Orthognathic surgery is a fancy name for jaw surgery. It’s not just one kind of surgery and can be used on your jaws, your chin and your teeth. It also has the distinction of being the type of plastic surgery that improves the functioning of the structures that make up your face as well as its aesthetics. Read on to learn more about orthognathic surgery:

Improve Your Jawline

There are three ways to improve your jawline. One is maxillary osteotomy, which is done if your upper jaw is not in alignment with your lower jaw and protrudes or recedes to the point where your face is unbalanced. This type of surgery also corrects problems with your teeth such as cross bite or open bite.

If your lower jaw is not in alignment with your upper jaw, surgeons perform mandibular osteotomy. Some people have problems with both of their jaws, and they are treated with double jaw surgery, which is also called bilateral osteotomy.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Oral and maxillofacial surgery repairs or corrects defects or trauma that involve the jaw. In bilateral sagittal split osteotomy, the surgeon makes cuts to both sides of the jawbone to move it backward or forward until it aligns with the upper jawbone. This surgery can be used with another surgery called genioplasty, where the chin is pulled forward or backward until the facial structures are balanced. In LeFort osteotomies, the upper jaw is corrected. There are I, II, and III type LeFort osteotomies.

Improve Your Smile

Jaw surgery also improves the look of your smile by fixing problems such as cross bite, open bite, underbite and cleft lip and palate. Cross bite is when some of the teeth on your lower jaw stick out past your upper teeth. An underbite is when all of your lower teeth stick out past your upper teeth. Ideally, your teeth should come together when you shut your mouth. If they don’t, that’s called an open bite.

People are born with a cleft lip and a cleft palate. A cleft palate is an opening in the palate, or roof of your mouth. A cleft lip is when the opening in the palate extends to the upper lip. Most patients who are treated for this condition are babies or young children.

As can be seen, jaw surgery can do a great deal toward improving your looks, whether making your chin more proportional or improving both your smile and your ability to eat, speak, and breathe. Orthognathic surgery is a multi-stage process that can take as long as three years, for it requires that your teeth and jaws be prepared for the surgery, undergoing the operation itself, recovery, and more long-term treatment. Yet when it comes to the improvement of your facial features, most patients believe it's worth it.

Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University and now enjoys writing about health, business, and family. A mother of two wonderful children, she loves traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can find her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.

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