Orthognathic surgery refers to corrective jaw surgery. When your jaw doesn't function properly, you can struggle to eat, speak, and smile. You may even struggle to breathe and swallow comfortably when your jaw is misaligned. Corrective jaw surgery can correct jaw issues that affect your quality of life. What makes someone a good candidate for orthognathic surgery?
Your jaw has already stopped growing
If your jawbones have already stopped growing, you can go ahead with corrective jaw surgery. But remember, girls usually stop growing several years before boys. Be sure to check with your doctor if you think corrective jaw surgery may be right for you. Your doctor can tell if you have stopped growing by performing an X-ray to check bone growth.
Your jaw issues have a negative impact on your life
Many patients with misaligned jaws struggle with one or more conditions that make day-to-day life more difficult. A misaligned jaw can cause:
- Bruxism (nocturnal tooth grinding)
- Sleep apnea
- TMJ issues, such as headaches, clicking jaw, and jaw misalignment
- Mouth breathing
- Speech problems
These issues can affect your day-to-day life in a negative way, and may even leave you feeling tired and lacking self-esteem. Orthognathic surgery banishes or lessons these issues through jaw realignment.
You want to improve your appearance
If your jaws are not in correct alignment, your appearance may suffer as a result. For instance, one side of your face may be more prominent than the other side. Another common issue is that your upper jaw may jut out much further than your lower jaw.
The jaw consists of bones, cartilage, muscles, and ligaments. This is why orthodontics or braces often isn't enough to correct moderate to severe jaw problems. But jaw surgery can reposition your jaws and improve your jaw functionality and appearance at the same time.
You are willing to invest time
The initial jaw surgery takes several hours to complete. But the biggest time investment comes after the surgery, during the healing phase and the phase following the healing phase. Although your jaw may heal after about six weeks following your surgery, you will likely need orthodontic treatment afterward. Orthodontic treatment can take years to complete.
So if you have realistic expectations, and you are willing to invest months or years to improve your jaw functionality and facial appearance, orthognathic surgery is right for you.
If your jaw is misaligned and orthodontic treatment alone isn't enough to correct the issue, corrective jaw surgery may be right for you. Jaw surgery can improve your appearance and help you to speak, chew, smile, and even breathe comfortably.
Contact a local dentist to learn more about orthognathic surgery.