Movie producer Samuel Goldwyn once said if he had two years he could turn an actress into an overnight success. Likewise, an oral surgeon can create dramatic results through corrective jaw surgery—including correcting an open bite, protruding lower jaw or “weak chin.” However, the treatment is no overnight success—it may span several years, often including orthodontics before and after surgery. Here’s what you can expect before and after corrective jaw surgery:
Before Corrective Jaw Surgery:
• Your oral surgeon will review your medical history and perform a thorough examination, which may include facial measurements, photographs, X-rays, dental impressions and a bite recording.
• An orthodontist may place braces on your teeth to move them into a new position that will fit together after surgery. Don’t be alarmed if you think your bite is getting worse, at this stage, instead of better.
• Once your teeth are in the new position, your orthodontist will likely update your records, including X-rays and models of your teeth, to help guide your surgery.
After Corrective Jaw Surgery:
• You will be placed on a modified diet, which may include solids and liquids, as well as a schedule for transitioning to a normal diet.
• Patients typically return to work or school one to three weeks after surgery, depending on how they are feeling.
• Like most surgeries, the initial healing phase is about six weeks, but complete healing of the jaws takes between nine and 12 months.
Corrective jaw surgery can be a viable solution for a variety of dental and skeletal irregularities from both an appearance and functionality standpoint. This surgery can improve the ability to chew or swallow, alleviate jaw joint (TMJ) pain, as well as help with mouth breathing and sleep apnea. Whether you’re looking to correct a physical feature or functional problem, corrective jaw surgery may be the right treatment option for you.