The Ultimate Guide to Orthognathic Surgery: What You Need to Know

Welcome to the ultimate guide to orthognathic surgery, where we will walk you through everything you need to know about this life-changing procedure. Whether you’re struggling with a misaligned bite, an overbite, or an underbite, orthognathic surgery can help restore balance and functionality to your jaw.

In this guide, we will delve into the details of orthognathic surgery, explaining the different types of procedures available, the benefits and risks involved, and what to expect during the recovery process. Our goal is to equip you with the knowledge and understanding necessary to make an informed decision about whether orthognathic surgery is right for you.

With the help of experts in the field, we will explore the latest advancements and techniques in orthognathic surgery and shed light on the transformative results that can be achieved. Whether you’re a candidate for surgery or seeking information to support a loved one, this comprehensive guide will empower you with the information you need to navigate the world of orthognathic surgery with confidence.

Get ready to discover how orthognathic surgery can improve not only your dental health but also your overall quality of life. Let’s dive in!

Common reasons for undergoing orthognathic surgery

Orthognathic surgery, also known as corrective jaw surgery, is a procedure performed to correct abnormalities of the jaw and facial structure. There are several common reasons why individuals may choose to undergo orthognathic surgery.

One of the most prevalent reasons is a misaligned bite, also known as malocclusion. Malocclusion occurs when the upper and lower jaws do not fit together properly, resulting in difficulty with chewing, speaking, and even breathing. Orthognathic surgery can correct this misalignment and restore proper function to the jaw.

Another common reason for orthognathic surgery is an overbite or underbite. An overbite occurs when the upper jaw protrudes significantly over the lower jaw, while an underbite is characterized by the lower jaw extending beyond the upper jaw. These conditions can cause aesthetic concerns and may also impact speech and chewing abilities.

In some cases, orthognathic surgery may be necessary to correct facial asymmetry. Facial asymmetry occurs when one side of the face is noticeably different from the other, often due to an imbalance in the jaw structure. Orthognathic surgery can help bring balance and harmony to the facial features, improving both appearance and function.

Overall, the primary goal of orthognathic surgery is to improve the alignment and functionality of the jaw, leading to better oral health, enhanced facial aesthetics, and an improved quality of life. If you are experiencing any of these issues, it may be worth considering orthognathic surgery as a viable solution.

The orthognathic surgery process

Before undergoing orthognathic surgery, it is essential to understand the process involved to ensure a smooth and successful experience. The orthognathic surgery process typically includes several key steps, starting with an initial consultation and ending with the final post-operative care.

The first step in the orthognathic surgery process is to schedule an initial consultation with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. During this consultation, the surgeon will conduct a thorough examination of your jaw and facial structure, including X-rays, photographs, and potentially even 3D imaging. This evaluation will help determine the underlying cause of your jaw issues and allow the surgeon to develop a personalized treatment plan.

Once the treatment plan has been established, the next step is to prepare for the surgery. This may involve orthodontic treatment, such as braces, to align the teeth properly before the surgical procedure. Orthodontic treatment is often an essential part of the orthognathic surgery process, as it helps ensure optimal results and a stable bite after the surgery.

After the necessary preparation, the actual surgical procedure will take place. Orthognathic surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia, ensuring that you are comfortable and pain-free throughout the procedure. The surgeon will carefully make incisions inside the mouth to access the jawbone, and then reposition the jaw to the desired alignment. In some cases, bone grafts or facial implants may be used to enhance the aesthetics or provide additional support.

Following the surgery, a period of recovery and healing is necessary. This usually involves a stay in the hospital for a few days, where you will be closely monitored by the medical team. Pain medication and antibiotics may be prescribed to manage discomfort and prevent infection. Swelling and bruising are common after orthognathic surgery, but they will gradually subside over time.

Once you are discharged from the hospital, the recovery process continues at home. It is crucial to follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions carefully, which may include a modified diet, specific oral hygiene practices, and the use of cold compresses to reduce swelling. Regular follow-up appointments will be scheduled to monitor your progress and make any necessary adjustments.

The full recovery period after orthognathic surgery can vary from person to person, but most individuals can expect the initial swelling and discomfort to subside within a few weeks. However, it may take several months for the jaw to fully heal and for the final results to become apparent. During this time, it is crucial to be patient and diligent in following your surgeon’s instructions to ensure the best possible outcome.

Preparing for orthognathic surgery

Preparing for orthognathic surgery involves several important steps to ensure a successful and smooth procedure. From finding the right surgeon to making necessary lifestyle adjustments, adequate preparation is essential for optimal results.

The first step in preparing for orthognathic surgery is to find an experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeon who specializes in this type of procedure. Take the time to research and schedule consultations with different surgeons to find the one who best suits your needs and makes you feel comfortable. Ask for referrals, read reviews, and don’t hesitate to ask questions during the consultation to ensure you have all the information you need.

Once you have chosen a surgeon, the next step is to undergo a comprehensive evaluation to determine your candidacy for orthognathic surgery. This evaluation will involve a thorough examination of your jaw and facial structure, as well as a review of your medical history. Your surgeon may also request additional imaging and tests to gather more information about your condition.

During this evaluation, it is essential to be open and honest with your surgeon about your expectations, concerns, and any medical conditions or medications you are currently taking. This information will help your surgeon develop a personalized treatment plan and ensure that you are a suitable candidate for orthognathic surgery.

In addition to finding a surgeon and undergoing the evaluation, there are a few lifestyle adjustments you may need to make in preparation for orthognathic surgery. For example, if you smoke, it is strongly recommended that you quit smoking at least a few weeks before the procedure. Smoking can interfere with the healing process and increase the risk of complications.

It is also important to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly leading up to the surgery. Eating a well-balanced diet rich in nutrients will support your body’s healing process and help ensure optimal outcomes. Regular exercise can also help improve your overall health and fitness, which can contribute to a smoother recovery.

Lastly, make sure to arrange for a support system to assist you during the recovery period. Orthognathic surgery can temporarily impact your ability to perform daily tasks, so having someone who can help with meals, transportation, and other responsibilities can make the recovery process more manageable.

By taking the time to find the right surgeon, undergoing a thorough evaluation, making necessary lifestyle adjustments, and arranging for a support system, you will be well-prepared for orthognathic surgery and increase the chances of a successful outcome.

Types of orthognathic surgery procedures

Orthognathic surgery encompasses several different procedures, each designed to address specific jaw and facial abnormalities. The type of surgery recommended will depend on the specific issues you are facing and the desired outcome. Let’s explore some of the most common types of orthognathic surgery procedures.

1. Maxillary Osteotomy: A maxillary osteotomy is a surgical procedure that involves repositioning the upper jaw. It is typically performed to correct an overbite or underbite, as well as to address facial asymmetry. During the procedure, the surgeon makes incisions in the upper jaw and repositions it to achieve the desired alignment. This surgery can improve both the functional and aesthetic aspects of the jaw and facial structure.

2. Mandibular Osteotomy: A mandibular osteotomy is a surgical procedure performed on the lower jaw. It is commonly used to correct an overbite or underbite and improve the alignment and functionality of the jaw. During the procedure, the surgeon makes incisions in the lower jaw and repositions it to achieve the desired alignment. This surgery can improve facial aesthetics, enhance chewing capabilities, and alleviate related symptoms such as jaw pain and headaches.

3. Genioplasty: Genioplasty, also known as chin surgery, is a procedure performed to reshape and reposition the chin. It can be done as a standalone surgery or in conjunction with other orthognathic procedures to achieve optimal facial balance and harmony. Genioplasty can address a weak or prominent chin, improve facial symmetry, and enhance the overall appearance of the jawline.

4. Bimaxillary Surgery: Bimaxillary surgery involves repositioning both the upper and lower jaws simultaneously. It is typically performed to address severe malocclusions, facial asymmetry, and complex jaw deformities. Bimaxillary surgery can achieve significant improvements in both function and appearance, providing patients with a balanced and harmonious facial profile.

5. Segmental Osteotomy: Segmental osteotomy is a procedure used to reposition specific segments of the jawbone. It is often performed when the jaw abnormalities are localized to specific areas rather than affecting the entire jaw. By targeting and repositioning specific segments, segmental osteotomy can effectively correct asymmetry and achieve optimal jaw alignment.

These are just a few examples of the types of orthognathic surgery procedures available. The specific procedure recommended for you will depend on your unique jaw and facial structure, the severity of your condition, and your desired outcome. Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon will assess your situation and recommend the most appropriate procedure to address your specific needs.

Risks and complications of orthognathic surgery

Like any surgical procedure, orthognathic surgery carries some risks and potential complications. However, with proper planning, a skilled surgeon, and adherence to post-operative care instructions, the likelihood of experiencing significant complications is minimal. It is essential to be aware of the potential risks and complications associated with orthognathic surgery before making a decision.

One of the most common risks associated with orthognathic surgery is infection. The surgical incisions in the jawbone and soft tissues can become infected if proper oral hygiene is not maintained, or if there is a breakdown in the immune system’s ability to fight off infection. To mitigate this risk, it is crucial to follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding oral hygiene and take any prescribed antibiotics as directed.

Another possible complication is nerve damage. The nerves that control sensation and movement in the face and mouth are in close proximity to the jawbone, and during surgery, there is a small risk of damage to these nerves. This can result in temporary or permanent numbness or tingling in the face, lips, or tongue. While nerve damage is rare, it is important to discuss this risk with your surgeon and understand the potential implications.

Excessive bleeding during or after surgery is another potential risk. During orthognathic surgery, the surgeon will take steps to minimize bleeding, such as using specialized techniques and medications. However, in rare cases, excessive bleeding may occur, requiring additional intervention. If you experience significant bleeding, it is important to seek immediate medical attention.

Complications related to anesthesia can also occur during orthognathic surgery. The administration of general anesthesia carries inherent risks, including allergic reactions, respiratory problems, and adverse reactions to medications. Your anesthesiologist will thoroughly evaluate your medical history and perform pre-operative tests to minimize the risks associated with anesthesia.

It is also important to note that the recovery process after orthognathic surgery can involve some discomfort and potential complications. Swelling, bruising, and pain are common in the days and weeks following surgery, but they will gradually subside with time. In some cases, the jaw may not heal as expected, resulting in delayed healing or malocclusion. If you experience any concerning symptoms or complications during your recovery, it is important to contact your surgeon promptly.

While the risks and complications associated with orthognathic surgery should be taken seriously, it is crucial to remember that these procedures are performed by highly skilled surgeons with extensive training and experience. By carefully following your surgeon’s instructions and attending all follow-up appointments, you can minimize the risk of complications and increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.

Recovery and post-operative care

The recovery period after orthognathic surgery is a critical phase that requires diligent care and attention. Proper post-operative care is essential for optimal healing, minimizing discomfort, and achieving the desired results. Here are some key considerations for a smooth and successful recovery.

The recovery process after orthognathic surgery is crucial for ensuring optimal results. Here are some important points to keep in mind:

1. Hospital Stay: You can expect to spend a night or two in the hospital following the surgery to ensure proper monitoring and pain management. During this time, your healthcare team will provide instructions on post-operative care.

2. Dietary Restrictions: In the initial stages of recovery, you may need to follow a liquid or soft food diet to allow your jaw to heal. Your surgeon will provide specific dietary guidelines to follow during this period.

3. Pain Management: Your surgeon will prescribe pain medications to help manage any discomfort during the recovery period. It’s important to take these medications as directed and communicate any concerns to your healthcare team.

4. Oral Hygiene: Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial during the recovery process to prevent infection. Your surgeon will provide instructions on how to clean your mouth and any additional steps to take.

During the recovery period, it’s important to follow your surgeon’s instructions diligently. This may include attending follow-up appointments, practicing jaw exercises, and avoiding certain activities that could interfere with the healing process. Remember, each individual’s recovery time may vary, so be patient and allow your body to heal at its own pace.

Managing pain and swelling

Pain and swelling are common after orthognathic surgery, but there are several strategies to help manage these symptoms. Your surgeon will likely prescribe pain medication to alleviate discomfort during the initial stages of recovery. Take the medication as directed, and if the pain becomes severe or does not subside, contact your surgeon for further guidance.

To reduce swelling, apply cold compresses to your face in the first 48 hours after surgery. This can help constrict blood vessels and minimize swelling. Be sure to follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding the duration and frequency of cold compress application.

Follow a modified diet

Following orthognathic surgery, your jaw may be temporarily immobilized or restricted in its movement. This means that you will need to modify your diet to ensure proper nutrition while avoiding foods that could disrupt the healing process. Your surgeon will provide you with specific dietary guidelines based on your individual case, but some general recommendations include:

– Stick to soft or liquid foods that do not require excessive chewing.

– Avoid hard, sticky, or crunchy foods that could dislodge your jaw or cause discomfort.

– Incorporate nutrient-rich foods, such as protein shakes, smoothies, soups, and pureed fruits and vegetables.

– Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, but avoid using straws, as the suction could interfere with the healing process.

Following the recommended dietary guidelines is crucial to support

Results and long-term effects of orthognathic surgery

Orthognathic surgery offers a wide range of benefits that go beyond just improving the aesthetics of your smile. Let’s take a closer look at some of the advantages:

1. Improved Bite and Chewing Function: Orthognathic surgery can correct misalignments in the jaw and improve the way your upper and lower teeth fit together. This can significantly enhance your bite and chewing function, making it easier to enjoy a wide variety of foods.

2. Enhanced Speech: Jaw misalignments can sometimes affect speech, causing difficulties with pronunciation and clarity. By correcting these issues through orthognathic surgery, you can achieve clearer and more confident speech.

3. Alleviation of Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders: TMJ disorders can cause jaw pain, headaches, and difficulty opening and closing the mouth. Orthognathic surgery can help realign the joint and alleviate these symptoms, providing long-term relief.

Despite the numerous benefits, it’s important to understand that orthognathic surgery also carries certain risks. These may include:

1. Pain and Discomfort: As with any surgical procedure, some pain and discomfort can be expected during the recovery period. However, medications and proper post-operative care can help manage these symptoms.

2. Swelling and Bruising: Swelling and bruising are common side effects of orthognathic surgery. These will gradually subside over time, but it’s important to follow your surgeon’s instructions to minimize their impact.

3. Infection: While rare, there is a small risk of infection following orthognathic surgery. Your surgeon will prescribe antibiotics to minimize this risk, and proper oral hygiene will be essential during the recovery process.

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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.

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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