Maybe when you hear about maxillofacial surgery, you think of Hollywood stars who modify their jaws to change their shape. You are not too far from the point, but in this article, we will talk of oral surgery from a medical point of view.
Maybe you went to the dentist for your annual cleaning and dental examination and ended up with the recommendation of seeing an oral surgeon to fix some issue with your mandible. Or you went straight to investigate maxillofacial surgery because you noticed a problem with your jaw.
Regardless of the case, you need to know what orthognathic surgery implies, why you need it, and how it can help you. So let’s start with the health and oral implications of jaw symmetry.
When it comes to teeth and mandibles, good looks are a matter of health rather than appearance. And we say this because straight teeth and symmetrical jaws usually make your dental health and well-being a lot easier.
If you ever wore traditional braces or any orthodontic appliance, you have probably heard the term “malocclusion” Malocclusion occurs when your teeth do not occupy their correct position in your mouth, leading to general teeth misalignment.
And the name malocclusion responds to another dental term, occlusion. Occlusion refers to how your mandible and maxilla encounter to close your teeth and mouth. In case you didn’t know, the occlusion of our jaws interferes with how we speak, chew, bite, and do everything with our mouths.
What Is Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery?
Oral and maxillofacial surgery covers a wide spectrum of what an oral surgeon can fix. Maxillofacial surgery can even involve the extraction of impacted wisdom teeth in complex cases. Correcting deep underbites is usually a job for orthodontists, but some cases require surgical interventions.
Sometimes correction after an injury or trauma is the reason to do a surgical intervention that will put the bones and mouth’s tissues back in place.
For a maxillofacial surgery, your doctor may or may not need to cut a part of your bone to adjust its position. Of course, the patient would be completely sedated for the procedure, and they wouldn’t feel a thing.
There are different types of oral surgeons. And although the word “surgery” always sounds a little scary, the recovery process of oral surgery is one of the easiest there is.
When Is Jaw Surgery Indicated?
Jaw surgery can correct a lot of problems, as we said. Issues in the functioning of your jaws, malocclusions, correcting facial asymmetry, breathing problems, and more.
Since, after all, surgery is surgery, doctors try to exhaust every alternative treatment option there may be available for each particular case. You need orthognathic surgery when the issues in your jaw are too significant for orthodontics.
Some common procedures are:
- Maxillary osteotomy: Includes correction of growth and development problems, correction of crossbites and open bites, and prognathism.
- Mandibular osteotomy: Patients need this type of surgery when their lower jaw is protruding.
- Bimaxillary osteotomy: Mean surgery on both the mandible and maxillar.
- Genioplasty: This is chin surgery, and it aims to correct receding lower jaw or chin.
Temporomandibular Joint Surgery
This procedure deserves a whole section since it includes various types of corrective surgeries for the TMJ.
TMJ surgery can be invasive, so doctors try to perform it only when no other treatment can help. There are three kinds of TMJ surgery:
What Does an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Do?
An oral surgeon works to realign and adjust your jaws when they are not aligned correctly. They work alongside orthodontists, anesthesiologists, and dental assistants such as nurses.
Their faculties involve cutting and moving bones and teeth. The many nerves surrounding this area make this type of procedure a very detailed surgery.
Oral surgeons will always ask for your X-Rays and sometimes even 3D scans of the affected area.
How Is Orthognathic Surgery Performed?
This section might sound scary, but remember, patients, do not feel anything during the procedure because they are under general anesthesia.
Your surgeon will first locate every nerve in the zone to avoid contact (since you may lose sensibility and mobility in the area). Then they relocate, reshape, cut, or insert bone. When the procedure requires bone transplants, they get it from your ribs, legs, or hips.
The surgeon then might use bone plates, screws, or wires to hold everything in place. These parts become part of your jawbone over time.
What to Eat After Oral Surgery?
This is great concern patients have, “What can I eat?” and “Will I be able to eat?”
You might have difficulty opening your mouth; that’s why doctors recommend bland diets. Eating cold foods can help ease the pain and inflammation in your mouth.
Some options for the first days are:
- Could soups.
- Mashed vegetables.
Ask your doctor for more indications on how many days you should have rest and how many days you should follow the bland diet.
Corrective Jaw Surgery, Lafayette
Find the right surgeon for your corrective jaw surgery in Lafayette at Balhoff orthodontics.
Dr. Donald Balhoff is a top surgeon in L.A. He is part of several orthodontics institutions and organizations and has the best team of experts at his dental clinic.
Make an appointment to learn what are the best alternatives for your mandible problem.