Orthognathic surgery, the technical term for jaw surgery, is a collection of corrective surgical procedures that manipulate and reposition the upper and lower jaw bones in order to correct dental and facial irregularities like an open bite, a “gummy” smile or concave facial appearance, a protruding or receding jaw or a deficient chin. In most cases, jaw surgery is a team effort and we perform it in collaboration with an orthodontic treatment plan. While orthodontics can shift the teeth into their ideal positions and fix a patient’s bite, jaw surgery is necessary when the actual bone structure is preventing proper alignment. Dr. Jung’s experience in both maxillofacial and cosmetic surgery ensure not only an improvement in function and alignment, but also results that take aesthetics into account and look amazing. Book a consultation in our cosmetic surgery center today.
of Jaw Surgery
Aligns jaws and teeth for proper chewing and speaking
Improves facial appearance and smile
Enhances long-term oral health
Jaw surgery is performed under general anesthesia in a hospital setting and typically takes between one to four hours. Dr. Jung practices CT-guided surgery for unparalleled precision and accuracy though the actual technique varies depending on what we’re correcting. Some of the common conditions Dr. Jung addresses with jaw surgery include:
- Open Bite: Patients with an open bite have a space between their top and bottom teeth due to an abnormally shaped maxilla, or upper jaw bone, that causes the upper teeth to angle forward and out instead of down to meet the lower teeth. To decrease the angle and align the bite, Dr. Jung removes a wedge of the upper jawbone above the top teeth and then repositions the jaw before securing it in place with plates and screws.
- “Gummy” Smile or Concave Facial Appearance: The presence of too much gum tissue when smiling or an inverted oro-facial cavity is usually due to a recessed upper jawbone. To decrease the amount of visible gum or adjust the overall profile of the face, the upper jaw is separated from the cheekbone and extended forward. Once in position, plates and screws are used to hold it in place.
- Protruding Lower Jaw: When the mandible, or lower jaw, is in the wrong position and extends too far beyond the correctly positioned upper jawbone, an underbite occurs. To correct this, Dr. Jung separates the rear portion of the lower jaw from the front portion by cutting down the bone just under the back molars. He removes or modifies a piece of the bone to achieve proper alignment and once repositioned, secures it in place with plates and screws.
- Receding Lower Jaw: Patients will have an overbite if the lower jaw doesn’t extend far enough to align with the upper jawbone. To fix the bite, Dr. Jung divides the lower jawbone by making incisions in both sides of the bone under the back molars. The front portion of the jaw is extended forward and then held in place with plates and screws.
- Deficient Chin: A deficient chin, often accompanied by a recessed lower jaw, is simply due to small bone structure. Remedying this condition isn’t usually medically necessary but we can create a more prominent jaw line and chin in conjunction with a procedure to correct a receding lower jaw. To enhance the chin bone, the front section of the lower jaw is repositioned and, you guessed it, secured in place with plates and screws.
Pre + Post
In many instances, a patient will kick-off the process months before the actual procedure with orthodontic treatment. They’ll wear braces to straighten their teeth prior to jaw surgery. Dr. Jung will provide you with pre-surgical instructions including how long to refrain from eating and drinking.
Patients will stay in the hospital for one to three days after surgery and will want to be sure to follow Dr. Jung’s post-op directions carefully to ensure success and prevent any complications. Weekly appointments are necessary for up to two months after the procedure. Most people will be able to return to work or school in two to four weeks. It may require a two month healing period before normal chewing and jaw activity can be resumed and it may take up to a year to regain full jaw function. The good news? Once swelling subsides, you’ll be able to see results.