How do I know if I need jaw surgery? Oral surgeon in Merrillville, IN explains
While many people think about straight, pearly white teeth as the thing that stands out the most about a person’s mouth, the jaw plays a very important role in not only your facial appearance and profile, but also how your mouth functions. When the upper and lower jaws are not in proper alignment, it can cause a wide variety of negative symptoms and affect your daily life. In some cases, jaw surgery is the only way to remedy the issue. Our Merrillville, IN oral surgeons explain the signs and symptoms below.
How do I know if I need jaw surgery?
The jaw and its associated joints are extremely complex. When you stop to think about it, most joints in the body only move in one direction, such as back and forth or side-to-side. However, the jaw moves in multiple directions – up and down, side-to-side, and back and forth – to enable you to properly chew your food and enunciate speech sounds correctly. In addition, the muscles and nerves in your upper body can be affected by jaw problems. That means that when things are slightly out of line, it can cause major issues throughout your entire upper body, from chronic headaches to shoulder pain.
The following symptoms and conditions may require corrective jaw surgery:
- Injuries to the face
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder
- An open bite or inability to make your lips meet when you close your mouth
- Sleep apnea
- Difficulty with chewing, biting, or swallowing your food
- An unbalanced appearance in your face either in your profile or the front of your face, such as a protruding or receding jaw
- Congenital (birth) defects
- The jaw is too crowded for all your teeth
How corrective jaw surgery helps
Corrective jaw surgery is often considered after conservative measures have failed to provide relief. For example, lifestyle changes may be able to improve the symptoms of TMJ disorder in some patients, but in others, a physical problem with the structure of the joint is the underlying cause for TMJ disorder, and surgical correction is the only way to resolve it.
You may be wondering if orthodontia can fix some of these issues as well. While braces can treat bite problems that are due to the position of the teeth, they cannot fix issues that are associated with the size or position of the jaw. Other types of orthodontic appliances may be able to resolve these issues in some patients, but in others, corrective jaw surgery will provide the best results, or a combination of jaw surgery and orthodontics may be necessary.
The goal of corrective jaw surgery is to improve the position, size, or alignment of your jaw to help you gain optimal function and reduce the symptoms that are impacting your quality of life. Depending on the issue being corrected, jaw surgery can improve:
- Your facial appearance and self-confidence
- How you chew and swallow your food
- How you speak
- How well you breathe and sleep
- The way your teeth work, minimizing wear and tear and costly dental bills
- Your level of chronic pain
Long-lasting results for an improved quality of life
If you have been suffering from the symptoms described above or have been diagnosed with an oral health problem that jaw surgery can correct, the oral surgeons at Stevenson Fairchild & Surber are here to help. We understand that making the decision to move forward with jaw surgery is a serious decision and we will take the time to thoroughly evaluate your jaw using the latest imaging technologies and computer-aided 3D models to ensure that it is the right choice for you. We can also harness these technologies to show you what your results will look like, including how your appearance will change, before the procedure even begins! Your questions are important to us and we will ensure that you are well-informed about what to expect so you can feel confident that you are making the right treatment decision. From the planning stage all the way through follow-up visits, we provide integrated care to help you achieve the best results and recover quickly.Back to Jaw Surgery Page