During Treatment


Preparation for orthognathic surgery generally involves orthodontic care for as little as a few months up to a year or longer, depending upon the complexity of the case. During this time your orthodontist will align your teeth so that they will fit properly when the jaw(s) are surgically re-positioned. It is common, even expected, that the dental malocclusion will become more noticeable during this pre-operative period of treatment. Braces will remain on your teeth throughout the entire treatment process, including during surgery.

You will be re-evaluated once your orthodontist feels that you are nearly ready for surgery. A surgical date may be scheduled at that time, and this will be coordinated with a preoperative office appointment.

Surgery is done at Northridge Hospital Medical Center. Our office staff will make the necessary arrangements, including a pre-admission appointment. In most cases we will ask your personal physician to complete a pre-operative physical examination (H&P) prior to surgery.

Most surgery starts early in the morning. Out of town patients may want to stay nearby the night before surgery. We can recommend local accommodations that are a short distance from the hospital. Patients undergoing surgical procedures on only one jaw may go home the same day, while patients having surgery on both jaws will most likely stay overnight. Patients often ask if their jaws will be wired together after surgery. It is seldom necessary to wire the jaws together after corrective jaw surgery. In general, the jaws are immobilized securely with rubber bands for the first one to two weeks, and then lightly for an additional three to five weeks.

Patients should expect to use meal replacement drinks for a balanced diet the first one to two weeks after surgery. Afterward, they may advance to a blended diet until about the sixth to eigth post-operative week, at which time they generally begin a solid diet. Healing will be closely monitored for the first few months after surgery.

Most patients are concerned about the degree of pain they will experience after surgery. While pain can be expected after any type of surgery, many orthognathic surgery patients tell us that their post-surgical discomfort was much less than they anticipated. We of course prescribe the pain medications you may need to transition through the recovery process with as much comfort as possible.

Facial swelling, while variable, is an inevitable part of the healing process. Swelling generally increases for a couple of days after surgery before beginning to subside. Cold packs, head elevation, and use of the facial muscles will help to reduce swelling. Much of the swelling resolves within the first few weeks after surgery, but more subtle changes in your facial appearance will continue for up to a year.

Many of our patients either work or attend school. Students generally elect to have surgery during a school vacation. Depending upon the specific plan, our working patients should allow one to three weeks for a level of recovery that will permit them to return to work, though the recovery time may be longer for certain occupations.

We will advise you when it is time to return to your orthodontist to resume orthodontic treatment, usually about one month after surgery. At this time, much of the orthodontic treatment has been accomplished and your orthodontist may only need to fine-tune the dental occlusion. This important process may take as little as a few months to as long as a year. We follow our patients throughout this process, though with less frequency, until the completion of orthodontic treatment. We always enjoy seeing our patients after the conclusion of active orthodontic treatment. At that visit, we like to ensure that the plan has been a success, both for the surgeon and the patient.



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Northridge Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery - Dr. Ted Feder
9066 Tampa Avenue, Northridge CA 91324 - ph. 818-993-3700

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