Corrective Oral Surgery

Corrective oral surgery (orthognathic surgery) moves teeth and jaws into a more balanced, functional and healthier position. Unequal growth of the jaws, birth defects or injury can create problems. Orthognathic means "straight jaws" and corrects a wide range of facial and jaw fractures and irregularities.

Its benefits include an improved ability to:

  • chew
  • breathe
  • speak
  • enhances appearance

When only the teeth are involved, orthodontics can correct many "bite" problems but it cannot reposition jaws. Corrective oral surgery is usually performed when needed in connection with orthodontics corrections. The orthodontist and oral surgeon work together in developing your specific treatment program. A complete evaluation of the patient's condition through X-rays, photographs, facial measurements and dental impressions help them determine the best course of therapy.

What Conditions May Indicate a Need for Corrective Oral Surgery?

  • Difficulty in chewing or swallowing
  • Speech problems
  • Chronic jaw pain
  • Excessive wearing of teeth
  • Facial injury or birth defects
  • Unbalanced facial appearance
  • Receding chin or protruding jaw
  • "Open bite" (a space remains between the upper and lower teeth when the mouth is closed)
  • Chronic mouth breathing with dry mouth
  • Sleep apnea (breathing problems when sleeping)

What Are Preparations for the Oral Surgery?

Your orthodontist and oral surgeon will work closely together in preparation for your complete treatment program. First, pre-surgical orthodontics will move your teeth into a new position to fit together better after surgery. This means you'll be wearing braces for 6 to 18 months prior to the surgery. Your teeth will be carefully evaluated during orthodontic visits. When your dental correction team determines that your teeth are properly positioned, the surgery will be scheduled.

Where Is the Oral Surgery Performed? How Long Does It Last?

The surgery is performed in either a hospital or outpatient surgical center under general anesthesia which "puts you to sleep" during the operation. The length of surgery will depend upon the amount and type of surgery needed.

What About Any Facial Surgical Scars?

Since most incisions are made inside the mouth, no external scars are usually visible. If incisions are needed externally, the surgeon carefully conceals them in natural skin creases.

What Happens After Oral Surgery?

After surgery, you will experience some discomfort that is usually not significant; the pain can be controlled with medications. Your healing will take some time. Normally you can return to work or school within two weeks.

After four to eight weeks following surgery, your orthodontics treatment will continue to complete the proper positioning of your teeth. Usually your braces are removed within 6 to 12 months after surgery.

Following the removal of your braces, schedule an appointment with your dentist for a check-up. You'll have plenty to celebrate with all the benefits gained as a result of the corrective oral surgery.

By Brian J. Gray, DDS, MAGD, FICO

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(703) 777-2442

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Leesburg Dental
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Dr. Jose Loza

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Leesburg Dental
602 S. King St. Suite 302
Leesburg, VA 20175
General Info: (703) 777-2442