Jaw surgery can be a frightening prospect for patients, but it’s often not as big an ordeal as they initially envision. The procedure, which may also be called orthognathic surgery, can often be performed in an outpatient setting. Many patients are able to resume most of their normal activities in a matter of days, although some may face slightly longer recovery periods depending on the specific nature of the surgery.
Here are three main reasons that an oral surgeon may recommend jaw surgery:
- To eliminate pain and other symptoms of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder: A misaligned jaw does not move properly, which puts strain on the muscles and tendons surrounding the jaw. Structural defects associated with TMJ disorders also can contribute to discomfort. Surgical procedures that address these problems can give patients relief from the symptoms of TMJ disorders.
- To improve the smile’s aesthetics: Malocclusions such as underbites, overbites or open bites can significantly detract from your smile’s appearance. Jaw surgery can correct those malocclusions and bring more balance to your smile.
- To make the jaw more functional: A misaligned jaw is not terribly effective or efficient at chewing, and a patient’s speech may also be affected by a malocclusion. When surgery brings the jaw into the proper alignment, these functions are improved.
In order to get the maximum benefits from jaw surgery for any of the reasons described above, you may need to consult with an orthodontist in order to have your teeth re-positioned in addition to an oral surgeon, who will perform the jaw surgery. The two specialists will collaborate closely on the treatment plan and determine the most appropriate timeline for giving you the smile you want.
Your surgeon will give you detailed instructions on how to prepare for the jaw surgery and the steps you need to take post-operatively to reduce your risk of complications. Do not hesitate to ask any questions that you may have about this process.
Has jaw surgery been recommended in your case, or do you feel that you have a condition that could improve from such a procedure? Call our team at Northern Texas Facial & Oral Surgery to schedule an evaluation.