Correcting Common Dentofacial Deformities

Whether you are suffering from an open bite or a severe overbite, you will have a wide range of options at your disposal when looking for solutions that will correct the problems. Although many individuals choose to select an oral appliance like braces or Invisalign, it’s possible to opt for jaw surgery to treat these problems. Jaw surgery can act as a long-term solution for an array of orthodontic issues, which is why you should consider whether the benefits of selecting this surgery outweigh the potential downsides for you.

When You Should Choose Jaw Surgery

There are a large number of problems that jaw surgery is designed to help correct, many of which are orthodontic in nature. When you were diagnosed with one of these problems, you were likely provided with several different treatment options to consider. In these situations, braces and similar oral appliances are commonly suggested as a means of straightening your teeth so that you have a more natural smile. However, these treatments can take time and don’t permanently straighten your teeth unless you wear retainers and similar appliances after the initial treatment process is over.  

On the other hand, jaw surgery acts as a long-term solution to whatever types of problems you’re suffering from and can be completed in one treatment session. Some of the many issues that jaw surgery is designed to correct include birth defects, facial injuries, overbites, underbites, open bites, jaw closure problems, and other misalignment issues. This type of surgery is primarily appropriate for people above the ages of 16-18, which is due mainly to the fact that the surgery is most effective when the individual has been through most of their growth spurt. If you have already worn braces but your problems have not been corrected, jaw surgery may be what you need to correct your bite issues.

Risks Attributed to Jaw Surgery

As long as you choose a surgeon who is qualified and has gained a large amount of experience with this type of surgery, the risks that you will be presented with should be minimal. During the surgery, some of the risks that you may need to look out for include infections, a fracture to the jaw, injuries to nerves around the jaw, the need for additional surgery, and rare cases where the jaw moves back to its initial position. You should talk with your surgeon before the treatment to better understand how often these risks actually occur.  

How You Can Benefit From Jaw Surgery

The main benefit of choosing the surgical method available to you as opposed to an oral appliance is that surgery is a more long-term solution that will allow you to have these problems fixed in a single surgery, which means that you won’t have to worry about them again. While braces and similar appliances need to be worn for at least a couple of years in order to straighten your teeth, jaw surgery is completed in a single session.

What to Expect During the Procedure

Jaw surgery can be a complicated process, which is why it’s typically accompanied by a hospital stay of anywhere from 2-3 days. You will be provided with general anesthesia that will keep you unconscious during the surgery so that you don’t experience any pain. The surgical incisions that are used with this surgery commonly take place in the mouth, which means that you will be able to avoid any issues with unsightly scars. The incisions will typically be made along the jawbone so that these bones can be properly moved into their correct position. Once your jaw has been moved, a combinations of screws and small plates could be used in order to make sure that the jaw remains in the right position.

As time passes, the screws will meld with the bone structure. The location of the surgery largely depends on what types of problems need to be corrected. For open bites and overbites, the surgery is usually performed on the upper jaw. The bone will be cut directly above your teeth, which allows the upper portion of your jaw to move as a single unit. When it comes to an open bite, a small amount of the bone may need to be removed to allow your bite to be closed properly. Once all of the incisions are closed, you will be able to start recovering from the jaw surgery.

Recovering From the Surgery

Following the conclusion of the jaw surgery, you will be provided with a set of instructions on how to take care of your jaw during the healing process, which will usually involve staying away from difficult exercises, not smoking, practicing good oral hygiene, and taking medications that should help to relieve your pain in the weeks following the surgery. The primary pain and swelling in the treatment area should dissipate after 6-7 weeks. However, full healing from the surgery can take several months. In some cases, you may need to wear braces after the surgery, which is something your surgeon or orthodontist will be able to advise you about.

Possible Results From the Procedure

Some of the main results that you should expect to see with jaw surgery include a more aligned appearance with your lower face, improvements in any speech impairments that you may be suffering from, enhanced function with your teeth, and a wide range of additional health benefits that extend from better breathing to better sleeping. A couple of the other benefits that will likely occur with this surgery include an improvement in your overall appearance and a higher self-esteem, which should allow you to be more confident in your everyday life.

Dr. Rubinstein of Hudson Valley Sinus Center is a surgeon out of New York who specializes in facial plastic surgery as well as an array of ear, nose, and throat procedures. He has completed thousands of surgeries in his 15 years of experience.

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