Learn how corrective jaw surgery can improve your quality of life!

When our jaw is functioning normally we may not notice how vital it is to our daily life, but when there are issues, it can dramatically disrupt our quality of life. 

At the Alaska Center For Oral + Facial Surgery (AOFS), our world-renowned oral surgeons perform life-changing corrective jaw surgeries to correct functional jaw concerns. If you are dealing with dental irregularities or a misalignment of the jaws and teeth, join us in today’s post.

What Is Corrective Jaw Surgery?

Corrective jaw surgery, or orthognathic surgery, involves moving your lower or upper (or both) jaw bones to correct minor and major skeletal issues and dental irregularities that cause functional problems. 

Because the jaw is such an intricate structure, corrective jaw surgery is quite complex. Think about it — not only does your jaw move up and down in a baby shark type of fashion but it also moves side-to-side in a gliding type motion. 

When your teeth and jaws don’t meet correctly, it causes a variety of issues from chewing, speech concerns, and breathing to sleep apnea, teeth and gum health, and facial abnormalities. 

In addition, corrective jaw surgery not only addresses irregularities and misalignments, but it can also improve aesthetics. 

Let’s now examine why someone might be a candidate for corrective jaw surgery.

Difficulty Chewing or Biting

Chewing and biting can impact basic functions such as eating with teeth and the jaws are misaligned. People can have difficulty when their teeth can’t touch and this can arise from a variety of bite patterns such as overbite, underbite, and open-bite 

Swallowing Complications

Untreated bite irregularities not only impact chewing, but they can cause swallowing complications. This signals an imbalance between the various muscle groups in the face, oral cavity, and neck have been disrupted, which over time, influences major mouth functions including bite and jaw development. 

Facial Injuries

Facial injuries or trauma can result from health complications such as tumors and from trauma such as a sports injury or car accident.  

Lingering Jaw pain and Headaches

TMJ is a common jaw issue that not only causes paw in your jaws and cheek bone, but also inflamed joints, and the muscles that help your jaw move. It’s difficult to determine what causes TMJ, but it is often related to genetics and those who grind and clench their teeth.  

Open Bite

An open bite is seen in those where the front top and front bottom teeth protrude outward and do not meet — this is also considered a malocclusion, which means the teeth don’t align when the jaws are closed.   

Birth Defects

Birth defects can result in jaw abnormalities that are minor and result in slight defects that can be addressed with orthodontics to major conditions that need to be surgically corrected. Common cases result from the upper or lower jaw developing too much or not enough, resulting in a malocclusion or improper alignment. 

Cleft palate and cleft lip are also very common birth defects that cause mouth and jaw issues.  

Receding Jaw

A recessed or receding jaw is also known as retrognathia manifests when the lower jaw (mandible) sits back from the upper jaw (maxilla) and causes a malocclusion. Typically this jaw irregularity is a result of genetics, and can range from a slight malocclusion to a severe disorder called Pierre-Robin syndrome. 

From having trouble chewing and biting and facial injuries to an open bite, birth defects, and a receding jaw, these oral health concerns are not only uncomfortable, but they can change your aesthetics and impact your quality of life. 

There are more corrective surgery signs to come, but you’ll have to wait for part two! Stay tuned!