What is orthognathic surgery and what does it treat?

Some people suffer from imbalance or misalignment in their jaw position. While this can have an impact on facial appearance, it is not the only problem. In fact, many functional repercussions can result from this. Orthognathic surgery restores functional and cosmetic jaw alignment.

What is orthognathic surgery?

Orthognathic surgery, derived from the Greek terms orthos, which means straight, and gnathos, meaning jaw, refers to surgical procedures aimed at restoring the balance of the jaws, whether lower or upper. The jaws form part of the facial mass and support the teeth while allowing for speech, chewing and swallowing. This type of surgery corrects an anomaly in the jaw position, for cosmetic purposes, but also for health reasons, allowing for better chewing, among other things. Orthognathic surgery also corrects certain types of malocclusion (dental misalignment). This is often done with orthodontic treatment.

What problems can be treated with this surgery?

Malocclusion

Dento-skeletal malocclusion is a pathology caused by an alignment problem between the jaw bones. This results in dental misalignment, which often leads patients to consult their dentist or orthodontist.  While this problem can be cosmetically debilitating, it is not the only problem that can result. Malocclusion can also cause chewing and breathing difficulties. It is one of the disorders that orthognathic surgery can correct in most cases.

Facial disharmony

Several types of facial disharmony exist. Whether it is facial asymmetry or an undersized chin, facial disharmonies can result from a dento-skeletal malocclusion, a congenital or acquired facial malformation, a bone outgrowth or the aftermath of a facial trauma or tumour.  Orthognathic surgery is in many cases the best treatment to restore a balanced facial symmetry.

Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea syndrome, or SAS, is a disorder that can occur at any age and regardless of gender. People with SAS experience breathing interruptions several times during sleep. If left untreated, many consequences on health and quality of life can result. Orthognathic surgery increases airway size and therefore reduces airway obstruction, which is a contributing factor to SAS.

Conclusion

Orthognathic surgery is a procedure that allows certain individuals to correct a defect in their jawbone position or even treat other health problems. If you think you may be in need of this surgical procedure, contact our team immediately for medical advice on your situation.

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