Corrective Jaw Surgery Process
Referral for jaw surgery
Mr Gurney and Mr Sloane welcome referrals from dentists or orthodontists to discuss the option of ‘combined treatment’ with braces and jaw surgery. Equally, patients can make individual enquiries and we can discuss all available options.
An initial full set of records is paramount to consider jaw surgery. This normally consists of x-rays, clinical photographs, study models and sometimes a scan such as a cone beam or medical grade CT.
At the joint consultation, Ben and James will often meet with you together to discuss the process and treatment in full. This will be in full correspondence with the orthodontist who is going to be looking after the brace treatment before and after surgery. We will provide all the available options, and have a full discussion of the treatment process, the timelines, associated risks and aftercare.
Often patients find a second consultation is helpful, having had time to reflect, to confirm the treatment plan and answer any further questions they may have.
Commence pre-surgical orthodontics
The first stage is generally for fixed braces to be attached to the teeth to start to level, align and coordinate the teeth in preparation for future jaw surgery. If space needs to be created, then a small number of teeth may require extraction and this may include the wisdom teeth. In a limited number of cases, the upper jaw may need careful widening which can either be done with a device attached to the brace or indeed by a surgical procedure called a SARPE – surgically assisted rapid palatal expansion.
When teeth arches are aligned and coordinated ready for surgery
The pre-surgical orthodontic phase usually lasts 12-18 months and then the teeth will be fully prepared for jaw surgery. At this stage, Ben and James will meet with you again to take a fresh set of records and then agree on the exact jaw movements to take place during surgery. This is the formal planning stage and is a crucial step of the process. Increasingly, this planning of jaw surgery is done digitally using 3D planning software which is particularly helpful for complex jaw deformities and facial asymmetry cases.
Jaw Surgery involves a general anaesthetic and normally a one night stay in hospital after the procedure. The surgery itself lasts between 1 and 3 hours depending on the complexity. Initial swelling is expected but complications are very rare and recovery takes place at home with simple painkillers. Patients generally need 3 weeks off work or study to recover and should have a soft diet for 4 weeks. You will be reviewed regularly for by your surgeon and orthodontist during this period.
You will then have a period of post-surgical orthodontic treatment lasting 6- 9 months to ensure the teeth and bite are settled and in the very best position. The braces will be removed by the orthodontist and you will be asked to wear a removable retainer at night to ensure the new position of the teeth remains stable.