Jaw Surgery – Orthognathic Maxillofacial Surgery

Are you considering jaw surgery but unsure if it’s the right choice for you? Look no further! In this complete guide, we will delve into the world of jaw surgery, exploring when and why it’s recommended. Whether you’re dealing with misaligned jaws, facial trauma, or severe bite issues, jaw surgery can be a life-changing solution. By addressing the underlying causes of these problems, this transformative procedure can enhance both your oral health and overall quality of life. From understanding the various types of jaw surgery to the recovery process and potential risks, we’ve got you covered. Our expertly curated guide will equip you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions about your oral health and ensure you’re well-prepared for your journey towards a more confident smile. So, let’s dive in and explore the world of jaw surgery together!

Types of jaw surgery

Jaw surgery, also known as orthognathic surgery, encompasses a range of procedures that aim to correct and align the jaws. There are several types of jaw surgery, each targeting specific issues. The most common types include:br/>

1. **Orthodontic Jaw Surgery**: This type of surgery is performed in conjunction with orthodontic treatment. It involves repositioning the jaws to correct bite problems, such as underbites, overbites, open bites, or crossbites. By aligning the jaws, orthodontic jaw surgery can improve both function and aesthetics.br/>

2. **Maxillofacial Trauma Surgery**: This type of surgery is typically performed to address facial injuries resulting from accidents, sports-related incidents, or physical altercations. Maxillofacial trauma surgery focuses on repairing fractures and restoring the normal function and appearance of the jaw.br/>

3. **Obstructive Sleep Apnea Surgery**: Jaw surgery can be an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, a condition characterized by the partial or complete blockage of the airway during sleep. By repositioning the jaws, this surgery aims to alleviate the obstruction and improve breathing during sleep.br/>

4. **Corrective Jaw Surgery**: This type of surgery is often recommended for individuals with severe jaw misalignment, also known as dentofacial deformities. Corrective jaw surgery can address issues such as an excessively receded or protruding jaw, asymmetrical jaws, or a small or large chin. The goal is to improve facial balance and harmony.br/>

Common reasons why jaw surgery is recommended

Jaw surgery is recommended for a variety of reasons, depending on the individual’s specific condition and needs. Some common reasons include:br/>

1. **Misaligned Jaws**: Misaligned jaws can cause a range of problems, including difficulty chewing, speaking, and breathing. Jaw surgery can correct these misalignments, improving function and relieving associated symptoms.br/>

2. **Severe Bite Issues**: Bite problems, such as overbites, underbites, crossbites, and open bites, can affect both dental health and facial aesthetics. Jaw surgery can realign the jaws, bringing the teeth into proper alignment and improving the bite.br/>

3. **Facial Trauma**: Facial injuries resulting from accidents or physical altercations can cause fractures or dislocations in the jaw. Jaw surgery can repair these injuries, restore function, and enhance facial appearance.br/>

4. **Obstructive Sleep Apnea**: For individuals with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea, jaw surgery can be an effective treatment option. By repositioning the jaws, this surgery can help alleviate airway obstructions and improve breathing during sleep.br/>

5. **Dentofacial Deformities**: Severe jaw misalignments, also known as dentofacial deformities, can significantly impact facial aesthetics and function. Jaw surgery can correct these deformities, improving facial balance, harmony, and overall quality of life.br/>

Signs that you may need jaw surgery

If you’re experiencing any of the following signs or symptoms, it may indicate that you could benefit from jaw surgery:br/>

1. **Difficulty Chewing or Biting**: If you have trouble chewing or biting food properly, it could be a sign of jaw misalignment or bite issues that may require surgical intervention.br/>

2. **Speech Problems**: Misaligned jaws can affect the position of the tongue and lips, leading to speech difficulties. If you’re struggling with speech problems, jaw surgery may help improve your articulation.br/>

3. **Chronic Jaw Pain**: Persistent jaw pain, especially when accompanied by limited jaw movement and clicking or popping sounds, could indicate a need for jaw surgery to address underlying issues.br/>

4. **Breathing Problems during Sleep**: If you frequently snore, experience interrupted breathing, or wake up gasping for air during sleep, it may be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea. Jaw surgery can be an effective treatment for this condition.br/>

5. **Facial Asymmetry**: Significant facial asymmetry, such as a visibly uneven jawline or chin, may be indicative of a dentofacial deformity that could be corrected through jaw surgery.br/>

The process of diagnosing and planning for jaw surgery

The decision to undergo jaw surgery is not made lightly. A comprehensive diagnostic and planning process is necessary to determine if jaw surgery is the right course of action. Here’s what you can expect:br/>

1. **Initial Consultation**: Your journey towards jaw surgery begins with an initial consultation with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. During this consultation, the surgeon will evaluate your condition, discuss your medical history, and perform a thorough examination of your jaws, teeth, and facial structure. Diagnostic tests, such as X-rays, CT scans, or 3D imaging, may be ordered to assess the underlying issues accurately.br/>

2. **Orthodontic Evaluation**: Since jaw surgery is often performed in conjunction with orthodontic treatment, you may be referred to an orthodontist for a comprehensive evaluation. The orthodontist will examine your bite, dental alignment, and overall oral health to determine the necessary orthodontic preparations for the surgery.br/>

3. **Treatment Planning**: Based on the diagnostic findings, your oral and maxillofacial surgeon, in collaboration with the orthodontist, will develop a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. This plan will outline the recommended surgical procedures, the expected outcomes, and the associated risks and benefits.br/>

4. **Pre-Surgical Preparation**: Before undergoing jaw surgery, you may be required to undergo certain pre-surgical preparations. These may include dental extractions, pre-surgical orthodontic adjustments, or consultations with other medical specialists, depending on your individual case.br/>

Preparing for jaw surgery: what to expect

Preparing for jaw surgery involves various aspects, both physical and emotional. Here’s what you can expect as you prepare for your upcoming procedure:br/>

1. **Educating Yourself**: Take the time to educate yourself about the procedure, the expected outcomes, and the recovery process. Understanding what to expect can help alleviate anxiety and ensure you are well-prepared.br/>

2. **Pre-Surgical Orthodontic Treatment**: Depending on your specific case, you may need to undergo pre-surgical orthodontic treatment to align your teeth properly. This treatment helps ensure the best possible surgical outcome and facilitates post-surgical orthodontic adjustments.br/>

3. **Smoking Cessation**: If you are a smoker, it is essential to quit smoking before jaw surgery. Smoking can impair the healing process and increase the risk of complications.br/>

4. **Dietary Adjustments**: Prior to surgery, your surgeon may recommend dietary adjustments. These may include avoiding certain foods or liquids in the days leading up to the procedure to minimize the risk of complications.br/>

5. **Emotional Support**: Jaw surgery can be a significant life event, and it’s normal to feel a range of emotions. Seek emotional support from friends, family, or support groups to help navigate the emotional aspects of the process.br/>

The procedure: what happens during jaw surgery

Jaw surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia in a hospital or surgical center. The specific details of the procedure may vary depending on the type of surgery being performed, but here is a general overview of what happens during jaw surgery:br/>

1. **Anesthesia**: You will be given general anesthesia to ensure you are completely unconscious and pain-free throughout the procedure.br/>

2. **Incisions**: The surgeon will make incisions either inside the mouth or externally, depending on the nature of the surgery. These incisions allow access to the underlying jawbones for repositioning or other necessary adjustments.br/>

3. **Bone Repositioning**: The surgeon will carefully reposition the jawbones according to the treatment plan. This may involve removing or reshaping bone segments, inserting plates, screws, or wires to stabilize the jaw, or grafting bone to enhance stability and support.br/>

4. **Soft Tissue Adjustments**: In addition to bone repositioning, the surgeon may also make adjustments to the soft tissues, such as the muscles, ligaments, or the lining of the mouth, to achieve the desired aesthetic and functional outcomes.br/>

5. **Closure and Recovery**: Once the necessary adjustments have been made, the incisions will be closed using dissolvable stitches or other appropriate techniques. You will then be moved to a recovery area, where you will be closely monitored until you wake up from anesthesia.br/>

Recovery and post-operative care

Recovery from jaw surgery is a gradual process that requires patience and adherence to post-operative instructions. Here are some key aspects of the recovery and post-operative care:br/>

1. **Hospital Stay**: Depending on the complexity of the surgery, you may need to stay in the hospital for a day or two following the procedure. This allows for close monitoring of your condition and pain management.br/>

2. **Pain Management**: You will be prescribed pain medications to help manage any discomfort or pain during the initial stages of recovery. It’s essential to take the medications as directed and report any severe or prolonged pain to your surgeon.br/>

3. **Swelling and Bruising**: Swelling and bruising are common after jaw surgery and typically peak within the first few days. Applying ice packs, keeping your head elevated, and following any specific instructions provided by your surgeon can help reduce swelling.br/>

4. **Dietary Restrictions**: Your diet will be restricted to a soft or liquid diet for a period of time following surgery. This allows for optimal healing and minimizes the risk of complications. Your surgeon will provide specific dietary guidelines tailored to your needs.br/>

5. **Oral Hygiene**: Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial during the recovery period. Your surgeon will provide instructions on how to clean your mouth, including any special mouthwashes or rinses that may be necessary.br/>

6. **Follow-up Appointments**: Regular follow-up appointments with your surgeon and orthodontist are essential to monitor your progress, make any necessary adjustments, and ensure a successful outcome.br/>

Potential risks and complications of jaw surgery

Like any surgical procedure, jaw surgery carries certain risks and potential complications. It’s important to be aware of these risks before making a decision. Some possible risks include:br/>

1. **Infection**: There is a risk of infection following jaw surgery. Your surgeon will prescribe antibiotics and provide instructions to minimize this risk.br/>

2. **Nerve Damage**: Nerves in the jaw area can be temporarily or permanently damaged during surgery, resulting in numbness, tingling, or altered sensation. This risk is minimized by the expertise of the surgical team.br/>

3. **Excessive Bleeding**: Although rare, excessive bleeding can occur during or after surgery. Your surgeon will take precautions to minimize this risk and may require blood tests prior to the procedure.br/>

4. **Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Issues**: Jaw surgery can occasionally lead to temporomandibular joint issues, including pain, clicking, or limited jaw movement. These issues are typically temporary and can be managed with appropriate treatment.br/>

5. **Teeth or Bite Changes**: In some cases, jaw surgery may result in changes to the position or alignment of the teeth. Your orthodontist will work closely with your surgeon to minimize these changes and ensure optimal dental outcomes.br/>

Frequently asked questions about jaw surgery

1. **How long does the recovery process take?**: The recovery process varies depending on the individual and the complexity of the surgery. Generally, it takes several weeks to a few months for the initial swelling and discomfort to subside, and several months to a year for the jaw to fully heal and stabilize.br/>

2. **Will I need to wear braces before and after jaw surgery?**: In most cases, orthodontic treatment with braces is necessary before and after jaw surgery. The braces help align the teeth properly and facilitate the surgical process and post-surgical adjustments.br/>

3. **Will my insurance cover jaw surgery?**: Insurance coverage for jaw surgery varies depending on the individual insurance policy and the specific circumstances. It’s important to check with your insurance provider to determine the extent of coverage for jaw surgery.br/>

4. **Can jaw surgery improve my facial appearance?**: Yes, jaw surgery can significantly improve facial appearance by correcting jaw misalignments, asymmetry, or other dentofacial deformities. Achieving facial balance and harmony is one of the primary goals of jaw surgery.br/>

5. **Is jaw surgery painful?**: Jaw surgery is performed under general anesthesia, so you will not experience any pain during the procedure. Pain and discomfort during the recovery period can be managed with prescribed pain medications.br/>

Conclusion: Is jaw surgery right for you?

Jaw surgery can be a life-changing procedure for individuals dealing with misaligned jaws, bite issues, facial trauma, or dentofacial deformities. By addressing the underlying causes of these problems, jaw surgery offers both functional and aesthetic benefits, ultimately improving oral health and

Dr. Larry Wolford / Web Decoration

Get To Know Dr. Larry M. Wolford, DMD

Diplomat of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Oral Maxillofacial Jaw Surgeon | Larry M. Wolford, DMD
Dr. Larry M. Wolford
The Leading Maxillofacial Revision Surgeon in the World

Dr. Larry M. Wolford, known as a caring and compassionate doctor, surgeon, researcher, lecturer, inventor, is renowned globally as a leading innovator in TMJ (jaw joint) surgery, orthognathic “corrective jaw” surgery, and maxillofacial revision surgery. He has completed many thousands of successful surgeries and is the most recognized, awarded, and referred Maxillofacial surgeon in the World.

Dr. Wolford’s patients travel to Dallas, Tx from all over the world. He has received recognition from his esteemed surgeon colleagues in the form of numerous awards, honors, Who’s Who in the World, and voted one of the leading Maxillofacial Surgeons in the world. Dr. Wolford has tirelessly shared his knowledge, surgical inventions, and expertise with other surgeons having trained hundreds of other surgeons through various fellowships at Baylor and Texas A&M.

Dr. Wolford is the recognized expert in his field as seen on numerous media outlets and by his long list of Google 5 Star reviews. Other oral surgeons, dentists, maxillofacial surgeons regularly refer their most difficult patients to Dr. Wolford because of his superior knowledge, capabilities, and life-changing results.

Contact Dr. Wolford’s Staff for a Free Initial Telephone Consultation.

Office Location:

Larry M. Wolford, DMD

Baylor University Medical Center, Worth Street Tower 3409 Worth Street, Suite 400, Dallas, TX 75246

Experience Matters

Dr. Larry Wolford / Web Decoration
Dr. Larry Wolford has over 40 years of complex surgical experience

Dr. Larry Wolford has over 40 years of complex surgical experience

65% of his practice are patients referred from all over the USA and other countries

65% of his practice are patients referred from all over the USA and other countries

Developed many innovative procedures that are the current jaw surgical techniques

Developed many innovative procedures that are the current jaw surgical techniques

Listens to the patient and answers questions with care and compassionate

Listens to the patient and answers questions with care and compassionate