For Virginia Beach and Chesapeake area patients who are having issues with their upper or lower jaws, corrective jaw surgery might be the answer. This is a tool our doctors use to correct misalignment of the jaws or other congenital defects so a patient can have a beautiful as well as functional smile. Overall, it’s an excellent way for patients to improve their bite, correct their breathing problems, and much more.
What Are the Different Kinds of Corrective Jaw Surgery?
There are three main types of jaw surgery depending on the issues the patient is facing. These include:
- Mandibular osteotomy, which involves moving the lower jawbone backward or forward to correct alignment.
- Maxillary osteotomy, which involves correcting a cross or open bite, upper jaw that’s too far back in the mouth, or upper jaw that has too many or too few teeth showing.
- Genioplasty, which involves reconstructing the chin to improve a receded lower jaw.
What Kinds of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake Area Patients Can Benefit From Corrective Jaw Surgery?
Many patients are able to benefit from corrective jaw surgery. Often, it’s used as a way to correct congenital defects that have been present since birth. While the defect may not have been noticeable earlier in life, as the patient ages, they may have started experiencing unpleasant symptoms.
To assess whether or not corrective jaw surgery is the right option for a patient experiencing one or more of the above issues, our doctors will perform a thorough examination at the initial consultation. This includes a full set of X-rays to get a closer look at what’s happening with the jawbone and how it might be out of alignment. This helps them create a personalized plan of care specific to each patient’s individual issues.
Overall, corrective jaw surgery can usually be used to help improve:
- Speech and pronunciation problems.
- Problems swallowing, biting, or chewing because the mouth does not close fully.
- Protruding jaw, which is when the upper or lower jaw sticks out too far.
- Chronic jaw pain, which is more commonly known as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain.
- Open bite, which is when there is a noticeable gap when the patient has their jaws closed.
- Problems breathing or severe sleep apnea disorder.
What Happens During Corrective Jaw Surgery?
Corrective jaw surgery is usually performed at a Virginia Beach and Chesapeake area hospital under general anesthesia, meaning that patients will be completely unconscious during the procedure. They won’t feel any pain and will only wake up once the surgery is complete.
During the surgery, our doctors will make incisions inside the mouth so that there are no noticeable scars on the face, mouth, chin, or jaw. They will cut into the jawbone that requires altering and then shift it into the correct position. After the jaw is aligned, they will secure it in place with wire, screws, plates, or rubber bands so that it can’t shift and revert back to its incorrect positioning.
Recovering From Corrective Jaw Surgery
Because corrective jaw surgery is a complicated procedure, patients may need to stay at a Virginia Beach and Chesapeake area hospital for a few days afterward to ensure they are recovering well. Once their condition has stabilized, they’ll be allowed to return home, where they should continue to rest and take it easy. In fact, they’ll probably have to take off at least two weeks from work or school to give their jaw time to heal.
It will also be some time before patients can return to their normal eating and drinking habits. They will not be able to chew or bite for at least two months after the surgery, and complete function of the jaw may not be completely normalized for a year. During this time, nutritious soft and liquid foods are recommended to give the body the vitamins and minerals it needs to recover.
To keep an eye on the patient’s progress, our doctors will recommend weekly checkup appointments for up to two months after the corrective jaw surgery. This gives them a chance to check jaw function, make sure the incisions are closing, and see if the patient has any other complications.
Choose Corrective Jaw Surgery From Our Doctors in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake
Corrective jaw surgery is a big decision that you shouldn’t take lightly, which is why you need help from professionals you can trust. Our doctors have years of experience providing Virginia Beach and Chesapeake area patients with successful and lasting results. Whether your case is simple or extremely complex, they will take the time to devise a personalized treatment plan specifically for you.
People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have disrupted sleep and low blood oxygen levels. When obstructive sleep apnea occurs, the tongue is sucked against the back of the throat. This blocks the upper airway and airflow stops. When the oxygen level in the brain becomes low enough, the sleeper partially awakens, the obstruction in the throat clears, and the flow of air starts again, usually with a loud gasp.
Repeated cycles of decreased oxygenation lead to very serious cardiovascular problems. Additionally, these individuals suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, depression, and loss of concentration.
Some patients have obstructions that are less severe called Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS). In either case, the individuals suffer many of the same symptoms.
The first step in treatment resides in recognition of the symptoms and seeking appropriate consultation. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons offer consultation and treatment options.
In addition to a detailed history, the doctors will assess the anatomic relationships in the maxillofacial region. With cephalometic (skull x-ray) analysis, the doctors can ascertain the level of obstruction. Sometimes a naso-pharyngeal exam is done with a flexible fiber-optic camera. To confirm the amount of cardiovascular compromise and decreased oxygenation levels, a sleep study may be recommended to monitor an individual overnight.
There are several treatment options available. An initial treatment may consist of using a nasal CPAP machine that delivers pressurized oxygen through a nasal mask to limit obstruction at night. One of the surgical options is an uvulo-palato-pharyngo-plasty (UPPP), which is performed in the back of the soft palate and throat. A similar procedure is sometimes done with the assistance of a laser and is called a laser assisted uvulo-palato-plasty (LAUPP). In other cases, a radio-frequency probe is utilized to tighten the soft palate. These procedures are usually performed under light IV sedation in the office.
In more complex cases, the bones of the upper and lower jaw may be repositioned to increase the size of the airway (orthognathic surgery). This procedure is done in the hospital under general anesthesia and requires a one to two day overnight stay in the hospital.
OSA is a very serious condition that needs careful attention and treatment. Most major medical plans offer coverage for diagnosis and treatment.
Ready to get started? Find out more by contacting our Virginia Beach and Chesapeake offices today at 757-426-6155 (Virginia Beach) or 757-547-9725 (Chesapeake) to schedule your initial consultation.