Orthognathic surgery combines maxillofacial surgery or jaw surgery with orthodontics. The ideals of this type of surgery are to improve one’s bite and make chewing easier. The surgeries done are designed to correct misalignment of the jaw and make the jaw fit together properly. Facial imbalances such as an underbite, overbite or cleft palate can be corrected using orthognathic surgery. Orthodontics are used to correct malocclusions of the teeth and to improve gummy smiles, where large areas of gums are showing when a person smiles. TMJ disease can be corrected or prevented using orthognathic jaw surgery. Patients who have jaw problems that can’t be treated with orthodontics alone have orthognathic surgery to correct the jaw abnormality so the teeth work properly.
Surgery on the upper jaw is called a maxillary osteotomy https://www.mommymakeoversurgeon.com/ and surgery on the lower jaw is called a mandibular osteotomy. A patient can have one or both of these surgeries at the same time in order to correct the alignment of the upper and lower jaw and to improve the functionality of the upper and lower jaw. The surgery is generally done using incisions inside the mouth so that there is no external scarring visible.
The term “orthognathic surgery” was first coined by Dr. Harold Hargis, a Doctor of Dentistry. He was the first to consider cleft palate as part of orthognathic surgery. The surgery is used to treat dental problems that can’t be treated with orthodontic treatments alone. Bones are cut and re-aligned and then held in place as part of the surgery using screws, plates or screws.
The various indications for orthognathic surgery include the following:
Discrepancies between the upper and lower jaw alignment, which can be vertical, transverse or antero-posterior
Facial skeletal abnormalities that result in airway problems, sleep apnea or soft tissue problems
TMJ pathology that causes facial skeletal discrepancies.
Orthognathic surgery is done by an oral and maxillofacial surgery specialist or a craniofacial surgery specialist and is aided by an orthodontist who straightens and aligns the teeth. Braces are often placed before the surgery and after the surgery are complete. There are retainers used as well, often after the braces are completed and removed. Orthognathic surgery is also a part of repairing cleft lips and cleft palates. The orthodontist and the orthognathic surgeon work together to align the bite and teeth.