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Orthognathic surgery treats
malocclusion ("poor bite") by restructuring the jaw
through cutting the bone and repositioning the bone segments.
Adults who have jaw-related malocclusion are sometimes offered a
choice between simple
orthodontic treatment and orthodontic treatment
combined with orthognathic surgery. Adults who have severe jaw problems may
need surgery to improve their looks and how the jaw works. Severe jaw problems
can include upper jaws that don't match with the lower jaws.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons or plastic surgeons perform this
surgery using general anesthesia. Recovery takes several weeks. While the bone
slowly heals, the jaw is held in place with wires or plates and screws.
The most common problem after this surgery is numbness of the upper
or lower lip (paresthesia). Other risks include infection, bleeding
(hemorrhage), swelling, muscle spasm, and
For most people, orthognathic surgery is elective, based on personal
choice. Because orthognathic surgery requires a long and difficult recovery
period, you should carefully weigh the benefits against the hardship and
expense of the surgery.
For those few people who also have serious functional problems, such
as problems with chewing or closing the mouth, orthognathic surgery may be a
January 11, 2011
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & William F. Hohlt, DDS - Orthodontics
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