Dr. Richard Dohrmann   Dr. Darrel Baker  Dr. Timothy Holton  Dr. Patrick Vezeau Dr. Clinton Norby
Oral Surgery Associates PC, Siouxland's Maxillofacial Specialists
Three Offices Serving the Tri-State Area of Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota
Orthognathic Surgery

What is Corrective Jaw Surgery?

Corrective jaw surgery (called Orthognathic Surgery,) corrects minor and major dental and skeletal abnormalities. Corrective jaw surgery includes the correction of misaligned upper and lower jaws and teeth, and often other structures such as the chin and cheek bones. The primary goal is to correct your function, improving speaking, chewing, and breathing. Often this procedure can also dramatically enhance your appearance.

What Conditions May Require Corrective Jaw Surgery?

•     Chronic jaw joint or jaw pain and headaches
•     Open bite (a space between your upper and lower teeth when your mouth is closed)
•     Birth defects or facial injury
•     Inability to make lips touch without strain
•     Difficulty biting and chewing food
•     Difficulty swallowing
•     Sleep apnea (unable to breathe properly while sleeping, including snoring)
•     Unbalanced facial appearance
•     Chronic dry mouth and mouth breathing
•     Excessive tooth wear
•     Protruding jaw
•     Receding chin

What Causes Jaw Misalignment?

Sometimes the upper and lower jaws grow at different rates. Birth defects and injuries can also cause jaw misalignment. Orthodontics can usually correct tooth position; however, corrective jaw surgery may be necessary to correct major jaw misalignment.

How Do I Know if I Need Corrective Jaw Surgery?

A treatment team approach involving you, your oral and maxillofacial surgeon, family or pediatric dentist, and orthodontist will determine whether you need corrective jaw surgery. We will determine which procedure will correct your problem. Your treatment will include orthodontics before and after corrective jaw surgery, which can take several years to finish. Together, you and your treatment team will determine the course that best suits your needs.

What is the Treatment Plan for Corrective Jaw Surgery?

Orthodontics:
Prior to surgery, you will need to wear braces that will move your teeth into a new position. Since your bite is being prepared so your teeth fit together after surgery, you may think that your teeth don’t fit together properly and your mouth is getting worse. However, when your jaw is repositioned, your teeth should fit well together. Closer to surgery, we will take additional x-rays and models of your teeth to ensure that your teeth will be properly aligned during surgery.

Corrective Jaw Surgery:
This procedure, often perfomed in the operating room under general anesthesia, can take anywhere from one to several hours to finish. However, you will be asleep and unaware of the surgery as it is done.

Your jaw will be repositioned to suit your specific needs. Bone may be added, reshaped, or taken away. Most often, microplates and microscrews are used to secure your jaws in their new position, eliminating you jaws being “wired shut.” Elastics are often used in support your jaws in the post-operative period. Incisions are made inside your mouth to reduce noticeable scarring. Some cases require very small incisions on the outside of the mouth, and are usually inconspicuous after surgery.

After Surgery:
You will be instructed to modify your diet, which could include liquids and solids, with a schedule for changing over to a normal diet. You should also avoid using tobacco products and engaging in strenuous physical activity after your surgery.

Discomfort after your corrective jaw surgery can be easily managed with medication and your oral and maxillofacial surgeon will inform you when you may return to work, school, and other activities. Initial healing takes about six weeks, at which time you will begin finishing orthodontic care.

What are the Benefits of Corrective Jaw Surgery?

By undergoing corrective jaw surgery, your teeth and jaws are in a more functional, balanced and healthy position. Often, patients experience significant enhancements to their appearance and speech. Oral Surgery Associates is dedicated to providing you the best in corrective jaw surgery care.