Jaw Replacement Surgery
Jaw surgery is an oral or dental surgery done for correction of the irregularities and realignment of the jaw bones and teeth. It is also called as orthognathic (or-thog-NATH-ik) surgery. It helps to improve the functions of jawbones and teeth, along with the enhancement of facial appearance.
Jaw surgery is a corrective surgery selected when jaw problems cannot be resolved with orthodontics alone. It is recommended when growth ceases, usually at the ages 14 to 16 years in females and ages 17 to 21 years in males.
In many cases, bone and cartilage of jaw may deteriorate over time with age or be severely damaged by any trauma or injury. If non-surgical treatment fails or damage is too high, jaw surgery may be recommended. The surgeon may suggest arthroscopy, a minimally invasive procedure in which he may use scopes to inspect and repair joints.
In cases featuring severely damaged jawbones, the surgeon will opt for open surgery, also named as arthroplasty, a major surgery done to repair or replace the jaw. It is called Jaw replacement Surgery.
Candidates for Jaw Surgery
Those who face the following problems are potential candidates for Jaw Surgery-
Problems related to biting and chewing easier
Difficulty in swallowing or speech
Having excessive wear and breakdown of the teeth
eat fit or jaw closure issues, such as when the molars touch but the front teeth don't touch (open bite)
Facial asymmetries, such as small chins, underbites, overbites and crossbites
The inability of the lips to fully close comfortably
Pain triggered by temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder and other jaw problems
Facial injury or birth defects
Obstructive sleep apnea
Jaw surgery is conducted by oral and maxillofacial surgeons. It is performed on the upper jaw, lower jaw, chin, or any combination of these. The patient is given general anesthesia before surgery. He may have to stay two to four days after the surgery.
Surgery is performed inside the mouth that does not leave any facial scar on the chin, jaw, or around the mouth. However, in some cases, small incisions may be needed outside the mouth.
The surgeon may make cuts in the jawbones and moves them into the correct places. After this, tiny screws, bone plates, wires, and rubber bands are used to fix the bones in the new position. These screws are small that get dissolved in the bones to become an integrated part of the bone structure over time.
In some cases, extra bone, taken from the bones of rib, hip, or leg, may be added to the jaw. It is often secured with plates and screws. In other cases, the bone may be reshaped to provide a better fit.
After surgery, specific problems like pain and swelling, issues related to eating that can be treated with nutritional supplements, and a brief time of adjustment to a new facial appearance.
Jaw surgery corrects the alignment of the jaws and teeth that can benefit the patient with:
The balanced appearance of the lower face
Improved function of the teeth
Health benefits from breathing, improved sleep, chewing and swallowing
Improvement in speech impairments
Secondary benefits of jaw surgery may involve:
Improvement in appearance
Improvement in self-esteem
After surgery, the patient can reassume working in one to three weeks. Total recovery may take nine to 12 months.
Jaw surgery is generally performed by an experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeon, in association with an orthodontist.
Risks of surgery may include:
Fracture in jaw
Relapse of the jaw to the original position
Problems with bite fit
Pain in jaw joint
Requirement for further surgery
Need for root canal therapy on selected teeth
Loss of a portion of the jaw