Is Orthognathic Surgery Dangerous? | Demko Orthodontics

Is Orthognathic Surgery Dangerous?

TeamOral Surgery

Orthognathic surgery refers to surgical procedures used to change the shape of the jaw for better bite alignment. For some patients, orthodontic treatment alone is insufficient to correct misaligned teeth and bite. When the upper or lower jaw, sometimes both, are not ideally shaped, it can prevent the upper and lower teeth from meeting together properly when you bite down and chew. This can cause long term dental and overall health problems. 

If your dentist or orthodontist has recommended orthognathic surgery, or jaw surgery as it is more commonly called, you may feel nervous or anxious. These feelings are normal. It can help to learn more about orthognathic surgery so that you know what to expect. 

What is Orthognathic Surgery? 

Orthognathic surgery is an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of different surgical procedures. The upper and lower jaws can be moved forward, backward, left, right, or reshaped in a variety of ways until the ideal shape of both are achieved. Orthognathic surgery often requires some cutting of tissue and/or bone in order to change the shape of the jaw, but these tissues are capable of healing just as they would in the case of any other surgery or following an injury. 

How Risky is Orthognathic Surgery? 

Orthognathic surgery is considered to be routine and low risk in most cases. Some complications are always possible, such as post operative infection, bleeding, and temporary or permanent numbness in small portions of the lip or face. The majority of the risks are not life threatening and can be easily treated if they occur. 

What Type of Anesthesia is Used for Orthognathic Surgery?

The type of anesthesia required will depend on the invasiveness of the procedure itself. Some minor orthognathic surgery can be done with IV sedation that makes the patient feel as if they are asleep, but allows them to be partially responsive. More complex orthognathic surgery may require general anesthesia, which renders the patient completely unconscious. This is often done in a hospital or outpatient setting that allows for careful monitoring of the patient during the procedure. 

Who Performs Orthognathic Surgery?

An oral surgeon will perform orthognathic surgery, working closely with your orthodontist, who will provide treatment before and after your surgery in most cases. Your orthodontist may refer you to an oral surgeon they frequently collaborate with, or you may want to choose your own. Find someone that you feel comfortable with to perform your surgery. 

Will I Have My Jaws Wired Shut After Orthognathic Surgery?

It used to be a common practice to wire the jaws shut during the healing process, but in many cases, this is no longer necessary. Screws and plates can be placed in the jaw for stabilization while the bone heals. This allows you to eat a greater variety  of food during recovery, although you may need to follow a soft diet for the first few weeks. 

What If I’m Nervous on the Day of My Surgery?

If you feel too anxious or nervous about your upcoming surgery, an oral sedative may be prescribed that you can take prior to your appointment. Talk to your oral surgeon about your concerns, and a plan can be made to help you feel more relaxed. 

Why Choose Demko Orthodontics? 

At Demko Orthodontics, we want you to have a functional, good looking smile. We realize that sometimes orthodontic treatment alone is not enough to provide the adjustments that are needed for the best health of your teeth and jaw. Working closely with the best oral surgeons in the area, we can provide the changes you need for a lifetime of better health. 

Contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.