In my practice, I try to avoid recommending surgery to my patients as much as possible, but there are situations in which corrective jaw surgery, known as orthognathic surgery. Orthognathic surgery is the best solution to creating the most ideal smile. Orthognathic surgery is performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to correct functional, health, or cosmetic problems of the mouth and jaw.
According to the AAOMS (American Association for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons), some of the reasons that may cause a need for corrective jaw surgery include:
- difficulty chewing, or biting food
- difficulty swallowing
- chronic jaw or jaw joint (TMJ) pain and headache
- excessive wear of the teeth
- open bite (space between the upper and lower teeth when the mouth is closed)
- unbalanced facial appearance from the front, or side
- facial injury or birth defects
- receding chin
- protruding jaw
- inability to make the lips meet without straining
- chronic mouth breathing and dry mouth
- sleep apnea (breathing problems when sleeping, including snoring
Many of these same problems are treated in my office without the need for surgery, but in special cases where the jaw is misaligned, it is necessary for the patient to undergo surgery to achieve the desired results. The practice of orthodontics is meant specifically to correct occlusions (bite) problems when the teeth are misaligned, but when the jaws are misaligned, surgery is sometimes necessary to correct that misalignment.
If you are a candidate for orthognathic surgery, your treatment will most likely include orthodontics before and after the surgery. Braces are used to align the teeth in preparation of the repositioning of the jaws. Post-surgery they are used to continue straightening the teeth and fine-tuning the bite. It can be a long process, but in the end, you will not only achieve the functionality in your mouth that you had been missing, but you will have better aesthetic results as well. When I have an orthognathic surgery patient, I work very closely with that patient’s dentist and surgeon so that we can serve the patient’s needs as a team.
For more information about orthodontic treatment, please give Aesthetic Orthodontics a call and I will be happy to discuss treatment with you further at no cost to you. If you are considering orthognathic surgery as an option, there are a number of resources available to you to make you more informed of the process. Go to the AAOMS website, view other patient experiences on YouTube, and use a search engine to find out more info.
Electing to have surgery is a big deal. When you are ready to make that decision, make sure you have a good team behind you and that you feel comfortable with the course of action.