Jaw Surgery

Orthognathic Surgery

Orthognathic Surgery Presentation

To provide you with a better understanding of orthognathic surgery, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to orthognathic surgery are discussed.

Orthognathic Surgery Presentation

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Orthognathic surgery is needed when the upper and lower jaws do not meet correctly. The jaws, also referred to as the mid and lower face, may not be of the same size, parallel and symmetric or a combination of these problems. Teeth are first decompensated and aligned on the jaws with orthodontics, then reconstructive facial surgery repositions the misaligned jaws. This not only improves facial appearance, but also ensures that teeth meet correctly and function properly.

Please remember all of the procedures described here are surgical procedures. These surgical procedures are best performed by oral and maxillofacial surgeons. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are the only dental specialists who are fully trained in all of these surgical procedures. Dr. Schelkun, Dr. Kienle and Dr. Steinkeler are all fully trained and experienced in these surgical procedures. All doctors in our practice are board certified in oral and maxillofacial surgery and in anesthesia, and have also earned both a medical and a dental degree.

Drs. Schelkun, Kienle and Steinkeler have the only practice in the Delaware Valley/Tri-State area where all of the surgeons have both their medical and dental degrees, and are board certified in oral and maxillofacial surgery and anesthesia, and in which all of our surgical facilities are fully accredited by the Joint Commission. You can be assured that Drs. Schelkun, Kienle and Steinkeler have the best training and experience, along with the proper staff and facilities, to provide you with exceptional safe and comfortable surgical care.

Who Needs Orthognathic Surgery?

People who can benefit from jaw surgery include those with an improper bite or jaws that are positioned incorrectly. Jaw growth is a gradual process and, in some instances, the upper and lower jaws may grow at different rates. The result can be a host of problems that can affect chewing function, speech, long-term oral health, temporomandibular joint function and appearance. An injury to the jaw and birth defects can also affect jaw alignment. Orthodontics alone can correct bite problems if the mid and lower facial segments are of the same size, parallel and symmetric. Orthognathic reconstructive surgery may be required if the jaws are not the same size, symmetric and/or parallel.

Difficulty in the following areas should be evaluated:

  • difficulty in chewing, biting or swallowing
  • speech problems
  • chronic jaw or TMJ pain
  • open bite
  • protruding jaw
  • breathing problems

Any of these can exist at birth or may be acquired after birth as a result of hereditary or environmental influences or trauma to the face. Before any treatment begins, a consultation will be held to perform a complete examination with x-rays, photos and computer work-up. Feel free to ask any questions that you have regarding your treatment plan during the pre-treatment consultation process. When you are fully informed about the aspects of your care, you and your health care team will make the decision to proceed with treatment together.

Technology and Orthognathic Surgery

Drs. Schelkun, Kienle and Steinkeler use modern computer techniques and three-dimensional models to determine exactly how your surgery will be approached. Using comprehensive facial imaging and computer video imaging, we can treatment plan how your bite will be improved and even how you may look after surgery. This may help you to understand the surgical process and the extent of the treatment prescribed, and to see the benefits of orthognathic surgery.

Drs. Schelkun, Kienle and Steinkeler use rigid fixation to precisely hold the reconstructed segments in their new position. This means that our patients’ jaws are never wired together. You are able to eat and speak after surgery. Rigid fixation allows for early function and a speedier recovery.

If you are a candidate for Corrective Jaw Surgery, Drs. Schelkun, Kienle and Steinkeler will work closely with your dentist and orthodontist during your treatment. The actual surgery can move your teeth and jaws into a new position that results in a more attractive, functional and healthy dental-facial relationship.