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Temecula and Lake Elsinore - (951) 699-8011

FAQ’s About Jaw Surgery

Signs You Might Need Orthognathic Surgery 

How Do You Know if You Need Jaw Surgery?

A study has found that approximately 20% of people living within the United States have skeletofacial imbalances that could benefit by corrective jaw surgery. Within this percentage are a wide variety of different problems that may require orthognathic surgery.

We have listed some of the commonly observed signs/symptoms where jaw surgery may be advantageous for the patient:

  • Noticeable difficulties biting, chewing, or swallowing food
  • Speech impediments
  • Teeth that are wearing or breaking down excessively due to the bite relationship
  • Inherited facial problems
  • Incurred injuries to the face
  • Cleft palate or lip
  • Malocclusion (overbite, underbite, crossbite, open bite, etc.)
  • Distended or receding jaw or chin
  • Sleep apnea
  • Disproportionate facial appearance

If one or more of these are present, consultation with an orthodontist is recommended.

Dr. Redford and Dr. Burke specialize in effectively assessing, diagnosing, and treating skeletofacial deformities at their root cause. A patient’s comfort, care, and safety are their foremost priority, no matter what type of treatment is being rendered.

Please do not hesitate to contact us at (951) 699-8011 to set up a free consultation with our doctors at our locations in Temecula or Lake Elsinore.

Before and After Photo of Corrective Orthognathic (Jaw) Surgery Patient with Burke & Redford OrthodontistsWhat Can Jaw Surgery Correct?

Once orthognathic surgery and the concurrent orthodontic treatment is completed, a noticeable difference can be felt and seen by patients.

This difference is usually not in appearance only, though most people are exceedingly pleased with how they look post-treatment.

For most patients, a big difference lies in the improvement with how their bite fits and their teeth function together properly like never before. It can be very exciting for the patient.

Specifically, jaw surgery may successfully bring about the following results:

  • Significantly improved facial symmetry and overall appearance to the face
  • Improved breathing and sleeping patterns if being treated for obstructive sleep apnea
  • Improved functioning of the teeth in terms of their role in speech and eating
  • A meaningful increase in overall self-esteem and confidence levels

These are important reasons to proceed with jaw surgery confidently if it is recommended by your orthodontist or oral surgeon.

Serving Southern California for over 30 years, Burke & Redford Orthodontists’ patients are encouraged to trust that our doctors can help them achieve their goal of a beautiful smile and facial symmetry. We are committed to offering the best care possible.

What Does Jaw Surgery Involve?

Preliminary Steps

Corrective surgery involving the structure of the jaw bones and teeth is known technically as orthognathic surgery. In these surgeries, the jaw is altered or reshaped in whichever way is needed to correct the issues presented by the patient.

In most cases, jaw surgery is only conducted on patients that have reached the age where their jaws have completed growth and are no longer changing position.  For males, growth is typically complete between 18 and 21 years of age. For females, it is between 16 and 18 years old.

In order to determine if orthognathic surgery is needed, qualified orthodontists like Dr. Redford and Dr. Burke will thoroughly examine the patient’s jaw and teeth. If surgery is required, the doctors will work in tandem with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMFS) to aid in preparing a treatment plan for the patient.

Application of Braces

Nearly every patient that requires orthognathic surgery will require braces for some time prior to their jaw surgery. This is done to begin the correction process of ideal teeth positioning. With large jaw size mismatches, front teeth are usually significantly out of proper position in the body’s attempt to compensate for the poor jaw relationship. These tooth positions must be “decompensated” prior to the corrective jaw surgery.

Braces are normally kept on before, during, and after surgery for as long as is adequately estimated by the orthodontist.

Day of Surgery

The corrective jaw surgery itself usually takes between 3 and 5 hours. During this time, the patient is kept as comfortable as possible. In order to ensure this, general anesthesia will be administered. Once the surgery has been completed, the patient will need to remain under the care and supervision of the surgeon for 1 to 2 days on average at the location of the surgery.

How Long Does it Take for Jaw Surgery to Heal? 

After the surgery and post-surgery observation concludes, the patient will be sent home to recover. Discomfort may arise after the operation, so medications will be prescribed by the surgeon for pain management.

The braces are also used at this time to help facilitate the healing process for the patient. The changes made by the surgeon to the jaw and teeth are held in place with elastics attached to the braces.

While the improvements are kept secure by the braces, the healing process can take between 6 and 12 weeks to fully complete.

Post-Surgical Instructions

Patients can normally return to their regular routine one to two weeks after surgery. The surgeon will explain to the patient which foods to eat and how to care for their mouth during the healing process.

Patients are usually advised to eat soft or pureed foods. Vigorous activities should be avoided. Special care should be taken by the patient to rest and be as gentle as possible around the jaw area.

The full process can take one to several years in total to complete, from the first consultation with an orthodontist to the removal of braces sometime after surgery. How long the braces will remain on following surgery is typically around six months but can be shorter or longer depending on the case.

How Much Does Jaw Surgery Cost?

The total cost of corrective jaw surgery depends on the patient’s healthcare provider and their type of health insurance plan.

This makes it complicated to determine exactly how much it can cost. For patients that only need to cover a copay, it may be little more than $100. If the patient is required to meet a certain cap in their insurance plan annually, it could be upwards of $5,000 or more.

If the patient’s insurance does not cover jaw surgery or if the patient has no insurance at all, the cost will be substantially higher. An average orthognathic surgery, which also includes x-rays, anesthesia, exams, operating room costs, et cetera, can be as much as $40,000 without insurance.

If you have any questions or concerns about jaw surgery or what it entails, please feel free to contact Burke & Redford Orthodontists today at (951) 699-8011. We look forward to seeing you at our offices in Temecula and Lake Elsinore.

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