Many health-conscious individuals understand how essential it is to follow a good diet and exercise program on a regular basis. These two components can help us live a healthy life. Having good health, however, also includes having good oral health, and unfortunately oral health is simply not regarded as often as weight, cholesterol, or physical limitations when it comes to overall health.
It’s All In The Jaw
The jaw is an important aspect of oral health, and to living a healthy lifestyle. Many individuals do not realize that having an improper bite can damage good health. Corrective jaw surgery can assist in becoming healthier and may improve the exterior appearance of the jawline as well. Numerous symptoms can help an individual determine if they may need corrective jaw surgery. Having difficulty with chewing and swallowing food, chronic jaw joint pain that often also creates headaches, constant mouth breathing which also may affect sleep apnea, spaces between the upper and lower sets of the teeth when the mouth is closed, and problems closing the lips together without causing pain or strain can be hints that corrective jaw surgery is needed.
Understanding Orthognathic Surgery
Corrective jaw surgery is also known as orthognathic surgery and is often performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. This form of surgery can correct major and minor dental problems or irregularities as well as skeletal irregularities. Orthognathic surgery is mainly utilized to correct functional problems associated with breathing, speaking, and chewing which are all essential to life. The surgery may also enhance the patient’s appearance.
Often times the oral and maxillofacial surgeon will consult and work in conjunction with an orthodontist to determine candidacy for corrective jaw surgery. The surgeon will examine what procedure and steps need to be taken and will perform the actual surgery. Once a plan is in place, it may take several surgeries or years to complete treatment. Not every surgery is the same and orthodontics may even be required prior to or after the surgery takes place. Often times an estimated time of recovery and the length of the surgical plan can be made. The surgery will take place in a hospital setting or surgery center. Patients are typically given a general anesthesia prior to surgery. The duration of the surgery is dependent on the procedures being completed and the complexity of the case.
Lower vs. Upper Jaw Surgeries
Lower and upper jaw surgeries vary based on each individual. If surgery is completed on the lower jaw, the rear part of the jaw is usually separated from the front part of the jaw. This is the area that actually supports the teeth and will allow for the lower portion of the jaw to be moved forward or backwards. This repositions the tooth-bearing area. The surgeon will then insert screws and surgical plates to reposition the bone segments. In lower jaw surgery, the teeth may need to be wired. It may be recommended that the teeth area be wired for 5-7 weeks.
Upper jaw surgery differs from lower jaw surgery in that the surgeon will separate the tooth-bearing area of the jaw so that the base of it can be moved down, up, forward, and backward. The jawbones are able to be moved specifically where the patient needs them to be. As in lower jaw surgery, screws and surgical plates are utilized to fasten the jaw to the new position that it was moved to. Some patients may need bone to be added to or removed from the jaw, or have it reshaped. Upper jaw surgery recovery may involve a bite guide so that the bite alignment remains correct during recovery.
If corrective jaw surgery is needed, it is best to follow through with an orthognathic and maxllofacial surgeon as soon as possible. The jaw is an important aspect to good health and being aware of the signs of a problem can greatly impact future health.
To learn more about corrective jaw surgery, contact Dr. Majid Jamali, board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon in New York, at (212) 480-2777 to schedule an appointment today.