LACOMS of Bakersfield is one of the top orthognathic surgery practices in the nation, treating patients from all over Bakersfield, southern California, and beyond. Orthognathic surgery is also commonly referred to as corrective jaw surgery because it refers to any procedure that corrects skeletal issues and bite problems in order to improve the alignment of a person’s bite, facial balance, and increase the size of the airway. Our doctors have been partners for almost a decade, and in that time they have performed over a thousand successful orthognathic procedures.
Beginning with your initial consultation, we develop a treatment plan with your unique needs in mind to ensure you have the best patient experience. Our staff of multiple orthognathic specialized assistants and skilled treatment coordinators work harmoniously to ensure your experience is a positive one. We perform orthognathic surgery both in our office and in the hospital; if your procedure is planned for our office, you can take comfort in knowing we are Joint Commission accredited, which means that our offices and staff meet the highest standards of care.
Benefits of Orthognathic Surgery
Patients who suffer from discomfort, bite misalignment, or other issues can greatly benefit from this treatment.
Several of the advantages of jaw surgery include the following:
- Prevents dental problems: Surgery can prevent excessive tooth wear, which often occurs when patients suffer from alignment problems and causes other dental problems if not addressed.
- Better eating function: Orthognathic surgery typically improves patients’ diets because once their bite is corrected, it’s easier to chew and digest a wider variety of foods.
- Improves breathing/sleep apnea symptoms: When the jaws are misaligned, it can restrict the area and make it difficult to close the lips completely. These problems can lead trouble breathing and sleep apnea. Jaw surgery has been known to improve these types of breathing problems.
- Improvements in facial balance and symmetry: Once the jaws have been re-positioned, it typically restores balance to your facial features. Our oral surgeons understand the importance of preserving your facial aesthetics.
Our practice specializes in advanced treatments such as orthognathic surgery, which can help patients live a happier and healthier life. Our oral surgeons are specialists, and as such, they can often adjust your treatment to match your unique needs, such as using Invisalign® instead of traditional braces. To learn more about the advantages of visiting the specialists at LACOMS of Bakersfield, please contact our office.
Orthognathic Surgery Procedure
Treatment consists of three major stages: consultation with pre-surgical preparation, the surgical procedure, and the recovery period. In most cases, your treatment team includes your oral surgeon and your orthodontist working together.
During your consultation appointment, you will be able to discuss your needs and your expectations for treatment. After thoroughly examining your condition and reviewing your health history, our oral surgeons will develop a treatment plan tailored to you if necessary, we will take 3D images during this appointment, which allow us to create a more detailed treatment plan. Your surgeon will discuss all of your options with you, explain the recommended procedure, and review all risks and benefits of treatment. Once your surgeon has finished this portion of your appointment, you will have time to talk to a treatment coordinator about maximizing your insurance benefits. In general, consultation appointments last two hours.
Orthognathic surgery is a team effort between our office and your orthodontist, so following your consultation, we will communicate all of our findings and recommendations to your orthodontist; together, we will adjust and customize your treatment plan. After establishing your treatment, we will contact your insurance provider to obtain authorization for the procedure and discuss finances with you.
The first step of treatment is seeing your orthodontist to have your teeth aligned. In most cases, your orthodontist will put braces on your teeth, though we can also perform treatment with the aid of Invisalign®. The process of aligning your teeth can take anywhere from 9–18 months. Once your orthodontist determines you are almost ready for your procedure, we will see you again and schedule your surgery.
When your orthodontist decides that your teeth are properly aligned, we will schedule your surgical planning appointment (typically two weeks before your surgery). This appointment is our opportunity to obtain very precise records of your condition so we can plan your surgery down to the last detail. We will create virtual models of your teeth and facial skeletons, and then we will perform a virtual surgery. Doing so allows us to print 3D positioners and ensure your surgery is precise and accurate.
When it’s time for your surgery, you will either come into our accredited surgery center or meet us at a local hospital. Your safety and comfort are incredibly important to us, which is why we work exclusively with anesthesiologists who have extensive experience with orthognathic procedures. Once your anesthesia has taken effect, your surgeon will separate the jaws and re-place them in the proper position using biocompatible plates and screws. Thanks to advances in orthognathic surgery techniques, you will not need to have your teeth wired together for recovery. You will need to spend one night in an aftercare facility or in the hospital.
The healing process typically lasts four to six months. It’s normal for your face to swell in the first two to three days, but most swelling resolves in the first few weeks. You can use ice packs in 20-minute intervals and keep your head elevated to help reduce the effects of swelling. Bruising is common in the first few days, and in some cases may extend to your upper chest. For the first week, you will need to adhere to a strictly liquid diet, consuming only juice, brother, milk products, and liquid supplements, such as Boost® and Ensure®. Adhering to a liquid-only diet can affect your nutrition and hydration, so you should try to have four to six liquid meals a day. Do not smoke during the post-operative period. You can gently brush your teeth with a child-sized toothbrush.
We advise most patients to take off one to three weeks of school or work, depending on the extent of surgery and your specific job. We want to ensure you have a smooth recovery, so your surgeon will prescribe liquid pain medication and closely monitor your healing progress. When you’re able to open your mouth widely, your orthodontist will fine tune your braces and make the final few adjustments. The period of time you must wear your braces after surgery will not be as long as the period before surgery.
Orthognathic Surgery at LACOMS of Bakersfield
As one of the top orthognathic facilities in the country, our surgeons perform a high volume of jaw surgeries and have extensive experience. Our staff is dedicated to ensuring you have a positive patient experience and will be there for you through every step of treatment. Please contact our office in Bakersfield, CA, if you’d like more information about treatment. We would be happy to schedule you a consultation appointment to determine if this is the right solution for your needs.