• What Is Corrective Jaw Surgery?

    Jaw Pain

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    Corrective jaw surgery is essentially braces for the jaw – it is surgery that corrects any misalignment of the jaw. When your teeth are misaligned you get orthodontia to correct the problem. When your jaw is misaligned, you get corrective jaw surgery, also known as orthognathic. It is performed by oral and maxillofacial surgeons, and the surgery may be combined with orthodontia treatment for the best results.

    Why would you want to get corrective jaw surgery?
    Corrective jaw surgery has many benefits. For example, it improves facial appearance. It can make the appearance of the face more aesthetically pleasing by repositioning the chin, balancing the face and so on. However, corrective jaw surgery also has benefits beyond simple aesthetic enhancement. The procedure also delivers functional improvements. Having corrective jaw surgery can help teeth line up correctly. This results in improved chewing, speaking and even breathing. It can contribute to solving other medical concerns such as sleep apnea and speech impediments. For many patients, the functional improvements far outweigh the aesthetic benefits.

    Who should get corrective jaw surgery?
    To know if you are a good candidate for corrective jaw surgery, it is best to begin by talking with a team of dental professionals. Start by discussing the issue with your regular dentist, and ask for a referral to a recommended oral and maxillofacial surgeon. In particular, if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may be a candidate and should consider a consultation for corrective jaw surgery:

    • Difficulty chewing, or biting food effectively
    • Difficulty swallowing
    • TMJ, a condition which results in chronic pain in the jaw as well as headaches
    • Excessive wear on the teeth
    • Noticeable space between the upper and lower teeth even when the mouth is closed
    • A facial appearance that is noticeably unbalanced from the front or side
    • Facial injury or birth defects
    • Receding chin
    • Protruding jaw
    • The inability to make the lips meet without straining
    • Chronic mouth breathing
    • Chronic dry mouth
    • Sleep apnea

    Anyone with an improper bite or misaligned teeth and jaw, regardless of the reason (birth defect, injury, etc.), may be an ideal candidate for corrective jaw surgery. If you think a surgical option might be right for you, you should talk to your dentist, orthodontist, or oral and maxillofacial surgeon to develop a treatment plan. There are several different corrective jaw surgical procedures, and an oral and maxillofacial surgeon can work with you to determine which of the options would be right for you. Often they will work with your dentist and orthodontist to create a comprehensive treatment plan.

    Often a corrective jaw surgery treatment plan will include orthodontics before surgery. It may be a long-term plan, often requiring several years before treatment is complete, as it may require the repositioning of all or part of your upper and lower jaw, and your chin, as well as the realignment of teeth. Take time to talk to your dental team about your treatment plan, and the expectations you can have.