What is Double Jaw Surgery?
Double jaw surgery, which is also called as “orthognathic surgery,” includes surgical replacement of the teeth-jaw bones and other soft-stiff tissues to their ideal anatomic locations. Although these procedures do not include any aesthetic cause, they cause various facial alignments. These alignments are modified in order to fit each patient, and the patient gets a more aesthetic appearance after the jaw alignment surgery.
Surgery is considered when orthodontic treatment methods fail to treat jaw-bite (occlusion) disorders. Surgery can also accompany the orthodontic treatment methods to get better long-term treatment results. After the jaw alignment, the orthodontist can adjust the occlusion for the best biting function. In some conditions, jaw surgery can accompany treatment methods other than the orthodontics.
When is Jaw Surgery Performed and Which Treatment Methods are Used?
- In cases when orthodontics fail to achieve treatment.
- For achieving better functional results (correction of the occlusion, enable patients to be able to chew better and eat certain food which they were unable to eat before).
- To achieve better and permanent long term orthodontic treatment outcomes.
- To shorten the treatment period (adjusting the jaw into a better anatomic position can reduce the orthodontic treatment duration).
- For changing the facial appearance (repositioning the jaw usually enables a better facial appearance).
- In order to enable better quality breathing. Jaw surgeries usually allow better quality breathing, which helps the sleep apnea (a condition that causes breathing to stop repeatedly during sleep).
- For better speaking function (Surgery combined with speech therapy might be required for treating speech disorders. Cleft palate can negatively affect the speaking function).
- For jaw pain relief (Although in many patients, jaw pain decrease, surgery does not provide any guarantee for decrease/treatment for pain).
Double Jaw Surgery Frequently Asked Questions
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A few weeks before the double jaw surgery, the following procedures are performed:
- Orthodontist places wires and hooks. Small hooks or wire hoops enable teeth to cling to the right position and the attachment of elastic bands in the postoperative period.
- New photographs, models, X-rays and video records are completed a few days/weeks before the surgery which will help to identify the details of the treatment.
- Before the surgery, final details are determined and discussed with the patient; any remaining questions are answered. The final physical examination is completed.
- In order to prevent the facial and intraoral swelling, positioning the head up with 2-3 pillows during sleep might be required. Patients are usually discharged within 1-2 days. The length of this period varies depending on patient-related factors such as the well-being of the patient, the intensity of edema and swelling.
- Supportive wires or plastic splints (plastic or plaster tool which is used for fixing the fractured bone ends, joint luxation or deformed body parts, brace) are applied to teeth after the double jaw surgery. These splints keep the jaw and teeth immobile to enable the recovery as well as allowing the right placement of the jaw and protect the surgical site. The need for splints varies depending on individual factors.
- Mouth hygiene is essential because it accelerates recovery. After each meal patient should rinse the mouth with plenty of water and use the medical mouthwash solution which will be prescribed by the surgeon. 3-5 days after the surgery patient can brush the teeth and the dental braces with a kid’s toothbrush. During teeth cleaning, gum and incision site brushing should be avoided.
- Dieting type is essential for the postoperative management of double jaw surgery. The full liquid diet should be enforced for 7-10 days and a soft mechanical diet for up to 2-3 months. The plastic surgeon will fully inform the patient about the postoperative restrictions and rules. A soft mechanical diet that does not contain chewing is crucial for the recovery of the bone grafts. Overactivation of the graft region would elongate the healing process.
- Intraoral sutures which are used in the surgery are biodegradable. No special care other than oral hygiene is required. During the recovery period, which is spent at home, the patient should always have quick access to scissors and a wire cutter. In case of nausea and dyspnea, when wearing an intermaxillary fixation device, wires and elastic rubbers should immediately be cut.
- Postoperative swelling needs time to resolve. The patient might experience swelling even 2-3 months after the surgery and it is considered a normal.
- Swelling (edema)
- Postoperative pain
- Bleeding: since double jaw surgery is performed with intraoral incisions, postoperative intraoral or nasal bleeding can occur.
Consultant Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon Professor Yazar is available in his private practice based in Nisantasi, Istanbul for appointments to provide detailed and tailored information on the procedure.