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When is jaw surgery recommended?


shutterstock_34820365-Custom-300x200Orthognathic surgery, also known as corrective jaw surgery, can be useful in helping patients achieve a variety of treatment goals.

Sometimes, the upper and lower jaws grow at different rates, and this discrepancy can cause a misalignment of the jaw that has implications for the patient’s appearance and the function of the smile. Jaw surgery can eliminate these effects.

Some patients may be primarily motivated by aesthetics in pursuing jaw surgery, while others may want to correct a congenital defect or some other structural issue that is contributing to a painful condition like TMJ or creating a functional deficit that negatively impacts chewing, speech or breathing.

A patient may need corrective jaw surgery when the upper and lower jaws do not fit together properly. It is often recommended for patients who will not achieve their desired results by moving the teeth alone with conventional orthodontic treatment.

Similarly, corrective jaw surgery may be an appropriate course of treatment for a temporomandibular joint – TMJ – disorder. If a defect in the jaw is causing your TMJ, orthognathic surgery can alleviate your symptoms.

Corrective jaw surgery is often performed in conjunction with orthodontic treatment. Early during the course of orthodontic treatment, the orthodontist will examine x-rays of the jaws to determine whether repositioning them will also be necessary. In such cases, your oral surgeon and orthodontist will work closely to determine the most appropriate timing for the surgery in the context of the orthodontic treatment.

The need for surgery can extend the treatment timeline, but most patients find that it’s a worthwhile investment of their time to get the smiles that they truly want.

In addition to improving your appearance and potentially giving you relief from TMJ symptoms, corrective jaw surgery can even improve your nutrition or resolve breathing issues caused by a malocclusion. If your orthodontist or dentist has recommended orthognathic surgery, consult with our team of oral surgeons at Austin Oral Surgery to learn more about this intervention and how it will be beneficial in your case.