It is uncommon that issues with bite or the alignment of the teeth cannot be corrected using today’s dental and orthodontic treatments. However, corrective jaw surgery may be recommended if there are skeletal and dental irregularities.
Corrective jaw surgery is not as complex or serious as its name makes it out to be. It can be performed as a routine in-office procedure, for example, when extracting impacted wisdom teeth or when placing dental implants in the jaw. In orthodontics, it serves as a remedy for severe orthodontic problems involving the relationship between the teeth and jaws.
Corrective jaw surgery has been used to remedy underbites, congenital abnormalities (birth defects related to jaw development), and alleviate sleep apnea.
Other conditions that can be successfully treated with corrective jaw surgery include:
- Open bite
- Protruding jaw or receding chin
- Malocclusions (bite problems)
- Difficulty swallowing, chewing, or biting food
- Chronic jaw joint (TMJ) pain and headache
- Unbalanced facial appearance
- Inability to make the lips meet
- Chronic mouth breathing or dry mouth
- Facial trauma
The Benefits of Jaw (Orthognathic) Surgery
People who suffer with difficulties when chewing, talking, sleeping or simply carrying out normal daily activities, due to conditions with the jaws, tooth alignment and facial asymmetries, can benefit from jaw surgery. The benefits include improved speech, improved appearance, the elimination of pain and discomfort, improved chewing and swallowing abilities, among others.
Jaw Surgery Procedure
After a thorough examination and a consultation, your orthodontist may recommend jaw surgery. Although each patient has unique needs, here are some typical steps in leading up to, as well as during and after the procedure.
The first step is the consultation and planning of the surgery, which may involve other orthodontic treatments along with surgical procedures.
The actual surgery will be performed with a type of anesthesia that’s most appropriate for the procedure, and the patient’s comfort. No visible traces of the surgery are left behind as the surgery is generally performed inside the mouth.
After the procedure, the patient will experience minor pain and swelling, which can be controlled by over-the-counter or prescription pain medication. A soft or liquid diet may be recommended for a period of time following the procedure.
The patient’s condition is then closely monitored throughout the stages of healing to ensure the patient has improved functionality and an enhanced appearance.