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Understanding Rigid Fixation Jaw Surgery

By markplatt on June 27, 2014


A patient after a dental visitOral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates is one of the leaders in advanced orthodontic surgery, dental surgery, and facial trauma surgery in southern Alabama. With offices in Montgomery, Prattville, and Troy, we can meet diverse oral surgery and advanced dental surgery needs, using the latest techniques and technologies to enhance health and wellness.

When it comes to revision and reconstruction of the jaw and palate, one option that's quite effective is rigid fixation surgery. Since many matters related to maxillofacial surgery are commonly misunderstood, we want to go over the basics of rigid fixation surgery so patients get a good idea of what is involved.

About Rigid Fixation Surgery

Rigid fixation surgery refers to jaw surgeries in which plates and screws are used to assist in the repositioning of the structures of the mouth. Plates and screws can be used to stabilize the mandible (the lower jaw) or the maxillae (the palate/upper dental arch).

Reasons for Rigid Fixation Surgery

Rigid fixation surgery is used in order to address fractures or breaks in the jaw or maxilla, whether these are the result of controlled treatments (orthognathics) or facial trauma (e.g., accidents, intentional injuries).

Rigid Fixation Surgery for Orthognathics

Orthognathics refers to surgeries of the jaw and the face that are used to address abnormalities or deformities that affect the health of a patient.

One common reason that orthognathics is performed is severe malocclusion. In these cases, the misalignment of the teeth is so severe that orthodontic treatment alone will not be enough to improve dental alignment. The mandible and/or maxillae will require surgical revision and reshaping first, followed by orthodontic care.

Rigid Fixation Surgery to Treat Jaw Trauma

Major injuries to the mandible and maxillae can also be addressed through rigid fixation surgery. This is particularly important when the facial trauma affects the fundamental shape or stability of the structures of the mouth. In such cases, the plates and screws are crucial for effective reconstructive care.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Rigid Fixation Surgery

The primary advantage of rigid fixation jaw surgery is that the plates and screws hold the revised bones together firmly. There is generally no need to wire a patient's mouth shut as they heal after surgery. Patients will be able to open their mouths and close their mouths with relative ease after the surgery.

As for the disadvantages of surgery, the rigid fixation procedure tends to be more invasive than other methods, and some patients may not necessarily benefit from this form of surgery.

During your consultation at the practice, we will be more than happy to weigh all of the pros and cons of the surgery with you in more detail.

What to Expect from the Recovery Process

Even though your mouth will not be wired shut after rigid fixation surgery, you will want to restrict your diet to soft foods, liquids, and anything that requires little to no chewing. Maintain this diet until your surgeon advises you otherwise (usually one month), and make sure to gradually and conservatively incorporate other foods into your diet.

Bruising, swelling, and soreness will be common for roughly two weeks, by which point you will notice significant improvement of these side effects. Avoid strenuous physical activities and major exercise (e.g., weight training, aerobics) until advised otherwise. Speaking may take some time getting used to as you heal, but you will adjust to the new position of the bones as you continue to recover.

Discuss Your Oral Surgery Needs with Our Team

If you would like more information about jaw surgery and how our team can help you achieve a healthy smile, it's important that you contact our dental surgery centers today. The team at Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you achieve total wellness.

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