks, you will have a beautiful smile that was well worth the wait and effort.