When one or both of your jaws is over or underdeveloped, it can result in problems with eating, speaking, and breathing. Sometimes, a severe facial injury or TMJ disorder can also affect your jaw’s functionality. Corrective jaw surgery, also known as orthognathic surgery, can restore mobility and function to a patient’s jaw when non-surgical treatment is not a viable option.
Signs That You May Need Jaw Surgery
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed below, we strongly encourage you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Heiner so he can examine your condition and determine if jaw surgery is the right solution for your needs:
- Difficulty breathing or sleep apnea
- Problems with chewing and/or swallowing food
- Chronic jaw pain
- Complications with opening or closing your mouth all the way
- Trouble with your bite
Benefits of Jaw Surgery
Every patient’s surgical results are different, but there are many benefits to undergoing jaw surgery. Jaw surgery corrects the position of your jaws so that you can enjoy more regular function. Typically, patients who undergo jaw surgery see improvement in their ability to chew and eat whatever they like. As a result, many jaw surgery patients experience improved digestion because of their new diet. Additionally, we have found that many of our orthognathic patients gain a boost in confidence because their appearance is improved following their procedure. Jaw surgery can help eliminate pain caused by your jaw misalignment. If you’re interested in learning more about orthognathic surgery and the benefits of treatment, we encourage you to contact any one of our offices in Las Cruces, NM, Roswell, NM, or Alamogordo, NM.
The Treatment Process
The treatment process for orthognathic patients typically involves three steps:
- Before surgery, you will visit your orthodontist so he or she can prepare your teeth for their new alignment. Jaw surgery patients will usually have braces put on before surgery, and then they will wear these braces during and for a short period after surgery. In addition, you will visit our office for a consultation so Dr. Heiner can take X-rays and 3D images and map out a detailed plan for treatment.
- The surgical procedure usually happens in the middle of the treatment process. Most jaw surgery patients undergo general anesthesia so that they are completely unconscious during the procedure. While you rest comfortably, Dr. Heiner will separate your jaws and secure them into their proper position. Once the surgery is complete, you will either be sent home to recover or stay a night at the hospital for monitoring. When you visit for your consultation, these details will be determined.
- After surgery, it’s important that you follow your post-operative instructions for recovery. During recovery, you will need to rest and follow a soft foods diet to ensure your bone can heal properly. The recovery process is different for every patient, but Dr. Heiner will prescribe pain medication in case you experience discomfort. Your post-operative instructions contain more guidelines to follow as your wait for your jaws to heal.
Jaw Surgery at Oral & Facial Surgery of New Mexico
Dr. Heiner has undergone extensive training and trained in a hospital setting; as such, he is highly qualified to perform jaw surgery. If you experience any of the above symptoms or you think you may need orthognathic surgery, please feel free to call one of our offices to schedule a consultation. Our team is dedicated to your comfort and will do everything we can to help you regain your smile.