Jaw surgery to correct long and short jaws is one of the basic tenants of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. Oral & Maxillofacial surgeons are extremely well trained in this area. The success of such surgeries not only requires proper planning of the actual bone surgery itself but also a very good knowledge of the dental occlusion.
Understanding of the orthodontists’ (braces specialist’s) treatment plan is crucial, so that there can be meaningful discussions and co-planning to ensure an optimum outcome for the patient. Other disciplines, like Plastic Surgery do not have this advantage, as the training is not anchored in dentistry. The sequence of treatment includes proper consultations with both the oral & maxillofacial surgeon and orthodontist before a tentative plan is proposed. The patient’s concerns are carefully noted and the plans directed towards addressing this concern.
Most jaw surgeries are indicated when the orthodontist (braces doctor) finds that the teeth cannot be moved to meet despite the best efforts. This can be due to a larger difference than usual of the distance between the upper and lower jaw arches. There are also cases when the upper or lower jaw arches are developed in an asymmetric manner. These are indications for jaw (bone) surgery.
The standard protocol will involve a proper assessment of the patient by both the orthodontist and the oral & maxillofacial surgeon. A tentative orthodontic and surgical plan is worked out and presented to the patient and family. Such treatment generally begins with braces for about nine months to a year. At this point, the patient will be ‘ready’ for surgery. The surgery is carried out and the braces treatment continued for another year. In total, such treatments will last for about two to two and a half years.
Surgeries are different in every case but it generally involves a five day hospitalization stay followed by three to six weeks of medical leave.
At the end of treatment, both orthodontist and oral & maxillofacial surgeons will follow up the patients for up to five years to ensure good healing and long term stability of the surgery outcome.