There are several conditions for which orthodontic surgery may be your best option. Let’s explore what they are, and what you can expect if you decide to have an orthodontic surgery.
What Types of Orthodontic Surgeries Are There?
The proper alignment of your jaw is important for you to eat, speak, and breathe correctly. When there is a problem with the alignment of your TMJ (temporomandibular joint) and its functions, it can cause chronic pain, tingling in your arms/legs, and a clicking or popping jaw. An orthodontic surgery realigns your jaw by moving it to improve the way it fits together.
Also, you may need a tooth removed to make room for the realignment of your teeth. Tooth extraction is a common orthodontic surgery.
Who Makes a Good Candidate for Orthodontic Surgery?
You’re a good candidate for orthodontic surgery if:
- Your teeth alignment can not be achieved by using braces or other dental appliances; if the problem is beyond these methods, orthodontic surgery may be your best option
- Severe jaw misalignment
- You have an open bite (upper and lower teeth do not meet when you bite down)
- You have a malformed jaw (either too big or too small)
Recovery Process from Orthodontic Surgery
How long your recovery period will be after jaw surgery depends on the kind of surgery. Some people have lower jaw surgery only, and others only upper jaw surgery. Some individuals have both jaws operated on at the same time.
After the corrective jaw surgery procedure is done, your jaws will be wired or banded closed for a duration of time. This can be from two weeks to two months, depending on the extent of the operation.
Lower jaw surgery usually calls for the jaws to be immovable for about two weeks; upper or double jaw corrective surgery typically requires wiring/banding for approximately six to eight weeks, so that your bone can heal and become sufficiently sturdy for a soft diet.
During the time the jaws are wired/banded closed, you’ll be on a liquid diet that’s high in protein. Once the wiring or banding is removed, your jaw will be very tender and too fragile to chew regular food for about four to six weeks. A soft diet is needed during this time that consists of foods you don’t need to chew, such as rice, mashed potatoes, soups, and puddings. You can supplement your nutrition by liquifying vegetables and fruits.
Once you’re past the four to six week mark in your recovery after unwiring, you can gradually add foods that involve light chewing, such as cooked vegetables, boneless fish, and pasta.
If you chew and it hurts your jaw, stop. Pain means it’s too soon to be eating that certain food. You could need several months before you go back to your entire, regular diet, but you’ll get there. It’s important to have patience and heed the pain signals your body gives you to prevent any damage to your jaw while it’s healing.
Benefits of Orthodontic Surgery
People who undergo orthodontic surgery:
- Have restored jaw function: improved chewing, speaking and breathing
- Enjoy cosmetic improvements of a better facial appearance now that the jaw is properly aligned
- No longer have to deal with pain/headaches from aching TMJ
- Enjoy longer-lasting orthodontic results
- Have a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime
Dr. Doug Crosby is a leading provider of orthodontic surgery to the communities of Dallas and Richardson, Texas. He offers exceptional orthodontic care, bringing the latest techniques and technology to a comfortable environment. Schedule your orthodontic consultation by calling 972-680-9882 or fill out this form.