Orthognathic Surgery,
Corrective Jaw Surgery in Denver CO

Orthodontist Serving Denver, Cherry Creek, Stapleton & Nearby Areas Of Colorado

Corrective jaw surgery – also called orthognathic surgery – exists to repair certain functional problems; however, it also improves the facial profile and overall facial appearance of most patients. At Advanced Orthodontic Care, Dr. Robert Rudman may recommend orthognathic surgery in conjunction with braces, if you have certain jaw and teeth abnormalities and misalignment.

Big smile

What is Orthognathic Surgery?

This procedure surgically corrects abnormalities of the jaws and teeth. Depending on the specific problems, these abnormalities may lead to difficulty with:

  • Chewing and biting
  • Breathing
  • Speaking
  • Swallowing
  • Smiling
  • Sleeping

A person with jaw misalignment may have an asymmetrical facial shape. They may have teeth that are unevenly worn down, and they may experience pain and soreness around the jaw joints.

There are other potential issues. If your jaw alignment is abnormal, you may find that you breathe with your mouth open often or always, and find you cannot breathe through your nose alone. Your lower jaw may look recessed or it may protrude too far beyond the upper jaw. You may find it difficult to bring your upper and lower lips together. Jaw abnormalities may also lead to sleep apnea, a disorder in which the airway collapses on itself during sleep, causing you to gasp for air and awaken multiple times throughout the night.

Although this type of approach may take a year or more to complete, it is well-worth it to most patients. Not only does it repair the issues listed above, but it also improves the appearance of your face. Both in profile and from straight-on, your facial appearance will likely be more pleasing to you after orthognathic surgery. When the jaws and teeth are properly aligned, it has a dramatic effect on the balance and proportions of the face. Your jaws and related bones are the supportive structure beneath the skin – when they are aligned, it shows from the inside out.

How to Find Out if You Need Corrective Jaw Surgery

The only way to know for sure is to arrange a consultation with Dr. Rudman in Denver. Most orthognathic surgical cases are referred to an experienced Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, who works collaboratively with Dr. Rudman to achieve your best bite and smile. In most situations, braces may be worn prior to jaw surgery, and then again after jaw surgery is complete.

Jaw surgery is most often recommended only for those patients whose jaws have stopped developing. Therefore, the youngest teens and children may get alternative recommendations for guiding jaw growth, such as early intervention orthodontics.

Most people are very happy with the results. Your lower face will look more balanced and you should have vastly improved teeth function. You'll also find your sleep and breathing improves, if those were problems for you prior to jaw surgery.

Learn More About Improving Your Bite

Dr. Robert Rudman is an experienced orthodontist who is passionate about achieving great results for his patients. He has been practicing in Colorado for decades. He established our practice in 1999. Give us a call in Cherry Creek to learn more, at 303-331-0222. When you visit Dr. Rudman for a consultation, he'll examine your teeth and mouth. We may take x-rays to get a detailed look at alignment. He'll determine whether braces alone can align your bite or teeth, or whether orthognathic surgery may be beneficial.

What are the benefits of orthognathic surgery?

Orthognathic surgery offers a wide variety of functional and cosmetic benefits. It may help to:

  • Make it easier to bite and chew
  • Fix issues related to speaking or swallowing
  • Limit undue dental wear and tooth breakdown
  • Enhance facial symmetry
  • Improve the ability of the lips and jaw to close properly
  • Correct bite issues
  • Alleviate painful TMJ symptoms and other jaw issues
  • Relieve obstructive sleep apnea

The specific benefits that you can expect depend on your indications for having surgery. In general, jaw surgery patients can anticipate an improvement in the way that their jaws and teeth work and potentially an enhanced facial appearance. Dr. Rudman will partner with your oral and maxillofacial surgeon to explain the advantages you are likely to experience. 

orthognathic surgery, correction of human mandible deformity, before and after, side view. 3D Rendering

How should I prepare for orthognathic surgery?

Most people prepare for orthognathic surgery by wearing braces. Braces help straighten the teeth and improve alignment issues. It is much easier for an oral surgeon to perform jaw surgery when the teeth are already in the healthiest position that orthodontics can achieve. 

You will receive complete pre-operative instructions as your surgical date approaches. You may be instructed to take or stop taking certain medications. You may also be asked not to eat or drink anything before surgery.

Maintaining good oral habits will go a long way to set you up for success during this time. In addition, remember to stock up on liquids and soft foods and arrange for a ride home in advance to ensure a smooth, stress-free recovery. 

How long is orthognathic surgery?

Orthognathic surgery typically lasts between one to four hours. The time it takes to complete your procedure will depend on your unique treatment plan. 

Complex diagnoses and cases in which both the upper and lower jaws require repositioning tend to involve a longer surgical time. You will learn more about the estimated length of your surgery when you meet with Dr. Rudman and your oral and maxillofacial surgeon. 

Is orthognathic surgery painful?

You will be under general anesthesia during orthognathic surgery and will not feel any pain. After surgery, you will be given medicine to minimize swelling and ease any soreness. 

Some discomfort is to be expected during the healing and recovery process. An effective pain management protocol will be in place to make your experience as comfortable as possible. 

Recovery after orthognathic surgery

You may need to stay in the hospital for two to five days after orthognathic surgery. Some people can be discharged on the same day without an overnight stay if certain criteria are met. 

It is common to take one to three weeks off work or school. Initial jaw healing generally takes about six weeks. Full healing may take up to three months. 

You will receive detailed post-operative instruction regarding:

  • Food restrictions
  • Oral care
  • Activity restrictions
  • Medication schedules 
  • Return to activity 

Is orthognathic surgery safe? What are the risks?

Jaw surgery is typically safe when performed by a qualified oral and maxillofacial surgeon in collaboration with an experienced orthodontist. However, that does not mean that it is completely without risk. All surgeries carry some inherent risks.

Risks of orthognathic surgery may include:

  • Infection
  • Nerve injury
  • Blood loss
  • Adverse reaction to anesthesia
  • Issues with bite fit 

Certain factors may increase the risk of complications in healing. For example, patients who are smokers, have bleeding disorders or have certain chronic health conditions are considered to be at a higher risk of problems. 

Schedule Your Consultation Today

If you're interested in learning more about orthognathic surgery please contact us for a consultation at 303-331-0222 or fill out our contact us form. We will discuss your needs and concerns, and determine your best course of action.

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