Corrective jaw, or orthognathic, surgery is performed to correct a wide range of minor and major skeletal and dental irregularities, including the misalignment of jaws and teeth, which, in turn, can improve chewing, speaking and breathing. While the patient’s appearance may also be dramatically enhanced as a result of the surgery, orthognathic surgery is performed to correct functional problems.
Some of the conditions that may indicate the need for corrective jaw surgery are:
- 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
- Small 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)
Who needs corrective jaw surgery?
People who may benefit from corrective jaw surgery include those with an improper bite resulting from misaligned teeth and/or jaws. In some cases, the upper and lower jaws may grow at different rates. Injuries and birth defects may also affect jaw alignment. While orthodontics can usually correct a person’s bite when only the teeth are misaligned, corrective jaw surgery may be necessary to correct an underlying misalignment of the jaws.
Your dentist and orthodontist together with Dr. Lamb will work to determine whether you are a candidate for corrective jaw surgery. Dr. Lamb will determine which corrective jaw surgical procedure is most appropriate and will perform the actual surgery. It is important to understand that your treatment, which will probably include orthodontics before and after surgery, may take years to complete. It is very important that you understand that this is a long-term commitment for you and your family. We will work with your orthodontist to try to realistically estimate the time required for your treatment. After the actual surgery is performed, you will likely need additional orthodontic treatment before your treatment is completed. Since there are many different ways in which the surgical procedure may be performed, Dr. Lamb will need to perform a personal examination and discuss your treatment with your orthodontist in order to develop the best treatment plan for you.