The upper and lower jaws play an important role in the oral health system. Connected to the temporomandibular joint, the upper and lower jaws fit together to form a patient’s occlusion (bite) when the mouth is closed or at a resting position. Jawbones also anchor teeth by their roots. If the jawbones have congenital and developmental abnormalities or have been affected by illness or atrophy, jaw surgery, also known as orthognathic surgery, may be required for patients to enjoy smooth and efficient oral function.
Jaw surgery is corrective in nature. Sometimes the jawbones require surgical repositioning to correct a malocclusion such as an open bite or an under bite. When orthodontics and restorative dentistry cannot improve the placement of the upper and lower sets of teeth, orthognathic surgery is typically necessary. Beyond improving oral function, jaw surgery can align the jawbones to healthier positions and ultimately prevent wear and tear on teeth and/or the development of TMJ disorder. The jawbones also heavily influence a patient’s appearance because the contour of the jaws shapes the mouth. Because of this, orthognathic surgery can promote facial symmetry as well.
Why Orthognathic Surgery May Be Needed
Facial bones, particularly the jawbones, take years to fully develop. For example, when children’s adult teeth are emerging, the jaws are still developing. Sometimes one jawbone may develop at a faster rate than the other. This can cause a misaligned bite or a disfigured appearance. An underdeveloped jaw or a misaligned bite can also affect a patient’s ability to speak properly and may even lead to the development of speech impediments. Repositioning and correcting jaw alignment offers many benefits to patients and can greatly improve one’s quality of life.
We are currently accepting new patients. If your dentist has recommended that you visit an oral surgeon, we welcome you to consider our practice. To schedule an appointment with one of our oral surgeons, contact Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Group today.