Jaw surgery is commonly referred to as orthognathic surgery in medical terms, and corrects inconsistencies in the upper and lower jaw, or both. The jaw bones are often shortened or lengthened, moved in or out, or up or down to create a beautiful, healthy, and functional smile — in a work of art from your talented oral surgeons!
Having a jaw that doesn’t quite move correctly can be both painful and affect your overall quality of life. At Alaska Center for Oral + Facial Surgery, get premier corrective jaw surgery and care with the leading oral surgeons who provide the best outcome for your individual and unique dental and facial concerns. You’ll find surgeons who care and listen empathically, while expertly answering all of your questions in a way that makes sense to you.
Join us in today’s post as we break down everything you need to know about corrective jaw surgery.
What is Corrective Jaw Surgery?
Corrective jaw surgery is needed when your jaw and teeth don’t meet and aren’t aligned correctly. To bring the teeth into alignment with improved functionality, you’ll need to reposition the jaws so the teeth join (occlude) correctly to improve the functions of chewing and jaw-joint movement, in addition to improving sleep, gum health, breathing, speech, and overall facial aesthetics.
How Complex is Corrective Jaw Surgery?
Jaw surgery is very intricate and complex because of the way the jaw functions — not only can it glide forward and backward and hinge up and down, it can also move side-to-side making it an elaborate and tricky joint in the body. And, in all this, it directly affects the way we eat, speak, and what we look like.
This is why jaw surgery has to be meticulously thought out and planned — no small details are overlooked in the process. At AOFS, a team approach to corrective jaw surgery is always the best option for us. When you have more than one set of eyes looking at the case, it not only makes for a better surgery, but for a better outcome for the patient.
Who Can Benefit From Jaw Surgery?
A misconception of jaw surgery is that orthodontics will always be able to fix the issue and jaw surgery is never really needed, but this is a colossal myth. Orthodontics can only correct bite patterns when the teeth are involved, but if the jaw bones (maxilla and mandible) are not aligned or are misshapen, corrective jaw surgery is needed.
People who benefit from jaw surgery are those with misaligned jaws that affect their bite and the overall functioning of the jaw.
The jaws grow gradually, and in some cases, do not come together and match at the end of the growth cycle. The jaws may also end up incorrectly positioned as a result of injury or trauma (such as a car accident) or due to the growth of a tumor.
When these issues are only corrected through orthodontics, not only can it cause periodontal concerns, but it can lead to a new host of jaw issues that are both physical and aesthetic.
What Can Cause a Possible Need For Corrective Jaw Surgery?
It’s critical to be evaluated by an oral surgeon, but some common signs for jaw surgery include:
- Speech concerns
- Problems with biting, swallowing, or chewing
- Chronic jaw pain/TMJ pain
- Teeth don’t touch together (open bite)
- Distended jaw
- Breathing issues
- Tiny, recessed jaw
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Misaligned facial structures (jaw, chin, nose)
The above signs and symptoms can occur at birth, can result from environmental influences, or from trauma to the face.
How do the oral surgeons at AOFS determine whether a patient needs jaw surgery?
A consultation will be the first and foremost order in determining whether or not a patient needs jaw surgery. The oral surgeon wants to get to know you and your concerns, so it will begin with questions, x-rays, and looking at models together.
If jaw surgery is needed, our practice implements innovative technology, including three-dimensional models of your treatment approach. This will help you understand how your bite will improve, and even what you’ll look like afterward.
Jaw surgery is a complex surgery reserved only for the most skilled oral and maxillofacial surgeons and it can improve your quality of life from the way you speak to how you sleep.