‘Orthognathic is derived from two Greek words ‘Orthos’ and “Gnathos’ which means ‘straight’ and ‘jaws’ respectively. Thus the word “Orthognathic” literally means straight jaws or straightening of jaws. Orthognathic surgery is the process of correcting or straightening any crookedness or deformity of the jaws. This surgery is mostly done to correct such deformities that may cause discomfort while talking, eating, chewing, etc. Orthognathic surgery is also done to improve the way the teeth fit together and to optimize the facial proportions in people who have obstructive sleep apnea. Apart from the functional benefits of getting orthognathic surgery, there are also aesthetic benefits of getting orthognathic surgery. Today, orthognathic surgery involves a wide spectrum of surgical procedures that can be done on the upper jaw, lower jaw, and the chin to improve the form and the function of the jaw.
The cosmetic aspect of Orthognathic Surgery
Although orthognathic surgery has an aesthetic aspect, it cannot be entirely regarded as cosmetic surgery because cosmetic surgeries are aimed to improve and enhance body parts that are already normal. For instance, some people receive cosmetic surgeries to look like their favorite celebrities. However, orthognathic surgery helps in normalizing a deformed jawbone. This deformity may be either by birth or may be acquired due to any trauma. Only when people have jaw deformities that do not cause any functional difficulties, getting an orthognathic surgery done is said to have an aesthetic angle. Otherwise, in all other cases where functional difficulties are reported, it can be safely concluded that orthognathic surgery is more therapeutic and not aesthetic. Usually, Genioplasty or chin augmentation is considered a cosmetic procedure but in sleep apnea cases, a genioplasty procedure is done for a functional aspect to reduce the severity of sleep apnea.
The Therapeutic Aspect of Orthognathic Surgery
Orthognathic surgery is also aimed to treat people with jaw deformities that affect their daily activities such as speech, chewing food, sleep apnea, mouth breathing, etc. Several congenital and developmental deformities can cause problems and can affect masticatory function, speech function and in some cases can cause severe pain (TMJ). So Orthognathic surgery is a boon to address these deformities to restore functionalities.
So is Orthognathic Surgery both Therapeutic and Cosmetic?
Yes, we can say so. People who seek orthognathic surgery are not only seeking a solution to their functional deficits but in the course of it seeking to improve the facial aesthetic by default. The aesthetic outcome of the surgery is rather a default outcome when deformities are corrected. Hence orthognathic treatment satisfies both functional and aesthetic objectives even though it is not considered strictly a cosmetic surgery.