Home Health Beyond Cleanings: Family Dentists and the Support System for Orthognathic Surgery

Beyond Cleanings: Family Dentists and the Support System for Orthognathic Surgery

A Family dentist is often the first point of contact for any dental concern. But what happens when a dental issue goes beyond a cavity or misaligned teeth? Orthognathic surgery, a specialized procedure correcting jawbone abnormalities, might be the answer. While family dentists themselves don’t perform the surgery, they play a crucial role in the entire process.

Orthognathic Surgery Understanding

Orthognathic surgery, also known as corrective jaw surgery, addresses a range of jawbone issues. These can be due to birth defects, uneven growth patterns, or injuries. Common problems include:

  • Underbites and overbites: When the upper or lower jaw protrudes excessively.
  • Open bites: When the front teeth don’t touch when the mouth closes.
  • Asymmetries: Where one side of the jaw is underdeveloped compared to the other.
  • Sleep apnea: In severe cases, jaw misalignment can contribute to sleep apnea.

The surgery itself involves repositioning the jawbone segments through precise cuts and then securing them in the correct alignment. This can significantly improve a person’s bite function, chewing ability, speech clarity, and facial appearance.

The Family Dentist’s Role

While oral and maxillofacial surgeons perform the surgery, family dentists play a vital supporting role throughout the journey. Here’s how:

  • Initial Diagnosis and Referral: During routine checkups, your family dentist can identify potential jaw discrepancies that might benefit from orthognathic surgery. They will examine your bite, facial symmetry, and any functional issues you experience.
  • Collaboration with Orthodontists: If surgery is recommended, your dentist will work closely with an orthodontist. Orthodontists use braces or other appliances to gradually move your teeth into the ideal position before surgery for optimal results.
  • Pre-Surgical Assessment: Family dentists provide a comprehensive dental health assessment before surgery. This ensures good oral hygiene and addresses any existing dental problems that could complicate the surgery or recovery.
  • Post-Surgical Care: Following surgery, your dentist closely monitors your healing progress, manages any post-surgical pain, and ensures proper oral hygiene is maintained despite limitations due to swelling or discomfort.
  • Long-Term Monitoring: After recovery, your family dentist continues to monitor your dental health and the long-term stability of your bite achieved through surgery and orthodontics.

The Importance of a Team Approach

Orthognathic surgery is a complex procedure requiring expertise from various specialists. Family dentists act as the central point of communication between the patient, orthodontists, and oral surgeons. This collaborative approach ensures a smooth and successful journey throughout treatment.

Finding the Right Family Dentist

When considering orthognathic surgery, choosing a family dentist familiar with the process is crucial. Look for a dentist who:

  • Has experience working with orthodontists and oral surgeons.
  • Stay updated on advancements in orthognathic surgery.
  • Prioritizes clear communication and patient education.


Family dentists are more than just cavity fighters. They can be your trusted guides throughout the process of orthognathic surgery, offering support, expertise, and a personalized approach to ensure a successful outcome. By working together with orthodontists and oral surgeons, they create a strong team dedicated to improving both your oral health and facial aesthetics.


Ronny Watson