Oral and maxillofacial surgery, also known as orthognathic surgery, is the treatment choice that can correct a wide spectrum of diseases, bad bites, jaw bone abnormalities, malocclusions, injuries, and defects in the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region.
This is one of the nine recognized dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. If you need surgical orthodontics, your orthodontist will work with an oral surgeon in Lafayette, LA, to ensure that you receive the best care possible. This level of care can have a dramatic and positive effect on your outlook on life, improving your bite and function, appearance, or speech.
WHEN MIGHT YOU NEED SURGICAL ORTHODONTICS?
Lafayette Surgical orthodontics can help adults with improper bites or other aesthetic concerns. The need for surgical orthodontics occurs when the jaws do not line up correctly, and the patient cannot achieve proper biting motion and function with orthodontic treatment alone.
In some cases, your upper and lower jaws may have grown at different rates. Injuries and birth defects may also affect jaw alignment. Lafayette Orthognathic surgery will help properly align the jaw, and orthodontic braces will then continue to move the teeth into their proper position.
If you suffer from any of the following conditions, you may be an excellent candidate for corrective jaw surgery in Lafayette:
- Difficulty chewing, biting food, or swallowing
- Chronic jaw or jaw joint (TMJ) pain and headache
- Excessive wear of the teeth
- Open bite (space between the upper and lower teeth when the mouth is closed)
- Unbalanced facial appearance from the front or side
- Facial injury or birth defects
- Receding chin
- Protruding jaw
- Inability to make the lips meet without straining
- Chronic mouth breathing and dry mouth
- Sleep apnea (breathing problems when sleeping, including snoring)
Wisdom teeth are the last set of teeth to develop. Sometimes they emerge from the gum line, and the jaw is large enough to allow room for them, but more often than not, they fail to emerge and become impacted. When a wisdom tooth is impacted, it may require extraction.
Impacted wisdom teeth that are partially or fully erupted tend to be quite difficult to clean and are susceptible to tooth decay, recurring infections, and even gum disease. The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons strongly recommends that wisdom teeth be removed by a qualified specialist to prevent future problems and ensure optimal healing.
Cleft lip and cleft palate result when all or portions of the mouth and nasal cavity do not grow together properly during fetal development. The result is a gap in the lip or a split in the opening in the roof of the mouth. Until the patient undergoes a surgical intervention, a cleft palate can cause problems with feeding, speech, and hearing. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons work as part of a team of dental healthcare specialists to correct these problems through a series of treatments and surgical procedures over many years.
Maxillofacial injuries or facial trauma encompass any injury to the mouth, face, and jaw. One of the most common types of serious injury to the face occurs when bones are broken. Fractures can involve the lower jaw, upper jaw, palate, cheekbones, eye sockets, or combinations of these bones. These injuries can affect sight and the ability to breathe, speak, and swallow. Because of this, the expertise of the oral and maxillofacial surgeon is indispensable.
Avoiding injury is always best, so it is extremely important to use seat belts, protective mouthguards, and appropriate masks and helmets for everyone who participates in athletic pursuits at any level.
TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT DISORDER (TMD)
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a small joint in front of the ear where the skull and lower jaw meet, allowing the lower jaw to move and function. If you experience jaw pain, earaches, headaches, a limited ability to open or close your mouth, and clicking or grating sounds, you may have Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD).
TMJ treatment may range from conservative dental and medical care to complex surgery. If non-surgical treatment is unsuccessful or if there is clear joint damage, surgery may be indicated, which can involve either arthroscopy or repair of damaged tissue by a direct surgical approach.
Lafayette Oral and maxillofacial surgeons recommend that everyone perform an oral cancer self-exam each month. If you notice white or red patches, an abnormal lump, chronic sore throat, hoarseness, or difficulty chewing or swallowing, you should contact your oral and maxillofacial surgeon. They will remove a section of tissue to perform a biopsy and accurately diagnose the problem.
Dental implants are long-term replacements for missing teeth that your oral and maxillofacial surgeon surgically places in the jawbone. Composed of titanium metal that fuses with the jawbone through a process called osseointegration, dental implants never slip and never decay. Because dental implants fuse with the jawbone, bone loss is generally not a problem.
ORAL SURGEONS: CHANGING LIVES WITH A SMILE
Can an orthodontist remove wisdom teeth or perform oral surgery? Oral and maxillofacial surgeons in Lafayette are the only recognized dental specialists who, after completing dental school, are surgically trained in an American Dental Association-accredited hospital-based residency program for a minimum of four years.
They train alongside medical residents in internal medicine, general surgery, and anesthesiology, and also spend time in otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat), plastic surgery, emergency medicine, and other specialty areas. Their training focuses almost exclusively on the hard and soft tissue of the face, mouth, and jaws, and their knowledge and surgical expertise uniquely qualify them to diagnose and treat the functional and aesthetic conditions in this part of the body.
HOW DOES ORTHOGNATHIC SURGERY WORK?
An oral and maxillofacial surgeon will perform your orthognathic surgery, and the surgery will take place in a hospital. Orthognathic surgery can take several hours, depending on each case.
Once the surgery is complete, you will have about a two-week rest period. Since orthognathic surgery is a major treatment, we recommend that you schedule some time away from work and school during the healing process. After your jaw has healed, your orthodontist will once again “fine-tune” your bite.
After surgery, you will have to wear braces, and most braces are removed within six to 12 months following surgery. After your braces are removed, you will wear a retainer to help maintain your new smile.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH ORTHOGNATHIC SURGERY?
As with any major medical surgery, orthognathic surgery may have certain risks. However, the process of orthognathic surgery is not new, and it has been performed for many years in practices and hospitals. If you’re concerned about an upcoming treatment with orthognathic surgery, please contact our practice and let us know. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have and provide you with any additional information. Your comfort is important to us.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons have the ability to provide patients with safe, effective outpatient anesthesia, including local anesthesia, nitrous oxide, IV sedation, and general anesthesia. During their surgical residency, residents must complete a rotation on the medical anesthesiology service, where they become competent in evaluating patients for anesthesia, delivering the anesthetic, and monitoring post-anesthetic patients.
WHAT ARE THE REWARDS OF HAVING ORTHOGNATHIC SURGERY?
For many patients, the most important reward of having orthognathic surgery is achieving a beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime. Whether you need orthodontic treatment in Lafayette to correct a bad bite, malocclusion, or jaw abnormality, orthognathic surgery can help restore your confidence and leave you smiling with confidence for many years to come.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Corrective jaw surgery is an invasive procedure we can use to correct any irregularities in your jaw bones and realign your dental structures to improve function, dental health, and facial appearance when orthodontics alone cannot fix your problems.
If your orthodontist determines your dental alignment or facial structure problems cannot be fixed with orthodontics alone, you will need the help of an additional specialist to perform jaw surgery on you. You’ll still have to undergo some type of orthodontic work at some point.
First of all, you’ll have to receive some type of anesthetic to avoid any sensation of pain. Most cases of jaw surgery are simple, but your specialists will tell you what to expect for your case.
Yes. Most cases of a bad bite won’t require invasive surgery. Instead, you can consult with an orthodontist and have an orthodontic appliance gradually and safely realign your teeth and jaws. Make sure you consult with an orthodontist about what appliance works best for your case.
As much as we’ve described it as an invasive procedure, jaw surgery is not a painful treatment. We make sure you receive a sedative that keeps you from feeling any pain during the procedure. Please be mindful of the recovery process to get better and manage any discomfort that follows.
It’s probable you’ll have to continue wearing an orthodontic appliance and realign your teeth. Make sure you listen to your specialist’s instructions regarding the recovery process.