If you’re looking to have corrective jaw surgery, it’s all too easy to worry about what to expect. From the procedure to recovery time, there is a lot to consider.

It should comfort you to know that jaw surgery has high satisfaction rates, with 92% of people satisfied with their results after six months of healing.

Getting corrective jaw surgery is a big decision but it can change your life for the better. Keep reading to learn all you need to know about jaw surgery before you take the plunge.

What Is Corrective Jaw Surgery?

Jaw surgery also referred to as orthognathic surgery, corrects irregularities in your jawbones and realigns your jaw and teeth to improve their function.

This type of surgery is performed by oral and maxillofacial surgeons who work along with your orthodontist, as you’ll typically need braces to finish correcting the alignment of your teeth.

Many people need jaw surgery if they have jaw problems that can’t be fixed with orthodontic treatments alone. Jaw surgery will likely be recommended for you for reasons such as:

  • Correcting the symmetry of your face
  • Relieving symptoms from temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
  • Adjusting how your teeth fit together when your mouth is closed
  • Fixing congenital conditions like a cleft palate
  • Bone grafting for dental implants
  • Correcting swallowing or speech problems
  • Fixing injuries from facial or jaw trauma

Types of Jaw Surgery

There are different types of jaw surgery you can have, depending on what condition you’re suffering from. The most common types include:

Maxillary Osteotomy

A maxillary osteotomy is a surgery that’s done on your upper jaw. It’s done to correct a protruding upper jaw or an open bite where your molars don’t touch when you close your mouth.

Mandibular Osteotomy

A mandibular osteotomy refers to surgery that’s done on your lower jaw. It’s often done if your lower jaw protrudes too far out or in and significantly affects your jaw function.

TMJ Surgery

You may need to get TMJ surgery if treatments haven’t been effective in managing your TMJ symptoms. You can get minimally invasive TMJ surgery called arthrocentesis which involves using small needles to inject into areas that have TMJ. This allows your doctor to lubricate the joint and also gets rid of debris and inflammation.

Some people need invasive TMJ surgery, which is an open joint surgery that requires an incision to be made towards the front of your ear. Your surgeon can then work to remove areas of TMJ inflammation.

How to Prepare for Jaw Surgery

Whichever type of jaw surgery you are having, you’ll need to follow similar steps to prepare for your upcoming surgery. Two weeks before your surgery date, you’ll typically be instructed to:

  • Avoid medications such as aspirin that can cause abnormal bleeding
  • Stop smoking as this can affect healing after surgery
  • Arrange for transportation for both before and after surgery

One week before surgery usually is the time to complete any pre-operative procedures like x-rays, medical checkups, and blood work. This is to ensure you are healthy and fit for surgery.

The day before your surgery, pack what you need to take to the hospital like medical documents and comfortable clothes to wear. You’ll also be advised not to eat or drink anything at least 12 hours prior to your surgery.

During Your Jaw Surgery Procedure

You’ll first be placed under general anesthesia prior to your surgery beginning. Your surgeon will make incisions inside of your mouth and cuts into your jawbones to move them into the right position. 

Many people need bone plates, screws, or wires to secure the bones into position. Screws will stay in permanently and eventually become a part of your bone structure over time. You may also need extra bone added to your jaw. This bone is typically transferred from your hip or rib and is also secured into place with screws. 

After Your Jaw Surgery Procedure

Most people need to stay in the hospital anywhere from 1 to 4 days to recover from the initial jaw surgery. If you have less invasive surgery, you’re often able to leave the same day once you recover from anesthesia.

Before you leave the hospital, you’ll be given instructions for an oral hygiene routine to follow. You’ll also need to:

  • Take prescribed medications for pain
  • Take antibiotics for at least seven days following surgery
  • Avoid strenuous physical activity
  • Avoid smoking
  • Be off from work for at least a week
  • Eat soft foods or a liquid diet for up to four weeks

For the first few days after surgery, it’s common to experience swelling, stiffness, and aching in your jaw and facial area. You might also experience temporary numbness in your lips which usually resolves in 1 to 2 weeks.

The total surgery recovery time usually takes between 6 to 12 weeks. Once you’re healed, you’ll need to see your orthodontist so they can align your teeth with braces or continue on with another type of treatment plan, depending on your condition.

Jaw Surgery Cost

The cost of surgery depends on different factors such as your surgeon and the type of jaw surgery you’re having, and how long you need to stay in the hospital to recover.

Hospitals have different fees when it comes to surgeries. You’ll also have fees for anesthesia, as well as additional tests and medications you need to take.

Your first step should be checking with your health insurance provider to see what they will cover before you schedule your surgery. Most of the time, if you have a documented medical condition, your insurance will cover the cost, but you may still be responsible for co-insurance fees.

Schedule Your Jaw Surgery Today

Now that you know more about jaw surgery, you’ll be much more confident with scheduling your surgery. Although it takes time to fully recover from surgery, the results will change your life and your smile.

It’s time to turn to Knoxville Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery for your jaw surgery needs. We have experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeons who treat jaw conditions as well as perform bone grafting procedures and surgeries to fix facial trauma.

We also offer other dental surgery services such as dental implants and wisdom teeth removal. Make sure to contact us today to schedule a consultation!