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If you are considering orthodontics and jaw surgery (orthodontic treatment) you may have a number of questions you would like answered.

Why might I need this treatment?

In order to correct the position of the teeth and provide a better functioning bite, the jaw bones must be in the correct position. if this is not the case, Orthodontics alone cannot correct the bite. Surgery will be needed to move the jaws into the right position so the teeth can be moved to meet evenly.

If I need jaw surgery, why do I also required orthodontics ?

If the jaws are to be moved into the correct position, it is important your teeth are moved so that they will meet evenly after surgery. It is likely that your bite may appear worse before surgery.

What type of brace will I need to wear ?

Fixed braces are used prior to jaw surgery because they allow the most accurate positioning of the teeth before the operation.

Are the braces removed just before the operation ?

No. The braces stay in position during and after the operation for a number of months. During the operation they help the surgeon to position the jaws evenly. After the operation they help the orthodontist "fine tune" the bite with the aid of elastic bonds.

How will the operation be done?

The majority of the operation will be done from inside your mouth when you are a sleep (Under a general anaesthetic).

Will my jaws be wired together ?

No. Patients having jaws surgery used to have their teeth wired together for 6 - 8 weeks afterwards. This is now uncommon as small metal plates and screws are used to hold the bones together. These plates are on the surface of the bone but beneath the skin, and generally remain in place forever. Very occasionally they are removed at a later date.

Are there any after effects?

You will have some swelling and bruising after the operation. This will rapidly go down over the first 3 - 4 weeks but it may take upto 12 months for the swelling to resolve completely. For operations on the lower jaw it is fairly common to have some numbness of the lower lip for some weeks or months afterwards. Some patients may have permanent patch of numbness or tingling. This numbness will not effect movement of your lip, only the feeling in it, in a similar way to an injecton at the dentist. As with any operation, you will have to take it easy for the first week or two afterwards. You may need to be off college / work for up to 6 weeks.

How long will I have in hospital ?

This varies, but in general between 2 - 4 days..

Can I eat normally?

Yes, up until the operation you should be able to eat normally. For your orthodontic treatment to work well lined in the shortest possible time it is important you to take care of your teeth and brace.

In order to prevent damage to both, you should avoid the following:

  • toffees, boiled sweets, sugared chewing gum, chocolate bars, etc.
  • fizzy drinks including diet drinks, excessive amount of fruit juice.
  • hard fruits which might damge the brace such as crunchy apples, crusty bread rolls, etc. Hard fruits can be eaten with care if you cut them up first.

After the operation you will need to have a very soft diet for the first few weeks. The dietician at the hospital will advice you about this nearer the time. Following your operation you will need to pay special attention to your oral hygiene.

Will i look very different after the operation?

You will almost certainly look different to some degree. How different, depends on how much movement of the jaws is needed. You should discuss this with your oral and maxillofacial surgeon / orthodontist.

How long will the overall treatment take?

It usually takes 24 to 36 months but will vary according to how severe your case is. Missed and cancelled appointments or repeated breakages of the brace will add to the overall treatment time.

How often will i need an appointment?

You will need regular appointments with the orthodontist during treatment for the brace to be adjusted and leading up to your surgery.

Do i still need to see my regular my dentist?

Yes. It will be important you still have check-ups with your regular dentist throughout orthodontic treatment so that your teeth can be checked for tooth decay and gum disease.

Smoking and orthognathic treatment?

Something poses a risk to your oral and general health. If you smole before and after your surgery you are at greater risk of developing post-operative complications such as an infection.