Corrective jaw surgery, or orthognathic surgery, can dramatically improve the facial appearance. But that’s more of a positive side effect than a reason oral surgeons recommend the procedure.
Though corrective surgery is often considered cosmetic, orthognathic procedures are usually performed as a means of treating functional jaw problems. Surgical treatment offers several benefits to patients with skeletal and dental irregularities.
Repairing a Broken Jaw
Though minor fractures can sometimes heal on their own, every broken jaw requires attention from an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. In the vast majority of cases, corrective surgery is necessary.
Orthognathic surgery for less-severe fractures involves wiring the jaw shut to allow it to heal in the proper position. With more complex injures, surgical treatment typically means securing the broken bone in place with screws and plates. Jaw surgery is often the only effective approach for either situation.
Restoring Jaw Function
When the jaws and teeth are misaligned, biting and chewing food is more difficult. Often, certain foods are off-limits. And in some cases, problems with jaw function affect breathing and speaking.
Braces do a great job at getting the teeth straight. However, for patients with poorly aligned bites due to structural issues within the jaw, orthognathic treatment is often a more effective approach. Corrective surgery can line the jaws up properly, restoring optimal bite function.
Relieving TMJ Disorder
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder is a jaw condition that can cause severe jaw pain, joint stiffness, headaches, difficulty opening and closing the mouth and several other unpleasant symptoms.
For many patients, lifestyle changes and conservative measures alleviate the symptoms of TMJ disorder. When those treatments fail to provide relief, however, corrective jaw surgery can be a solution.
Treating Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by repeated interruptions in breathing while sleeping. Without treatment, the condition can be life-threatening.
Patients with sleep apnea often use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to encourage breathing through the night. However, wearing the mask can be uncomfortable, and using the machine can lead to dry mouth and chronic congestion. If switching to a different mask or CPAP machine doesn’t resolve the issues, orthognathic jaw surgery may be recommended.
Could you benefit from corrective jaw surgery? The board-certified oral surgeons at Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery have expertise in orthognathic procedures and can determine if surgical treatment is in your best interest.
Dr. Garrison and Dr. Kelly have decades of experience helping patients in central Indiana through orthognathic treatment. For expert advice on corrective jaw surgery, schedule a consultation at Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery today.