Who Needs Jaw Surgery?

Who Needs Jaw Surgery?

When you think about orthodontic treatment, what do you think of? Braces? Aligners? Retainers? Yes, they’re all a big part of orthodontic care. But for many people, jaw surgery is also a part of their treatment. 

Also called orthognathic surgery or orthodontic surgery, jaw surgery helps address serious alignment issues that can’t be corrected with traditional orthodontic appliances, like braces and aligners. Brendan Smith, DDS, MS, and the team at Freedom Orthodontics in Cedar Park, Texas, have extensive experience in jaw surgery techniques that enable them to help every patient enjoy optimal bite mechanics. 

Here’s when Dr. Smith typically recommends orthognathic surgery.

Candidates for orthodontic jaw surgery

Many orthodontic issues, like mild to moderate overbites, underbites, and crossbites, can be treated with braces or aligners worn for a year or more. That’s because these issues typically only involve the position of your teeth, not your underlying jaw structure or position. 

Orthognathic surgery addresses problems that do involve your jaw. For instance, if your jaw is underdeveloped, overdeveloped, or simply misaligned, it can affect the way you chew, bite, speak, or breathe. Some jaw alignment problems can cause sleep apnea, a nighttime breathing disorder associated with serious medical issues, including an increased risk of heart problems.

Typically, jaw surgery is recommended for patients with:

While jaw surgery can be performed at any age, it’s often an appropriate choice for people whose jaws have stopped growing and developing — typically in the late teens or very early 20s.

Treating jaw problems

Jaw issues can happen for different reasons. Issues that begin at birth are called congenital jaw defects. Other times, problems can develop as your jaw grows. Some jaw problems can be related to nutritional deficiencies or even jaw trauma.

Dr. Smith is skilled in different types of jaw surgery, tailoring every procedure to the specific and unique needs of each individual patient. Most surgeries use small plates or other devices to hold your jaws in their new positions while they heal, avoiding the need for jaw wiring. 

In most cases, jaw surgery is followed a month or so later by orthodontic treatment using braces to allow your jaws and teeth to adapt to their new positions. During your initial recovery, you’ll need to eat soft foods to protect your jaws while they heal. Dr. Smith provides complete recovery instructions prior to your surgery, so you know what to expect.

Learn more about jaw surgery

Today’s jaw surgery uses advanced techniques designed to improve your bite mechanics while minimizing the time it takes to recover. To find out more about jaw surgery at Freedom Orthodontics, schedule a consultation today. Call our office or book an appointment online.

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