Jaw Realignment and Orthognathics
Dr. Gillman has extensive experience of carrying out orthognathic surgeries and takes pride in producing consistently successful outcomes which are life changing for his patients.
What is Orthognathic Surgery?
Orthognathic surgery is a set of techniques to improve facial aesthetics as well as the position of the teeth and jaws. It may additionally be employed to improve certain airway problems such as in Obstructive Sleep Apnoea.
Cases of crooked or crowded teeth may usually be corrected with orthodontic braces alone. In contrast to this, patients occasionally present with a discrepancy between the size and/or position of the upper and lower jaw. In cases where this discrepancy is so large, it may lead to functional and aesthetic problems; the patient may have a receding lower jaw or chin or a protruding jaw and as a result they may suffer from chronic jaw joint (TMJ) pain, sleep apnoea or have trouble chewing, biting or swallowing. In such cases, corrective surgery may be required in order to realign the jaws and thereby allow the teeth to bite properly.
What Does Orthognathic Surgery Involve?
Orthognathic surgery uses a multi-disiplinary approach and begins with an comprehensive evaluation by the oral and maxillofacial surgeon and orthodontist including X-rays, models, photographs and face measurements. The data collected is analysed to find the best possible treatment plan for the individual patient.
The first step in treatment is usually orthodontic preparation (straightening of the teeth using braces), which is performed before the surgery in order to align the teeth over the upper and lower jaws. This phase can take 12-18 months. Following that, the surgery is planned using computerised 3D images and models. The surgery is carried out under general anaesthetic during which jaws are separated and repositioned in the predetermined positions (as planned prior to surgery). They are fixed into place using special plates and screws. Minor post-surgery orthodontic adjustments are required to ensure that the teeth are aligned correctly with the new position of the jaw.
What Should I Expect Before and After the Procedure?
Prior to the surgery in addition to orthodontic treatment which could last up to 18 months, it is important to frequently visit your regular dentist and dental hygienist to maintain oral health. After the operation you should expect to need regular pain medication for one to two weeks. The majority of facial swelling subsides within approximately three weeks but minor swelling can continue for a number of months. Additional orthodontic treatment may be required post-surgery.