Maxillary surgery, often referred to as upper jaw surgery, is a significant yet highly effective intervention for correcting a range of dental and facial irregularities. Here at Implant and Comprehensive Dentistry in Champions Gate, FL, it’s a procedure we provide regularly, and today we’re discussing just how it works and what you can expect.
How Does Maxillary Surgery Work?
What Is It?
Maxillofacial surgery can be a number of procedures that address not just the bones and tissues of the jaw and lower face, but also the palate and teeth. It’s a specialized branch of dentistry that requires advanced training and expertise. At Implant and Comprehensive Dentistry, we use this type of surgery to treat a variety of conditions, from chronic dental pain to complex jaw problems.
The primary goals of maxillofacial surgery are typically to improve jaw function and alleviate pain. The procedures can range from placing dental implants and extracting impacted teeth to more extensive treatments like bone grafting and reconstructing the jaw to correct abnormal bites. It’s also used for diagnosing and treating temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, facial trauma, congenital abnormalities, and various oral diseases.
Before undergoing maxillofacial surgery, you’ll need a comprehensive consultation with Dr. Steven Hewett, Dr. Maxwell Hewett, Dr. Christopher Russo, or Dr. Kelly Soutas. During this session, we gather detailed information about your symptoms, medical history, current medications, and conduct a thorough examination of your oral cavity and surrounding areas. This may include ordering dental X-rays or 3D scans to get detailed images of your maxillofacial structures.
The nature of maxillofacial surgery varies greatly depending on the specific problem and procedure. Some surgeries are outpatient procedures, allowing you to return home the same day. More complex cases might require multiple surgeries. Rest assured that you’ll be under anesthesia or sedation, ensuring your comfort during the procedure. After the surgery, we may use stitches to close any surgical wounds and place packing in your mouth to protect the wound and absorb fluids.
Our team makes precise incisions inside your mouth in most cases, minimizing visible scarring. In some cases, we may perform osteotomies – specific bone cuts – allowing us to move the jaw. In others, small bone plates, screws, or wires are used to secure the new alignment. The specific technique will depend on exactly what concern is being addressed.
Post-Surgical Care and Recovery
Post-surgery, our focus is on your smooth and efficient recovery. We’ll provide you with comprehensive care instructions, including dietary guidelines and oral hygiene practices that will keep you comfortable and protect the surgical site. Swelling is common but subsides within weeks. The initial jaw healing takes about six weeks, with complete recovery taking up to 12 weeks. Post-surgical orthodontic treatment, including braces and retainers, may continue for several years to ensure proper alignment and healing.
Who Is a Candidate for Maxillary Surgery?
Maxillary surgery is most suitable for individuals experiencing jaw problems that cannot be corrected through orthodontics alone. It is typically recommended for adults, as the procedure is most effective after growth stops. For females, this is usually around ages 14 to 16, and for males, between 17 and 21 years.
What Surgery Can Address
Misalignment of Jaws and Teeth
This surgery is pivotal in correcting misalignment like overbites, where the upper teeth extend over the lower teeth, and underbites, where the lower teeth protrude beyond the upper. Crossbites, involving a misalignment of the dental arches, and open bites, where the upper and lower teeth don’t touch when the mouth is closed, are also effectively treated. These conditions often lead to difficulties in biting and chewing and can cause uneven wear on the teeth.
Maxillary surgery plays a crucial role in correcting facial asymmetries. This includes treating smaller-than-average chins, unbalanced jaw positions, or other irregularities in facial structure. By adjusting the jaw, the surgery brings a more harmonious and balanced appearance to the face, enhancing both functional and aesthetic aspects.
Chewing, Swallowing, and Speech Problems
Problems with chewing and swallowing often stem from improper alignment of the jaws. Maxillary surgery helps in realigning the jaws, thereby making these essential functions more efficient and comfortable. Additionally, speech difficulties linked to jaw misalignment can be significantly improved, enhancing both clarity and comfort in speech.
TMJ Disorders and Pain Relief
Conditions affecting the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which can cause pain and limited movement of the jaw, are also addressed through jaw surgery. The procedure can realign the jaw, relieving stress on the TMJ and reducing symptoms like pain and clicking sounds during jaw movement.
In cases where obstructive sleep apnea is linked to the structure of the jaw, jaw surgery can be an effective treatment. By adjusting the position of the jaw, the surgery can open up the airway, reducing or eliminating the occurrences of sleep apnea and resulting in better quality sleep and overall health.
Facial Injuries or Birth Defects
This surgery is also instrumental in repairing facial injuries resulting from trauma and correcting congenital abnormalities, such as cleft lip and palate. These corrections not only restore functionality but also significantly improve facial aesthetics and symmetry.
Benefits of Maxillary Surgery
Undergoing maxillary surgery offers a range of benefits, significantly improving both oral functionality and facial aesthetics. The procedure enhances the ability to bite, chew, and speak more effectively. By aligning the jaws properly, it ensures that the bite functions smoothly, reducing strain and improving overall oral function. In addition, it can:
Reduce Wear on Teeth
Correcting jaw misalignment prevents excessive and uneven wear on the teeth. This preserves the teeth’s structural integrity and reduces the risk of dental complications in the future.
Enhance Facial Symmetry
This surgery can transform facial appearance by correcting imbalances, resulting in a more symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing facial structure. This often leads to improved self-esteem and confidence.
The procedure offers relief from discomfort and pain, especially in cases of TMJ disorders and other jaw-related issues. It reduces the strain on the jaw muscles and joints, leading to a more comfortable and pain-free jaw function.
Contact Us Now to Learn More
Maxillary surgery is a comprehensive and effective solution for addressing a wide range of jaw and dental issues. It requires a commitment to the process but offers significant long-term benefits in terms of functionality, appearance, and overall quality of life. Come talk to us at Comprehensive Dentistry in Champions Gate, FL today.