Orthognathic Surgery: what is it?

Orthognathic surgery is defined as a series of surgical techniques aimed at varying the shape and disposition of the jaws to achieve a perfect relationship between them. This involves two fundamental facts; on the one hand to achieve an optimal relationship between the upper and lower teeth (Class I dental occlusion) and also to improve in a very important way the harmony of the face, which largely depends on the size and shape of both the upper jaw and the mandible.

For which cases is it indicated?

It is indicated for those cases in which there has been an alteration in the development of the jaws. These have not grown harmoniously. The teeth, which are anchored in them, do not have a correct relationship and there are facial alterations caused by the size and shape of the jaws. For example, excessively small jaws with a receding chin. Small and laterally compressed upper jaws or very large jaws that protrude excessively and the lower teeth are brought forward and do not coincide with the upper teeth (inverted bite).

When should we see a specialist?

Dentofacial alterations are inherent to the development of the person. In childhood there may be signs that something is not going well in facial and dental development. During this period, braces can be used to try to correct the problem, even if only partially. In the adult phase the best solution is orthognathic surgery that will solve in a single action the dental alteration and also facial aesthetics.

What is the procedure like?

Once the diagnosis has been made, the patient needs a first phase of preoperative orthodontic treatment. This is not a treatment per se, but only a preparation of the teeth for surgery. Before the operation, the teeth must be perfectly straight, centered in the bone, eliminating crowding and any other compensatory displacement that they have experienced during the years of malfunction. Logically, at the end of this preparation, the teeth will be aligned with the pieces next to them, but the upper teeth will not coincide with the lower ones, since this is a mission of the surgery.

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After this period of dental preparation we do a 3D CT scan and we study in detail the bone movements that each case requires to be perfectly solved. We even take photographs of what the patient will look like after surgery. In the operating room we make cuts in the upper jaws and jaws and move them to their optimal position. By means of a positioning splint we fix the jaws in their correct position using mini-plates and micro-screws. The whole procedure is performed inside the mouth, without external incisions.

What does the recovery consist of?

Patients are admitted to the hospital for only 1 or 2 days and then they are reviewed in the outpatient clinic. Phases are covered in terms of feeding, chewing, etc. Currently the postoperative period is very bearable and patients are able to return to their work and social life quickly.

For more information contact a specialist.