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5. Making the Decision About Jaw Surgery


Making the decision to have surgery to correct a facial skeletal deformity is difficult because it requires a commitment of time and an understanding of the risks and complications that can occur. But this is one of the most rewarding surgeries that one can have because of the positive change in appearance and the improvement in how the teeth function. While sometimes the bite can be corrected without surgery, the results are not as satisfying as properly restoring the normal anatomy of the facial bones. This surgery is rewarding as it not only improves function (eating, breathing and in some speech articulation), but also restores the normal appearance of the face. Once the facial skeleton (the structural foundation of the face) is in the ‘right’ spatial position, the nose and upper lip support improve. In many circumstances the benefits outweigh the risks of surgery. We urge you to make a fully informed decision by reading as much as possible, asking questions, talking to my patients who have had similar surgery and seeking opinions from other professionals (second opinion). If there are any questions or concerns, please openly discuss these with us or any members of our team.


Once the decision is made to go forward with surgery, it is important to realize the amount of commitment and patience required. Commitment because it means taking the time to make all the necessary appointments with the orthodontist and appointments with the surgeon. Patience because it is impossible to always predictably plan the timing of surgery and recovery. The timing of surgery is solely based on how your teeth move into position. Until the teeth are optimized for surgery, we cannot schedule a surgery date or even a temporary date. While we will make an effort, it will not always fit perfectly into vacation schedules (Summer, December and Spring breaks). With so many cases per year, our patients are having jaw surgery nearly every week of year. We are able to coordinate with schools, colleges and work.


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