What is orthognathic surgery?
Orthognathic surgery, or jaw straightening surgery, involves a spectrum of surgical procedures on the upper jaw, lower jaw and chin, to improve both form and function
Orthognathic surgery may be undertaken to improve how the teeth fit together, to normalize or optimize facial proportions and/or to treat obstructive sleep apnea.
Whether you want to improve your appearance or are experiencing functional problems, orthognathic surgery can be a life-changing procedure.
Oral surgery is available at Paramount Dental Care & Specialty in Long Beach and the surrounding area. For many patients, oral surgery is the solution they need after other dental treatments have failed. Call us today at (562) 450-1261 to learn more and schedule an appointment.
What orthognathic surgery can treat
- Bite discrepancies, including overbite, underbite, crossbite and/or open bite.
- Facial imbalances such as asymmetry, upper and/or lower jaw under-development, lower jaw excess or chin deficiencies.
- Obstructive sleep apnea
Who is a good candidate for orthognathic surgery?
Good candidates for orthognathic surgery include:
- Those who have a bite discrepancy
- Those looking to improve facial disproportion
- Those who have spent years in orthodontics to correct a skeletal problem
- Individuals with a positive outlook and realistic goals
Orthognathic surgery is not the only modality to correct bite discrepancies, facial imbalances or obstructive sleep apnea, and other less invasive procedures may be appropriate. Your plastic surgeon will evaluate your facial anatomy thoroughly and will discuss what procedures might best remedy your concerns.
“Because the field may address both aesthetic and functional areas of these regions, there are many different types of oral and maxillofacial surgeries.”
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Reasons for Oral Surgery
Oral surgery may help with several conditions. Some of the most common include:
- Tooth Loss. Losing natural teeth can erode the jawbone over time, making deterioration an inevitability. Dental implants can prevent this from happening by anchoring the false teeth to the jawbone and stabilizing them.
- Impacted Teeth. Teeth are "impacted" when they become trapped between the jawbone and the gum tissue. Usually, this happens because the tooth has not emerged in proper alignment or entirely through the gumline. Generally, dentists will recommend patients have these removed.
- Orthodontics. Oral surgery is sometimes necessary when braces are not enough to correct malocclusion (a misaligned bite). In such cases, a dental professional works with a surgeon to build a personalized treatment plan for the patient's orthognathic surgery (corrective jaw surgery).
It is important to remember that the above list is not exhaustive. Patients should consult with a professional to ensure which treatment option is right for them.
“Oral surgery may help with several conditions.”
Preparing for Oral Surgery
Oral surgery can be a complicated process. Taking a few easy steps can help simplify the process. Patients should maintain open and honest channels of communication with their dental professional at all times. There is no shame in asking questions. Being informed about what is going to happen and why can do a great deal to assuage any fears.
Those who will undergo sedation should not eat or drink anything, including water, after midnight the evening before surgery. Fasting prevents the chances of aspiration, a rare complication of anesthesia in which the lungs fill with the contents of the stomach. However, a small sip of water to take medication during the fast is permissible.
“There is no shame in asking questions. Being informed about what is going to happen and why can do a great deal to assuage any fears.”
What to Expect from Oral Surgery
Many patients find it benefits them to arrive at least 20 minutes early on the day of the surgery, allowing them to complete any paperwork and relax. Additionally, patients with removable dental devices should come with a container to store them in during surgery.
Patients who will be undergoing sedation should arrive wearing loose, short-sleeved clothing to assist staff in taking vital signs and administering the IV. It may also be necessary for nurses to put blood pressure cuffs on the patient to monitor them during the procedure.
“Many patients find it benefits them to arrive at least 20 minutes early on the day of the surgery, allowing them to complete any paperwork and relax.”
Recovering from Oral Surgery
Patients should plan to spend the day resting after oral surgery. The drowsiness of the sedative will likely last all day, making it important for patients to avoid doing anything that requires concentration. Patients should also refrain from straining to avoid dislodging any blood clots and causing bleeding. They should also keep their heads elevated whenever they are lying down.
Above all, it is crucial to follow the dentist's instructions for your individualized treatment plan. If you contract a fever, develop pus, or notice your swelling and bruising getting worse after three days, call our office right away.
“Patients should plan to spend the rest of the day resting after oral surgery.”
Questions Answered on This Page
Q. How should I prepare for oral surgery?
Q. What will happen on the day of my oral surgery?
Q. How can I speed up my recovery from oral surgery?
People Also Ask
Q. Do I need a tooth extraction?
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How long will my face swelling last after oral surgery?
A. Facial swelling is likely in the first 24 hours following oral surgery. Typically, this lasts for five to seven days, with varying degrees of intensity. Once the swelling has subsided, you will probably notice some bruising. This should fade considerably by the 10-day mark.
Q. When can I return to my normal diet after oral surgery?
A. Most patients can return to their regular diet about a week after oral surgery. This is a gradual change, and you should avoid any spicy or acidic foods until then. You will need to stick to liquids and soft foods for the first two days following surgery. You can start incorporating low-chew foods on day three.
Q. What causes a "dry socket" after oral surgery?
A. "Dry sockets," or alveolar osteitis, are blood clots that appear in extraction sites and break down prematurely. These usually result from overexertion, smoking, and poor oral hygiene during the postoperative period. Sometimes, they happen without a clear cause. Symptoms include bad breath, foul odor and taste, and increased pain. If you suspect you have developed a "dry socket," contact our office immediately.
Q. Is oral surgery painful?
A. Patients are under anesthesia during oral surgery, meaning you will not feel any pain during the procedure. However, you will likely feel some pain and discomfort after surgery once the anesthetic has worn off. Our team can give you recommendations or prescribe appropriate medication to help manage this pain.
Q. Can I drive myself to and from my oral surgery?
A. No. Patients should make plans for someone they trust to drive them to and from the procedure. Anesthetics and sedatives can negatively affect one's ability to drive, making it dangerous to be on the road.
Quality Dental Services Can Transform Your Smile
By visiting us as soon as possible, our team can help get you the professional treatment you need. Instead of waiting around and allowing the symptoms to get worse, we can provide you with treatment options.
Orthognathic Surgery Terminology
- Crown Lengthening
- Crown lengthening is the procedure in which a professional removes an overgrowth of gum tissue from the teeth to make the teeth appear longer.
- Facial Trauma
- Facial trauma can occur when someone is hit in the face by a ball or accidental elbow, along with smashing the face into objects such as a wall or steering wheel.
- Impacted Wisdom Teeth Extraction
- Removing an impacted wisdom tooth is crucial for the patient’s health and well-being since an impacted wisdom tooth will continue to grow in a crooked direction, causing pain. This surgery involves
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which the individual has difficulty breathing during sleep and experiences a variety of symptoms due to it, including loud snoring.
- Reconstructive Surgery
- Reconstructive surgery involves multiple procedures to rebuild or correct the structure of the mouth, teeth and jaw.
- Rubber Dam
- A rubber dam is a dental tool that separates the individual tooth from the rest of the mouth during the surgery to prevent anything from spilling into the mouth.
- Unequal Jaw Growth Surgery
- Unequal jaw growth surgery will involve moving all or part of the upper/lower jaw to a more-balanced position that promotes health and better functionality.
Learn More Today
Sometimes, only oral surgery can adequately address your dental issues. We at Paramount Dental Care & Specialty may be able to help. Call us today at 562-450-1261
Helpful Related Links
- American Dental Association (ADA). Glossary of Dental Terms. 2022
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