Corrective jaw surgery (dentofacial osteotomy) is commonly performed in young adults in whom orthodontics cannot completely correct a poor “bite” (malocclusion), or those whose facial proportions are not ideal. It is classified as oral surgery that involves the cutting, moving, modifying and realignment to correct common dentofacial deformities such as:
- Underbite: the lower jaw protrudes out significantly causing the lower teeth to overlap the upper teeth, causing what appears to be a large chin.
- Overbite: the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth forcing the lower jaw backward towards the ears causing small or “invisible” chin.
- Crossbite: mis-matched jaw sizes or crooked jaw and teeth alignment
- Open Bite: jaws cause teeth to protrude outwards causing open space between upper and lower jaw even when the mouth is closed
- Vertical Maxillary Excess (Long Face Syndrome): Overly long, vertically tapering facial shape with a “gummy smile”, non-closing lips, a deficient lower jaw, and retruded chin. Accompanied by problems with mastication (chewing), speech articulation, nasal aiflow, and lip closure.
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After your initial consultation, very detailed facial mapping is performed, along with “model surgery” on either a dental cast or within a 3D-modelling “virtual surgery” software program prior to the operation. Using medical imaging data from CT scans, CBCT imaging, and occlusal anatomy data, the 3D visualization software allows for a complete simulation of the procedure including surgically accurate placement of osteotomies and bone-related movements. Your surgery is made more predictable and efficient by being able to visualize your jaw anatomy all the way through the planning process. It helps your surgeon to identify where bony overlaps and gaps exist, all before surgery, ensuring a very accurate alignment that is necessary to produce the desired result.
Whilst corrective jaw surgery is performed primarily to correct functional problems of the jaw, your appearance may also be altered. This is where the orthognathic surgeon’s skill meets that of the plastic surgeon: to be able to not only address the mechanical issues of how the jaws work together, but also to possess the aesthetic sense of an artist to ensure a pleasing result.