Corrective jaw surgery (also known as orthognathic surgery) is intended to alter specific aspects of the structure of the jaw, correcting any irregularities in the jaw bones in order to improve the functioning of the jaw. This surgery may be recommended to fix a variety of different issues when orthodontics is not enough.
Orthodontics alone can correct many bite problems, however, reconstructive jaw surgery may be required when repositioning of the jaw is necessary. This procedure is usually performed under general anesthesia and recovery time will vary depending on the patient and the specifics of their procedure. Surgeons will typically make incisions inside your mouth to prevent scarring, although external incisions may be necessary in some cases.
Some of the most common reasons for corrective jaw surgery include:
Difficulty Chewing, Biting or Swallowing
When your jaw is not aligned properly, you may not be able to bite, tear, or chew food effectively. This can lead to discomfort while biting and chewing, poor digestion, as well as limited enjoyment of eating even your favorite foods. Corrective jaw surgery can improve the alignment of your jaws so you can bite, chew and enjoy your food as nature intended.
Malocclusion of the Teeth
Malocclusion (also known as misalignment) of the teeth can lead to biting of the cheeks and/or tongue, discomfort when eating, speech problems and even alteration of structure of the face. Often times malocclusion can be fixed with orthodontics alone, but other times reconstructive jaw surgery is needed in combination with orthodontics to completely correct all issues. Whether the issues are occurring because of abnormal development or the result of an injury, orthodontics and orthognathic jaw surgery can help fix these issues while improving the facial structure and overall appearance of the patient.
TMJ, Chronic Jaw Pain, Protruding Jaw and Other Jaw Problems
Some people who have issues with the alignment of their jaws may have chronic pain. Misalignment of the jaw can lead to headaches, jaw joint pain, clicking, and other symptoms. These symptoms can disrupt your life, making it difficult to focus on work, enjoy recreation or even sleep at night. Fortunately, reconstructive jaw surgery can help fix these problems.
Breathing Problems and Sleep Apnea
Poor alignment of the teeth and/or positioning or abnormal growth of the jaw can sometimes cause issues that affect your breathing, causing obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder that causes breathing to stop and start during sleep. In addition to disrupting your ability to rest well at night, sleep apnea has also been connected to the development of other serious health conditions, such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. This can result from abnormal jaw position or size as well as restrictions in the nasal airway. For some people, corrective jaw surgery can deal with the obstruction that causes breathing issues and/or OSA, thus eliminating the need for CPAP machines or other treatments.
Any of these symptoms can exist at birth, be acquired after birth as a result of hereditary or environmental influences, or as a result of trauma to the face. If you think reconstructive jaw surgery might be a good option for you, please contact Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery to make a consultation appointment.