Double Jaw Surgery: 6 Reasons, Cost and Recovery Time

Double jaw surgery involves both jaws. It is usually carried out to fix jaw abnormalities. The jaw is one part of the body that sometimes has abnormality. The abnormality can affect either of the jaws or both. These abnormalities can be treated with methods like medications, muscle relaxants, botox injections or orthodontic chains, in cases where these treatment methods do not correct the jaws, surgery is considered.

The surgery can be done on the

  • Mandible (lower jaw)
  • Maxilla (upper jaw)
  • Bimaxillary osteotomy (Upper and lower jaws)

REASONS FOR DOUBLE JAW SURGERY

There are many reasons why bimaxillary osteotomy is carried out, some of them are to:

1. Balance Facial Features

Imagine a face where the jaws are not properly aligned, this may lead to incorrect facial features. This can cause low self-esteem and lack of self confidence. To balance how the face looks, double jaw surgery is done to correct small chin, gummy smile, incorrect jaw size or jaws that are not aligned.

2. Improve Jaw Function

The jaws are not just on our faces to improve our looks but to help us perform functions like speaking, eating, swallowing, biting and chewing. If the jaws are not normal or have deformities, these basic functions will be difficult to perform and can cause pain as well.

3. Repair Misaligned Jaws

If your upper jaw and lower jaw do not come together, then your jaws are misaligned. Aligned jaws allow the upper teeth and jaw to fit over the lower teeth slightly. Misaligned jaws can lap sideways, allow the lower teeth to extend outward farther than the upper front teeth, cause open bite and deep overbite or make the jaws to meet at wrong angles. 

4. Correct Wrong Jaw Size

Some jaws may not grow at the same speed or rate, this will make one jaw to be overdeveloped or underdeveloped than the other. This gives an unbalanced facial feature and makes it difficult to perform basic functions.

5. Relieve Obstructive Sleep Apnea

This condition, obstructive sleep apnea can cause a person’s airways to become narrow causing breathing to stop temporarily while sleeping. Double jaw surgery is done to improve this condition and makes it easier to breathe even while sleeping.

6. Ease or Alleviate Facial Pain

When you have disordered jaws, you can experience pain around your jaws including your ears and even the face. Chewing becomes painful and difficult as well.

DOUBLE JAW SURGERY GONE WRONG 

Double jaw surgery is very important to correct jaw abnormalities and improve one’s facial features, however, there may be risks or complications associated with the procedure. Some bimaxillary osteotomy may go wrong and the following risks may occur:

1. Jaw Fracture

During the surgery, the jaw may fracture or a bad split may happen, this can cause pain and need another surgery to correct it.

2. Hearing Problems

If the muscles surrounding the jaws are stretched or they got swollen, hearing problems may happen. This condition may be temporary like most cases.

3. Numbness of the Lips

Feeling numbness of the lips after the procedure is normal but if any of the nerves experienced trauma, this numbness will not be termed normal and it will become permanent.

4. Recurring Jaw Abnormalities

Most times, after the surgery, the jaws may seem normal but will go back to their incorrect positions after some time.

5. TMJ Dysfunction

If you have temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders and go through double jaw surgery to correct it, there are chances that this disorder will become worse if the procedure goes wrong.

6. You may need a second double jaw surgery

If the first procedure does not correct your jaws abnormalities or they recur, you may need a second surgery. This will mean going through pains and recovery process again. You can get surgery infections or other risks that may come with surgeries.

PROCEDURE FOR DOUBLE JAW SURGERY

Before the double jaw surgery is done, the patient will be required to wear braces. This procedure may take up to 3 or 4 hours, sometimes longer and it is done under general anaesthesia. The surgeon works on both jaws one after the other, usually out of the two techniques for the lower jaw, one will be used. The surgeon may decide to use technique one for the lower jaw which involves cutting the back of the jaw diagonally into two places, one on the right and the other on the left.

After the incision, the protruding or detruding lower jaw backward or forward depending on the cause of the abnormality. The next step is to secure the lower jaw with titanium screws and plates sometimes. This procedure is popularly used by surgeons because the patient does not need to have the jaw wired shut for a long time, this technique also makes the segments to be rigidly fixated.

The other technique for the lower jaw involves making cuts at the back of the lower jaw vertically. This makes it easier for the lower jaw to be trimmed, repositioned and moved backwards without using wires and pins. However, the patient needs to have the teeth shut with wires for many weeks during the recovery time. There are no pain or complications and this technique should be done by a skilled and experienced surgeon.

After the lower jaw is worked on, the upper jaw is next. Cuts are made on the upper bone just above the area around the level of the tooth roots. The cuts are made to separate the skull from the upper jaw. Then, titanium plates and screws are used to reposition the upper jaw to its proper place. If there are needs to add bones to the jaws, the surgeon will have to bones tissues from other parts of the body.

But if the jaws are to be shortened, some bone tissues may be removed. The reason for the cuts made inside the mouth or at the back of the jaw is to avoid having visible scars after the procedure.

DOUBLE JAW SURGERY RECOVERY TIMELINE

You are not expected to leave the hospital immediately after the double jaw surgery as you will be placed under close observation. The number of days you will spend depends on how severe your surgery was or your progress during recovery. You will need to stay away from normal activities for like 3 to 8 weeks. 

After the procedure, you will feel:

1. Numbness: This is normal and may take at least three months to go away unless the surgery went wrong or complications come up.
2. Pain: Just like other surgery, you will feel pain. This can be managed by taking pain relief drugs prescribed by your doctor.
3. Stiffness You will feel your jaws being stiff and you will not be able to move or open your jaws normally for few weeks.
4. Swelling: Swelling will occur because of the many cuts but they will likely go down in 48 hours but will completely go away in couple of weeks.
5. Blocked Nose: Blocked nose and discharge of blood can occur, this is normal. You should avoid blowing your nose to avoid further complications. This will go away in days.
6. Dry Lips: You will have chapped, dry lips.

To reduce this effect, you can use lip moisturizer always. It is important to see your doctor for appointments to know your recovery process and how well you are doing. Your doctor will give you some instructions to help fasten how you heal, some instructions will be

  • Rest as much as possible
  • Stay hydrated
  • Avoid alcohol, smoking and strenuous activities
  • Keeping up with your dental hygiene
  • Avoiding hard foods and taking only soft foods so as not to stress the jaws.
  • The whole recovery time can last from 6 weeks to 12 weeks for you to become fully healed.

DOUBLE JAW SURGERY COST

Factors like the hospital where the double jaw surgery is taking place, the doctor’s experience and how severe your abnormalities are will determine how much you will be charged. If the surgery is done to improve health like reducing TMJ or improve obstructive sleep apnea, health insurance can cover the surgery or pay part of it. If you are to co-pay with health insurance, you can pay between $100 to $5,000 depending on the total cost.

If it is done to improve facial features and balance the jaws, you may have to pay for the cost alone. The cost can be between $20,000- $40,000 including every expenses. If you will need braces after the surgery, the total cost may come up to $56,000.

OVERBITE DOUBLE JAW SURGERY

Overbite can occur when the front teeth comes out over the lower teeth, this can cause the jaws to meet at abnormal angle. This can be cause by some childhood habits like thumb sucking, using pacifiers or even tongue thrusting. Other causes can be genetics, impacted teeth or tumors in the mouth. If this is not taken care of, it can result to improper facial feature, difficulty in chewing, speech impediment, breathing difficulties, and pain when chewing. Double jaw surgery is one of the ways to correct this abnormality. The surgeon determines the best technique for correcting this.

DOUBLE JAW SURGERY BEFORE AND AFTER

Here are some pictures that shows how the jaws look like before and after having a double jaw surgery.

Double Jaw Surgery: 6 Reasons, Cost and Recovery Time
Double Jaw Surgery: 6 Reasons, Cost and Recovery Time

CONCLUSION

Double jaw surgery is done to correct abnormalities in both jaws. If you have underbite, overbite or misalignment, you can consider having the surgery if other methods did not help. There may be risks but it is better to seek the services of an experienced, skilled and certified surgeon to carry out the procedure. Take enough time to rest and properly heal, take pin relief drugs prescribed by your doctor and avoid some things like hard foods, smoking and alcohol.

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