7 Issues That Corrective Jaw Surgery Resolves

Corrective jaw surgery can improve your quality of life, especially if jaw problems have limited your ability to eat or chew comfortably. Our team of surgeons here at  Northern Virginia Oral, Maxillofacial & Implant Surgery may recommend corrective jaw surgery to resolve the following seven issues.

1. Difficulty chewing

If a jaw issue makes chewing more difficult, you may benefit from surgery. Not only does difficulty chewing cause discomfort while you eat, but it can also impact your nutrition. Pain when chewing may influence your dietary choices (like choosing a smoothie over a piece of grilled chicken and salad). Difficulty chewing can lead to indigestion if you can’t fully chew your food. Correcting a jaw problem that affects your ability to chew can eliminate these problems by improving the functionality of your jaw.

2. Difficulty swallowing

The imbalance of your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and your facial/neck muscles can cause difficulty swallowing. This is because so many muscles in your face and around your mouth and ears are involved in the process of chewing and swallowing food, and any imbalance here can lead to trouble swallowing easily. This can be a major safety concern. 

3. Chronic jaw pain

Your jaw isn’t something you can just stop using if it hurts. You need your jaw functioning properly to eat, speak, and drink. Chronic pain can severely impact your quality of life, but thankfully, there are many treatments available to treat jaw pain. Studies show that common treatments include physical therapy, injectable pharmaceuticals, dental management, orthodontic solutions, and therapeutic exercises. Not everyone responds to conservative treatments, and thankfully, surgery can alleviate pain even when other options don’t.

4. Open bite

An open bite is a type of malocclusion in which the teeth don’t touch, even if the jaw is shut. Mild cases can be treated with traditional braces or clear aligners, but severe cases won’t respond to orthodontic treatment alone. Surgery can, however, correct severe bites.

5. Protruding jaw

Prognathism, also known as a protruding jaw, can affect your upper and/or lower jaws. A protruding jaw can make you feel self-conscious, but it can also affect your dental health. Often, if your jaw protrudes, there is a ripple effect, causing malocclusion as well. Jaw surgery can treat prognathism, enhance the appearance of your jaw, and eliminate unwanted complications of misaligned jaws.

6. Chronic mouth breathing

There are many reasons why you might struggle with mouth breathing. Allergies, colds, and sleep apnea can increase your risk of mouth breathing. Occasional mouth breathing (such as when you have a stuffy nose) is short-lived and dissipates on its own. Chronic mouth breathing, however, can increase your risk of dental complications such as gum disease, enlarged tonsils, and worsening asthma symptoms. 

If your jaw positioning is affecting your breathing, orthognathic surgery may be recommended to move your upper and lower jaw forward to enlarge your airway. This makes more space for your soft palate and tongue, which improves breathing for individuals with sleep apnea.

7. Congenital disabilities

Congenital disabilities are present at birth. If the jaw is missing, misshapen, or deformed, surgery can play a big role in improving the functionality. 

When to consider corrective jaw surgery

Like any surgery, corrective jaw surgery should be considered when the pros of surgery outweigh the cons. When considering corrective jaw surgery, you can expect to take time off work to recover and heal. Following all post-op instructions carefully will facilitate your healing.

To learn more about jaw surgery, request a surgical consultation at one of our locations in  Burke, Reston, or Alexandria, Virginia. You can also schedule an appointment online.

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