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Reconstructive surgery of the upper and lower jaw bones may be indicated in cases of facial asymmetry or facial imbalance.
Often patients with skeletal facial abnormalities have dental abnormalities as well, including "malocclusions" or a bad bite. Facial asymmetry can be caused by trauma. Maxillofacial abnormalities are often associated with snoring/sleep apnea, and other upper airway obstruction conditions.
Although facial asymmetry which involves the jaws may be most obvious cosmetically, there is often a functional component which can result in difficulty chewing, biting and swallowing. This can lead to other complications, such as premature loss of teeth, improper chewing of food, resulting in choking, gagging, gastrointestinal upset (GI), and TMJ disorders.
This surgery requires hospitalization. Generally, orthognathic surgery requires surgical repositioning of the upper jaw, lower jaw, or both. Because this involves the teeth, bite and dentition, a team approach is usually used between our office and an orthodontist knowledgeable in surgical cases.
The procedure generally includes wiring the upper and lower jaws together for a period of six to eight weeks. Screws or mini bone plates are frequently used to hold the jaws in their new position for proper healing. The goals are: to restore proper bite between the upper and lower teeth, obtain proper midline in the frontal view, create proper balance of the face from the side or lateral view, and establish balance between the nose, upper jaw, lower jaw, and chin.
After the initial healing has occurred, fine tuning of any dental positioning is completed by the orthodontist.