A jaw that’s too small, too large, or crooked can cause problems with chewing, speaking, breathing, and even sleeping. The shape of your jaws also affects the way your face looks. Orthognathic surgery is treatment that reshapes the jaws to improve their form and function.
Some people are born with poorly aligned jaws. Others develop problems as the bones grow or as a result of an injury. Orthognathic surgery realigns facial bones, making jaws work together better. Surgery is only 1 part of the treatment process. In most cases, treatment to move and straighten the teeth (orthodontics) is needed before and after surgery. This combination of treatments can relieve problems caused by teeth and jaws that are out of alignment.
Orthognathic surgery and related treatments can take time, often over a year. Starting treatment and not completing it could leave you with more problems than you have now. So you need to commit to the process before treatment begins. Your plan will likely include a time frame for each stage of treatment. Typical stages and time frames are shown here:
Diagnosis and treatment plan
1 to 4 weeks
Preparation for surgery
12 to 18
Surgery and hospital recovery
1 to 3 days
Recovery at home
2 to 6 weeks
6 to 12 months
Be sure you understand what each step involves, and what you can and can’t expect from treatment. Keep in mind that treatment plans can differ depending on your jaw problem and factors, like your age and oral health. Your health care provider can answer your questions and address your concerns.
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