Some times corrective jaw surgery, or otherwise know as “orthographic surgery,” may be necessary when a patient’s jaws do not fit together properly. This misalignment can cause issues with activities as common as chewing food or speaking. They can also cause headaches due to clinching and grinding, and even sleep apnea, a condition in which a person periodically stops breathing during the night.
Although most of the time jaw surgery is an “elective” surgery, at time it can be medically necessary. Jaw surgery can involve both the upper and lower jaw, or just one of the jaw; a times it can also involve just the chin (genioplasty).
Jaw surgery should only be done when the patient has completely stopped growing. Since most jaw surgeries requires pre-operative orthodontics to align the teeth, the cessation of growth is usually verified by a good orthodontist using a hand /wrist X-rays OR by comparing two lateral ceph X-rays. Although the cessation of growth usually occurs around age 15 years for girls and 18 years for boys; the only way to know for sure it is required to take those two types of X-rays. Timing is everything…if jaw surgery is performed before the cessation of growth, then the jaws will become misaligned again requiring another surgery in the future!
If a patient’s jaw problems are identified early in life, and properly treated, the need for surgery on can be avoided later in life.
Some consider corrective jaw surgery as “cosmetic surgery” since it can improve the appearance of the patient’s face. It can make a person’s face appear more “full” or a create a more masculine look in males, especially if the surgery involves the chin. Lastly, corrective jaw surgery can improve chewing and reduce the incidence of sleep apnea. For more information about jaw surgery please call our office to schedule a consultation.