In the quest for perfect teeth it is sometimes not possible to correct teeth without first correcting the jaw through surgery. Improper jaw position can be a large factor in an overbite, underbite and misaligned teeth, which can ultimately lead to cracking and chipping of teeth. Surgical orthodontics, also known as orthognathic surgery, can help move the jaws to correct a wide range of facial and jaw problems which cause improper bite, difficulty with chewing and even breathing problems.
Just as orthodontic means â€œstraight teethâ€, orthognathic means â€œstraight jawâ€, and this type of corrective jaw surgery can also improve overall facial structure and enhance appearance. Your orthodontist will evaluate your specific case and design a treatment plan that will work best for your needs.
Initially, your orthodontist will assess your orthodontic needs to determine where your teeth will need to me repositioned in order to help jaws fit together properly after the jaw is repositioned. The pre-surgical period usually lasts approximately one to one and a half years; you will wear braces to make the necessary adjustments. At this time you may fear that your braces are shifting your teeth to the wrong position. However, your teeth will be moving into their future position for after the jaw has been relocated, and will align properly once the jaw is corrected. Also, you may require tooth removal in order to make room for shifting of the teeth.
The actual surgical portion after the one to one and a half years of orthodontic treatment may only take from one to three hours to complete. An oral maxillofacial surgeon and orthodontist will be present during the corrective jaw procedure, which will take place in a hospital setting under general anesthesia. If the lower jaw is the problem, the rear portion of the bone is separated and moved forward or backward as needed. For upper jaw surgery, the jaw is repositioned forward or backward, or may be raised or lowered.
Some jaw surgery may require separating the jaw into several parts, and can sometimes require the addition or removal of parts of the jaw bone. The incisions are made inside the mouth, and there are no external scars, and tiny plates and screws are used to fuse the bone together after movement. Typically, you will be required to spend one night in the hospital, but should be released the following day.
Maxillofacial Jaw Surgery Cost
The cost for surgical orthodontics like maxillofacial surgery and jaw restructuring can vary according to your surgical needs. The initial process incorporation braces and retainers may cost from $2000 to $5000, while orthognathic surgery can cost from $20,000 to $30,000. Unfortunately, few insurance companies consider this a procedure they will cover. If you have documented physical difficulties such as breathing consequential to your misaligned jaw, you may be able to receive coverage. Check what your insurance provider will cover and ask your orthodontist and orthognathic surgeon if they have payment plans available. You do also have the option of financing your cosmetic dentistry through financing from one of many financing companies.
After surgical orthodontics, patients should expect some pain, swelling and bruising which can be controlled by using ice packs and pain medications prescribed by your doctor. Most patients experience lower degrees of pain than expected, because the jaw bones and surrounding area will remain numb for up to two days. Expect the same degree of post-surgery pain as with wisdom teeth removal. Minor bleeding may occur, which is normal. You will be able to speak, eat and drink immediately because you will not have your jaws wired together.
Most patients will wear a compression bandage and possibly a splint, and jaws will be fitted with elastics to maintain the new bite relationship as bones heal. Your oral surgeon will recommend a blended diet for up to two weeks before graduating to soft foods like eggs, ground beef and pastas, until the sixth week when you should be able to eat normal foods. Most patients should be able to return to non-physical work within a week, and physical activity can be resumed in about two to three weeks.
Potential Risks Involved with Jaw Surgery
Aside from the typical risks associated with general anesthesia, there is little danger associated with corrective jaw surgery. However, the possible risks can include persistent numbness in the facial area as a result of nerve damage, but this is not a frequent complication. Some bleeding may occur, and poor oral hygiene may cause infection in the mouth. Be sure to go over these risks carefully with your surgeons. To minimize the risks of corrective jaw surgery, make sure to closely follow all recovery and oral care instructions.