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Jaw Surgery

September 5, 2017

The dedicated orthodontists of Great River Orthodontics provide a wide range of high quality orthodontic services to patients of all ages in our friendly and comfortable La Crosse, Holmen, West Salem, and Onalaska office environments.

Corrective jaw surgery or orthognathic surgery, is one of the many services we offer. During this procedure, the jaws are moved into more optimal positions for function, resulting in a healthier bite and more attractive smile. Because moving the jaws also moves the teeth, this surgery is usually performed in conjunction with orthodontic treatment to ensure the teeth are properly positioned after surgery.

People who’ve undergone jaw surgery enjoy many benefits, including an improved ability to chew, speak, and breathe. This surgery can also dramatically enhance your facial appearance.

Who May Need Jaw Surgery?

While your orthodontist can correct many teeth and bite problems, more extreme issues related to the alignment of the jaws may require corrective jaw surgery to remedy. Serious jaw misalignment problems can come about through injury or congenital defects. Most commonly, though, misalignment results from the upper and lower jaws growing at different rates.

If you are experiencing any of the following conditions or symptoms, you may be a good candidate for jaw surgery:

  • Problems with biting, chewing or swallowing
  • Chronic jaw or jaw joint (TMJ) pain and headaches
  • Tooth surfaces which are excessively worn down
  • Open bite (when the upper and lower teeth do not come together when the mouth is closed)
  • Asymmetrical facial appearance
  • Birth defect or facial injury
  • A receding chin or protruding jaw
  • Difficulty closing the lips completely without effort
  • Chronic mouth breathing and dry mouth
  • Sleep apnea

What to Expect during Jaw Surgery

While every case is unique, our orthodontists Dr. Knapp and Dr. Grimslid can provide you with a general overview of what it’s like to undergo orthognathic surgery. The first step in the process involves a collaboration between your family dentist, your orthodontist, and your oral surgeon (should they be different people). Together, these professionals will devise an individualized treatment plan, which may include orthodontic treatment along with your surgery.

The plan is meticulously designed using diagnostic images, 3D models, and advanced computer software. Thanks to innovations in computer imaging software, you may even be able to see what you will look like once treatment is completed.

The actual jaw surgery may take place in a hospital or office setting and will utilize the most appropriate type of anesthesia. After the surgery, you can typically control minor pain and swelling with an over-the-counter or prescription pain medication. Your orthodontist will instruct you to follow a soft or liquid diet for a period of time after your jaw surgery. You will be closely monitored at every stage of your treatment plan, including the time following surgery.

Contact Your Trusted Orthodontist

Undergoing jaw surgery (or orthognathic surgery) can provide you with improved jaw function and a more attractive smile. If you have any questions or concerns about corrective jaw surgery, please contact our La Crosse, Holmen, West Salem, or Onalaska office. We’re always happy to speak with you!

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