Some misaligned jaws are so problematic, they cause abnormal wear on the teeth and other secondary symptoms, such as headaches, sleep apnea or jaw pain (TMD). Also known as orthognathic surgery, jaw alignment surgery is meant to address irregularities that impair the normal function of the jaws. By undergoing corrective jaw surgery, patients can improve their bite, speech, and appearance – not to mention alleviate other side effects.
Widen a Narrow Smile
Usually a rapid maxillary expander or RME can widen a narrow arch in a growing patient. But for adults or patients who have completed that phase of growth, a surgically assisted RME can widen the palate and allow teeth to be placed in the ideal position.
Correct a severe overbite or underbite.
Close an Open Bite
Change “When the front teeth don’t touch” to “When the front teeth don’t close together”
Is Jaw Surgery Right For You?
Dr. Moricz will gladly meet with you for a free consultation to see if surgery is a recommended part of your treatment, but there are some signs and symptoms that may indicate that you are a candidate:
Your lips do not meet in your natural bite
Your jaw protrudes noticeably forward
Your chin is receded backward
Your face seems unbalanced
You have open space between your upper and lower arches when your mouth is closed
You have breathing difficulties during sleep
You find yourself breathing primarily through your mouth
You have difficulty chewing and/or swallowing food
You have excessive wear on your teeth
You have ongoing jaw joint pain
You suffer with chronic headaches
Your smile seems very narrow and or your bottom teeth cross over your top teeth
In a patients own words'
Once the initial phase of healing is complete and the oral surgeon gives the go ahead, the patient continues with their orthodontics to ideally settle the teeth within their new jaw position. Treatment is usually completed 12 months after surgery and the patient is placed in a retainer. We always advise our patients to at least consult with an oral surgeon if they are a candidate for surgery. We find whether you opt for surgery or not it is always best to fully understand your options.
If, upon meeting with Dr. Moricz, it has been determined that you are a candidate for jaw surgery, we will obtain some diagnostic information such as photographs, x-rays and a 3D dental scan so that we may refer you to an oral surgeon who will perform the surgery. After you have met with the oral surgeon, Dr. Moricz will communicate with your oral surgeon and general dentist so that your treatment is coordinated and cohesively planned. Once a formal plan is created you will again meet with Dr. Moricz who will discuss the findings and treatment plan with you again. Although there are many variations of surgery and each patient has an individual plan, most surgical patients are in treatment for about 24 months. During the first six to twelve months of treatment, the initial alignment is created as prescribed by your oral surgeon. Then, while the braces are still in place, the surgery is performed. On the day of your operation, you’ll be placed under general anesthesia. An incision will be made on the inside of your mouth, through which your surgeon will reposition your jaw. You may have heard that your jaw will be wired shut for a period of time. While this still can be best for certain situations, most patients are not wired shut after surgery. A combination of plates, screws or wires may be used to hold the jaw in place before your incision is closed. The initial healing phase is usually a few weeks long. During this time, you’ll be placed on a modified diet and instructed to avoid certain activities. It is important to take all medications as prescribed and to keep the incision site clean and free of debris. Your jaw may be swollen and sore for several days after surgery. Be sure to contact your doctor if you experience a fever or any discomfort that worsens with time. Keep in mind that your jaw will continue to heal over the course of several months – a process that can take up to one year to complete.