Facial implants are solid, synthetic materials used to enhance or augment your facial features.
They are mostly used to add fullness, contour, and structure to the cheeks, chin, and or jaws.
However, you can have implants placed in any area of your face.
In this article, we will discuss jaw implants, how they work, how long they last, what a jaw implant procedure entails, and other relevant details.
A jaw implant procedure involves surgically placing an implant along the jawline to increase the width of the lower third of your face.
Many candidates for this surgery have misaligned teeth, open bites, overbites, or other abnormal bites that take away from their facial balance and impact oral function.
Your choice of jaw implant material will usually either be silicone or polyethylene (Medpor).
The exact size, types of implants, and technique used will depend on your individual needs and your surgeon’s recommendations.
Plastic surgeons often perform the procedure in combination with a rhinoplasty (nose job) since the nose and jaw can both contribute to facial imbalance.
Goal: Jaw implants aim to restore facial harmony by enhancing the angularity and definition of the jawline.
Ideal Candidate for Jaw Implants
The ideal candidate for a jaw implant has a jawline that’s not well defined and desires a more angular face shape.
Risks or Side Effects
Jaw implant surgery is considered safe and has high success rates and patient satisfaction.
However, like any other cosmetic procedure, it carries some risks. These include:
- Infection, which can necessitate implant removal
- Persistent pain
- Nerve damage
- A shift in implant position, which could result in the need for revisional surgery
- Severe reactions to anesthesia
- Allergic reaction to the jaw implant
- Unfavorable scarring
- Lengthened healing
- Possible asymmetry
Consultation and Preparation
In preparing for jaw implants, your surgeon may ask you to:
- Get a lab test or a medical evaluation to ensure you have overall good health and that your body can handle the surgery.
- Take certain medications or adjust your current medications.
- Stop smoking in the weeks leading up to the surgery and in the weeks after.
- Avoid taking blood-thinning medications as they can increase bleeding. These include aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and certain herbal supplements.
Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon questions during your jaw implant consultation. Ask, for example, to look at before-and-after photos to help you have realistic expectations for surgery.
You should also arrange for someone to drive you from the ambulatory surgical center or hospital as the effects of anesthesia can make driving yourself dangerous.
Jaw Implants Procedure
Speaking of anesthesia, during a jaw implant surgery, you are either administered local or general anesthesia for your comfort.
Your surgeon will determine the best option depending on your individual needs.
The next step is placing the implant within the facial tissue through incisions made inside your mouth along the jawline.
The surgeon will then use dissolvable sutures to close the incisions.
And afterward, bandage or dress the surgical site to keep it clean, manage post-surgical bleeding and oozing, and support the position of the implant. The entire procedure takes 1 to 2 hours.
What to Expect After Jaw Implants
Your surgeon will give you specific instructions about how to care for the surgical site during the recovery period.
The surgeon will also recommend medications to help manage your symptoms, reduce the likelihood of infection, and aid healing.
Moreover, he/she will notify you of the complications to look out for and when to go for your first follow-up appointment.
Some questions you may want to consider asking your surgeon regarding your recovery include:
- Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
- Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery? If yes, when will they be removed?
- Are stitches removed? When?
- When can I resume my everyday activities?
As for the results of your jaw implant surgery, although obscured by visible swelling, the initial results will be noticeable immediately.
The swelling should subside within 3 to 4 weeks but may take several months to dissipate completely. The final results will be long-lasting and will take nine months to appear.
Aside from swelling, you will also experience mild to moderate discomfort and have some bruising on your face and neck immediately after surgery.
Your mouth will also feel sore and stiff for several weeks after treatment. Overall, you should expect good results, but there is no guarantee. Another surgery may be necessary to achieve optimal results.
Following the specific post-operative instructions provided by your surgeon are essential to the success of your surgery. These instructions include:
- Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol for at least a few weeks.
- Sleeping with your head elevated and avoiding sleeping face down.
- Avoid subjecting your surgical incision to excessive force, abrasion, or motion during the healing period.
Jaw Implants Cost
The average cost for jaw implants in the United States ranges between $2,000 to $4,000. Your final fee may include:
- Medical tests
- Anesthesia fees
- Hospital/surgical facility fees
- Prescription medications
- Surgeon’s fee: based on factors such as the surgeon’s experience and the geographic office location
Many health insurance providers do not offer coverage for jaw implant surgery or other surgeries to enhance facial appearance.
So be sure to review your health insurance policy before scheduling your surgery.
Note: many plastic surgeons offer patient financing plans for facial implants, including jaw implants, so be sure to ask.
Finding a Provider
If you are considering jaw implant surgery, you’ll have a lot of choices to make. And selecting a board-certified plastic surgeon is the most important.
When making this critical decision, consider the three E’s, i.e., expertise, experience, and exceptional results.
Ask yourself the following questions regarding the surgeon you are assessing:
- Does my surgeon have the expertise needed to perform jaw implant surgery safely?
- Does he/she have experience performing this type of procedure?
- Has he or she produced exceptional results for other patients on a regular basis?
- Yoel A., Catherine S., Cesar C., John S., Richard G., (October 2018). Facial Implants: A Comprehensive Review of the Current Literature. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29994843/
- AAID (n.d). Types of implants and techniques. aaid-implant.org/dental-implants/types-of-implants-and-techniques/
- Aedit(December 2020) Jaw Implant. aedit.com/procedure/jaw-implant.
- Facial Implants Facial Balancing and Enhancing (n.d). plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/facial-implants.
- Facial Implants (n.d). cosmeticsurgery.org/page/FacialImplants.
- Everything You Want to Know About Jaw Implants (June 24, 2020). healthline.com/health/cosmetic-surgery/jaw-implants