When is jaw or mouth surgery necessary?
When the upper and lower jaws don’t meet properly–a condition known as a malocclusion–a patient can suffer from a number of negative effects, including discomfort, decreased capacity for chewing, breathing problems and an unattractive smile.
Fortunately, most malocclusions can be corrected with the jaws brought into the proper alignment. Depending on the patient’s developmental stage and the complexity of the malocclusion, mouth surgery may be suggested to address the problem.
If there is evidence of a developing malocclusion in a younger patient, it still may be possible to manipulate the jaw’s growth using orthodontic appliances. However, in older patients with fully developed jaws, surgery is often necessary to achieve the desired results.
Mouth surgery also may be indicated for patients with temporomandibular joint disorders if more conservative interventions have not brought those patients relief from their symptoms, or if the disorder is caused by some sort of structural defect in the jaw.
Each patient’s mouth surgery is very unique to his or her specific case. The jaw structures and misalignment that are present will dictate the oral surgeon’s approach to the procedure. At the initial consultation, the oral surgeon will begin to gather the information needed to develop the treatment plan. This will involve at least a visual inspection of the jaw and some type of x-ray to get a view of the internal structures. Many oral surgeons now have advanced three-dimensional imaging technology that is tremendously valuable in treatment planning.
In many cases, the oral surgeon will work in conjunction with an orthodontist to reposition the jaw while the teeth are being realigned as well.
You will also want to work with your oral surgeon to plan for self-care after the surgery. In addition to the concerns involved with any surgery, like managing post-operative discomfort and preventing infection, you may also need to alter your diet slightly for a brief period after the procedure.
Mouth surgery can help to resolve a number of conditions brought about by a misaligned jaw. If you feel that a malocclusion is affecting your well-being or quality of life, consult with our team at Charlottesville Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center to learn more about your treatment options.