Orthognathic Surgery

Also called corrective jaw surgery, orthognathic surgery is the realignment of the jaw to correct problems with breathing, chewing, biting, or aesthetic issues with the facial structure. At Bellflower Oral Facial Surgery, you’re in good hands for your orthognathic surgery. Dr. Adamous or Dr. Sonnichsen, a diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, has performed countless orthognathic procedures that have restored confidence and full jaw function to many patients.

Orthognathic Surgery Presentation

To provide you with a better understanding of orthognathic surgery, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to orthognathic surgery are discussed.

What does orthognathic surgery correct?

There are many problems that can stem from misalignment of the jaw, including:

  • Misalignment of the bite, and consequent difficulty in chewing food
  • Chronic pain in the TMJ joint (the jaw’s main hinge)
  • An open bite, when the patient is unable to close the gap between their upper and lower teeth
  • An asymmetrical facial structure
  • Receding or protruding jaw
  • Chronic mouth breathing
  • Sleep apnea

The jaw may be misaligned at birth, or knocked out of place due to facial injury. Whatever the case, orthognathic surgery can correct these problems. Though surgery is almost always targeted at functional problems, the patient’s appearance may be dramatically improved as a fortunate side effect.

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What is the orthognathic surgery procedure like?

Careful pre-planning is necessary, since orthognathic surgery can result in noticeable changes to the patient’s appearance. Advanced software can predict the results of the surgery and demonstrate the change in facial structure. A psychological assessment is usually administered to gauge the patient’s potential reaction to the surgery. Orthognathic procedures usually involve the use of orthodontics to keep the patient’s teeth straight before and after the procedure. Braces are usually installed before the operation, and retainers are required after braces are removed.

During the procedure, which is performed under general anesthesia, your oral and maxillofacial surgeon may operate on one or both of your jaw points. The bones are cut, realigned, and held in their new position with screws or plates. The surgeon will provide you with detailed instructions for post-operative care. Healing time for the procedure ranges from six to twelve weeks, though factoring in the time wearing braces and retainers, the entire process may take several years. At first, you may be asked to follow an all-liquid diet. Your jaw and teeth will be very sensitive, and chewing should be introduced slowly. Start with soft foods and gradually work your way up to harder foods. Your doctor will prescribe pain medication if needed, and you will return for follow-up visits to see how the healing process is progressing.

A patient getting a panoramic x-ray of her jaw

What to Expect

  • Corrective jaw surgery at Bellflower Oral Facial Surgery & Dental Implant Center requires much preparation.
  • The surgery itself is performed in a hospital setting, lasting between one to four hours.
  • A hospital stay of 1-3 days is normal.
  • Braces are maintained during surgery, but may require removal 6-12 months after surgery.
  • Make sure to budget your time. Patients typically require two weeks – one month recovery.

Orthognathic surgery is a long, involved process, but the results are well worth it. You will be left with a perfectly aligned jaw that allows for proper speaking, chewing, and breathing, and your face will have a more symmetrical, well-balanced look. Call Bellflower Oral Facial Surgery for a consultation, and learn how orthognathic surgery can dramatically improve your quality of life.