Jaw surgery is not just for those with a jaw injury, significant misalignment of the teeth, or a weak bite due to an underdeveloped jaw. It can also reshape the face or improve its appearance. A jaw that is too small or too big or a chin that is too pointy or juts out too much are common problems you can address with surgery. There are different types of jaw surgery, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Here are common FAQs on jaw surgery.
Is Jaw Surgery Safe?
Jaw surgery is a very safe procedure, especially when performed by experienced surgeons. However, there are risks involved with any surgery. A qualified and experienced surgeon will weigh the benefits of surgery with the risks and let you know if you are a good candidate for the procedure.
How Is Jaw Surgery Performed?
Jaw surgery uses incisions around the ears or inside the mouth to access your jaw. The first step is to remove the necessary bone and tissue. Then, the doctor will move the bone, using plates and screws to hold it in place while it heals. A bone graft or other procedure is sometimes needed to complete the reshaping.
What Happens after Surgery?
Immediately after surgery, your jaw may feel stiff and swollen with stitches holding your gums together. You will be given pain medication to help you feel more comfortable during recovery. After that, you should feel no pain and only have some swelling. You will have to wear a neck collar or bite splint for at least a week, but the doctor may keep you in a soft brace or splint to protect your jaw while it heals. During healing, your mouth will be too tender for you to chew solid foods or even bite down on a toothbrush. However, the doctor will give you a soft diet that is easy to digest.
What are the Benefits of Jaw Surgery?
There are several different procedures your surgeon may perform. Jaw surgery can straighten out teeth pushed back due to a weak jaw or bite structure. It can also add length to your jaw or make it bigger if it is too small. Often, jaw surgery is performed to improve your facial profile, making your face more attractive. It can also make it easier for you to chew food and reduce the appearance of your chin or jawline.
How Long Does Jaw Surgery Take?
Your surgeon will give you an estimate of how long your surgery will take. However, sometimes it takes longer than expected even if all goes according to plan because each patient’s anatomy is unique and may require extra work.
What are the Different Types of Jaw Surgery?
There are different types of jaw surgery that you can do depending on the specific problem you have.
Maxillary Osteotomy: A maxillary osteotomy is a procedure to reshape the jaw and make it look better. It can be done to reduce your chin and close off the space between your upper lip and the chin, giving you a more attractive profile and making it easier for you to chew food. It can also reshape your jaw, so it closes once again or change the shape of your chin if it looks like an “M.”
Mandibular Osteotomy: A mandibular osteotomy is a procedure to reshape the jaw and make it look better. It can be done to reduce your chin and close off the space between your lower lip and chin, giving you a more attractive profile and making it easier for you to chew food. It can also reshape your jaw, so it closes once again if it does not.
Genioplasty: A genioplasty is a procedure to reshape your jaw and make it look better. It can be done to reduce the space between your upper lip and chin, giving you a more attractive profile and making it easier for you to chew food.
How Much Does Jaw Surgery Cost?
The cost of jaw surgery depends partly on the procedure and the amount of work needed. However, you should expect to pay several thousand dollars for a procedure performed by an experienced surgeon.
How Long Does Recovery Take?
The time required to recover varies, depending on your case. However, typically it takes twelve to eighteen months before you can eat solid foods and six months or so before you can have surgery again. The amount of time will also depend on the surgery done and how much bone must be removed.
Will I Need Medication to Treat My Jaw Problem After Surgery?
You will be given pain medication during and after surgery. However, you may need a prescription for narcotics or a muscle relaxant to keep your jaw from hurting.
You may also have a breathing tube or special breathing machine for a while after the procedure. This is usually only needed for those undergoing mandibular osteotomy surgery.
Are There Any Long Term Side Effects of Jaw Surgery?
There is a small risk of infection that requires you to take antibiotics after surgery. You may also develop numbness in your face or jaw if the nerves are cut. However, these side effects are rare and only last for a short time. For instance, double jaw surgery may be dangerous for people with heart problems because it can be hard for them to breathe and strain the heart. Other risks include persistent headaches, chronic jaw pain, or paralysis in the jaw muscles, which can cause you to feel like you have a weak grip.
Is Jaw Surgery Covered by Insurance?
Many insurance companies offer coverage for bone and tissue surgeries to help improve facial appearance. However, it may not cover pure cosmetic purposes.
Jaw surgery is a good solution for people with a facial feature that is too small or large or self-conscious. You should always talk to your doctor before you decide to get surgery, especially if you have certain medical conditions. This can help you avoid any potential problems and find the best solution for you.