Patients suffering from jaw misalignment are typically experiencing more than just cosmetic side effects. When teeth are not properly aligned, all function of the mouth becomes painful and difficult. Jaw bones may even be rubbing against one another, causing friction and more pain. Often, patients with misalignment also suffer from clenching or grinding teeth during sleep, leading to further complications with oral health. To complicate things further, bullying often stems from jaw misalignment, and children and adults alike are treated poorly for any facial imbalance that may result from this condition.
Orthognathic Surgery, or Corrective Jaw Surgery, is designed to treat all of these issues by bringing the structure into proper alignment, improving the function of the jaw as well as facial appearance, providing healing both physically and often psychologically.
Am I a Candidate?
Many factors can affect jaw alignment and this condition comes with many side effects, some less noticeable than others. Obvious signs of jaw misalignment include an improper bite or misaligned teeth. Often these conditions are caused by a difference in the rate of growth by the upper and lower jaw. While many people think these issues are purely cosmetic, there can be major consequences to avoiding treatment for jaw misalignment. Chewing function, speech and oral health are all affected by improper jaw alignment and may contribute further to social embarrassment as these symptoms become more serious.
If you are experiencing any of the following, you may be a candidate for jaw surgery:
- Difficulty chewing, biting or swallowing
- Strained speech
- Chronic jaw pain or locking (TMJ)
- Open bite, overbite or under bite
- Portruding jaw
- Difficulty breathing through the mouth
- Shifted jaw to the left or right
- Cleft palate
Jaw misalignment can be caused by a birth defect, may be a result of genetic or environmental effects or a product of facial trauma. Prior to treatment, Dr. Elias will consult with you and run a full series of x-rays with a comprehensive examination. During this time, you will have an opportunity to ask as many questions as you need and to be guided through the entire surgical process. We want to ensure that your experience is as comfortable and painless as possible, doing whatever you need to feel confident in your surgeon and staff. We will all work as a team to ensure your best results!
Technology & Your Consultation
For your comfort, Dr. Elias provides three-dimensional models to explain and show you exactly how your surgery will be planned. Using the latest facial 3D CT scanning and computer video imaging, Dr. Elias will show you your current condition, the surgical process and how your results will change the form and function of your jaw. He can even give you an idea of how you will look after surgery. Dr. Elias will build your trust from your first meeting, to ensure you feel confident in his hands.
During & After Your Surgery
Jaw surgery is typically very straightforward, and because the entire surgery is internal, no facial scars are associated with this procedure. General anesthesia is required, and you can typically expect to remain in the hospital for 1-2 days.
During the surgery, Dr. Elias will make careful incisions in the jawbones to displace their current alignment and move them into their correct position. Once aligned, your jaw will be secured with either wiring or screws to hold it in position as it heals. If bone grafting is necessary, bone will be taken from your hip, leg or rib and attached properly to the jaw.
Recovery for jaw surgery typically takes three to six weeks at home. Recovery details vary from patient to patient, case to case, and Dr. Elias will explain the particulars of your recovery both during your consultation and following your surgery. Typically, once you are sent home, the process of returning to full functionality of speech and chewing takes four weeks. As swelling begins to subside and you notice signs of healing, it is important to stay on top of your recovery instructions that Dr. Elias will provide. Caring for your wounds and giving yourself plenty of rest are vital in the speed and effectiveness of your recovery.
Dr. Elias has successfully treated many happy patients for jaw misalignment. Hear from these patients by reading our reviews here. If you are suffering from a condition affecting your jaw and are interested in learning about what corrective jaw surgery can do for you, contact the Southern California Center for Surgical Arts at 818-696-4425.