Orthognathic surgery is a very pleasant
form of oral surgery
in which one or both jaw bone
s are broken and reassembled. Usually, it is done to correct a condition where the two jaws don't align properly, which would, over time, wear the teeth away or even force them out of the gums.
Before orthognathic surgery, an orthodontist fits the patient with braces to get their teeth into a suitable pre-op position. The oral surgeon then takes a number of measurements using a variety of scales and rulers in order to get an accurate physical and mathematical model of the patient's bone structure.
This is an inpatient procedure that requires a few hours in the operating room and one to three days of recovery in hospital. Blood loss is relatively minimal, and transfusions are only needed for older patients. In some cases, the oral surgeon uses bone grafts, either from the patient or from a cadaver, to help bridge the gaps created in the restructuring of the mouth.
Pain is usually slight, but swelling, numbness, and soreness occur in the face for about two weeks afterwards. Depending on which jaws are being broken where, the patient may have their jaws wired together: in any case, they won't be able to eat solid food until the swelling goes down, and will only be able to tackle hard foods after about two months of healing. A syringe and catheter are needed to shoot liquid food into the back of the mouth until the mouth regains enough feeling and mobility to drink.
If you live in a country with a Byzantine health insurance system, orthognathic surgery can set you back tens of thousands of dollars. With a bit of creative writing from the surgeon, however, insurance will usually cover around 80% of the cost, making it slightly more palatable.