Orthognathic Surgery / Jaw Surgery
Orthognathic Surgery / Jaw Surgery
Orthognathic Surgery in Singapore
Orthognathic surgery, also known as corrective jaw surgery, is a surgical procedure to correct skeletal facial and jaw deformities. This surgery may be indicated when abnormal growth of the upper and lower jaws result in a mismatch and a deranged bite or malocclusion. This improper bite or malocclusion cannot be corrected by orthodontic therapy or braces alone. The presence of jaw and skeletal discrepancies can sometimes lead to problems such as difficulty eating or chewing, an inability to pronounce words properly, mouth breathing, and other psychosocial issues.
Planning a jaw surgery procedure involves a multidisciplinary collaborative effort between an orthodontist (dental specialist in braces) and an oral & maxillofacial surgeon (specialist in surgery of the head, face, neck and jaw).
When May Orthognathic Surgery Be Needed
If you experience any of the following, it might be worthwhile seeking a consultation with your orthodontist about your options which may include jaw surgery.
- Protruded or receded chin
- Open bite or crossbite
- Facial asymmetry
- Long or short lower jaw
- Overall elongation of the face
- Obstructive sleep apnoea
Orthognathic Surgery Treatment Process
- Initial consultation and treatment planning: Assessment is first done by an orthodontist and oral & maxillofacial surgeon to diagnose your bite and jaw condition and to determine if jaw surgery is a suitable and appropriate option for you. Diagnostic records such as x-rays and other imaging may be taken at this stage to facilitate planning.
- Pre-surgical preparation: Before the jaw surgery, an initial phase of braces may be required to correct the preliminary alignment of your teeth before you are ‘ready’ for surgery. A medical evaluation may be required to ensure you are fit and healthy for surgery.
- The jaw surgery: Corrective jaw surgery is performed by a qualified dental specialist oral maxillofacial surgeon under general anaesthesia. This is done as an inpatient procedure and requires hospital admission. Depending on the case complexity, the procedure takes 3 to 5 hours to complete. Jaw surgery is almost always done within the mouth. No external incisions are made so there will be no facial scarring.
- Post-surgical recovery: After the corrective jaw surgery procedure, a hospital stay of a few days is required. You will be given 4 to 6 weeks of medical leave. Post-operative care such as following a liquid or soft diet will be given.
- Post- surgery orthodontic treatment: After the jaws have been restored into normal functioning positions, braces will be used to ensure that your teeth align properly.
- Follow-up care: Following the completion of active treatment, it is important to attend reviews as indicated by your orthodontist and oral surgeon to monitor the aligned bite and to ensure its stability.
Risks Involved In Orthognathic Surgery
Jaw surgery is considered a generally safe and effective intervention to help correct severe jaw discrepancies. Understanding the potential consequences can aid you in making a better decision.
Some of the common potential risks associated with jaw surgery procedure include:
- Pain, bleeding, bruising and swelling: These are to be expected as part of the natural healing process following any surgical procedure. Medication will be prescribed post-procedure to help relieve any postoperative discomfort.
- Nerve injury: There is a risk of damage to any nerves close to the jaw surgery site. This may result in partial or complete numbness to the cheek, lips, chin and tongue. In most cases, any loss of sensation is temporary and the majority of cases recover full sensation within 6 months. However, a small number of cases may have permanent numbness. This is usually one-sided or partial if it occurs.
Where there are specific risks involved in your jaw surgery procedure, these will be communicated to you and the appropriate measures will be taken to reduce the potential for complications.
Frequently Asked Questions
The duration of a jaw surgery procedure varies depending on the complexity of the case, but it generally ranges from 3 to 5 hours.
Yes, orthodontic treatment with braces is required in addition to surgery to ensure proper alignment of the teeth after jaw correction. This will ensure that both your jaws and teeth align properly to optimise oral function, oral health, and aesthetics.
The recovery period varies, but most patients can expect to resume normal activities within a few weeks after the procedure. After your surgery, you will require a hospital stay of a few days. Medical leave of 4 to 6 weeks will be given. During these 6 weeks, contact sports should be avoided.
As with any surgery, there are potential risks, including infection, bleeding, nerve injury, and temporary facial swelling. Your surgeon will discuss these risks with you and take necessary precautions to minimise them.