Jaw Surgery

What is Jaw (orthognathic) surgery?

Orthognathic Surgery is the correction of the facial skeleton and jaw structures. The indications for this surgery are poor bite, speech difficulties, jaw joint and muscle strain or pain and disharmony of the jaw and facial form. Disharmony of jaws or jaw deformities, are mainly due to developmental anomalies. This anomaly can be further categorized into long jaws, small jaws and crooked jaws. The extent of the deformity may include the upper jaw (maxilla) and lower jaw (mandible) and associated structures including and not limited to the cheekbone, nose and orbits.

Orthognathic surgery is common with hundreds of cases done in Singapore every year in all the hospitals. Most Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons and some Plastic Surgeons offer this surgery. The surgery is usually performed in conjunction with braces treatment but the sequence may vary.

FAQs

Upper and lower jaws are bases for our teeth. In some patients, there are anomalies in the size and lengths of the upper and lower jaws. If the discrepancy is excessive, braces alone will not be able to correct the bite or teeth alignment well . in such cases, jaw surgery is indicated to realign the jaws to ideal positions for braces treatment.

The surgery is performed primarily to improve the jaw harmony and the chewing and biting function of your mouth. However, there will be improvement of the facial appearance after surgery in most patients.

The surgery is usually carried out entirely via the mouth. Therefore there should not be any visible scars on the face for most normal cases.

Form follows function. As the jaw positions are aligned and harmonised, facial appearance will improve after the jaw discrepancies are corrected and your teeth aligned. You will be able to bite, speak and chew better. In some patients, snoring is also corrected.

es. The CPF Board considers corrective jaw surgery as a medical procedure. Medisave withdrawal limit for the surgery and hospitalisation range from SGD $5000-9000.

Most insurance companies allow claims for jaw surgery as it is not a cosmetic procedure. However, it will depend on the type of policy you bought. We will be glad to assist you if your insurance company needs more details with regards to the surgery.

As the operation is performed as an inpatient procedure, you will are be required to be admitted into the hospital. Hospital stays can range between 1-3 days depending on the nature of the surgery.

Your doctor will give you specific instructions regarding your post-operation diet. However,  most patients are required to take liquid diet (consisting of water, juices, milk, soups and meal supplements) for  the first 1-2 weeks. In the subsequent 1-2 weeks, non-chew or blended diet (half boiled egg, cereals, whipped potato, porridge) is encouraged. Finally, after about a period of 1 month, the patient can start on soft diet (noodles and soupy rice) or normal diet depending on their recovery.

Most patients should avoid vigorous activities for the first 2 weeks after operation. in the next 2 weeks, patients can advance to light activities such as jogging if they feel comfortable. Swimming and water sports can only start after the wounds in the mouth have healed. Contact sports or high impact activities (martial arts, soccer and rugby) that risk injury to the face or jaws should be avoided for about 6 months.

Traditional jaw surgery requires a period of 1-2 years of braces treatment to prepare the teeth position before surgery and 6-12 months after surgery to complete the entire treatment.  However, some patients may be able to have surgery performed first or early depending on the jaw deformity. In the latter scenario, the surgery can be carried out as soon as 1-2 weeks after consultation and surgical planning, thus shortening the entire treatment process to 1-1.5 years.