Do You Suffer from Conditions that Could Indicate Orthognathic Surgery?
The joints in your body are designed to fit together and work together to move. From your knee joint to your hips to your jaws, proper and pain-free movement of these joints keeps you healthy.
However, sometimes your jaw bones and your jaw joint do not align properly. Maybe they keep you from fully closing your teeth and mouth or are too far sideways. This can cause a number of health conditions that range from uncomfortable to highly painful. While orthodontic measures can help to correct some aspects of teeth and jaw alignment, some jaws are too far out of alignment to fix without surgery.
The surgery is typically an outpatient procedure that uses pins, screws and cuts into the jaw to correct any abnormalities. The surgery may require followup orthodontic treatments to help the jaw grow properly together. The results can be life-changing.
Here are several conditions that may indicate orthognathic surgery treatment.
Sleep apnea is a disorder that affects your ability to breathe while sleeping. Misaligned jaws can affect your ability to close your mouth while you sleep. This can contribute to difficulty breathing by closing your airway or causing your throat muscles to relax excessively. As a result, you cannot breathe in enough oxygen or stop breathing altogether.
Your blood transports oxygen to your cells to keep your muscles, brain and tissues functioning. If you do have sleep apnea due to misaligned jaws, you may experience harmful symptoms such as high blood pressure, daytime sleepiness and liver problems.
Medications and technological tools such as breathing machines are available to treat sleep apnea. However, when the cause is sleep apnea due to a misaligned jaw, the problem may be corrected with orthognathic surgery.
Temporomandibular disorder, or TMD, is a condition that affects the workings of your jaw joint. While this condition is not always due to jaw misalignment, the more severe cases can be. Symptoms include a pronounced clicking when opening and closing the jaw, trouble fitting the teeth together, pain in the jaw joint or difficulty opening the mouth very wide.
Orthognathic surgery to align the jaw may help to correct these and other symptoms associated with TMD when the cause is related to jaw alignment issues.
Removal of cancerous tumors in the head and neck can necessitate jaw surgery tumor removal or radiation therapy can destroy portions of the jaw, resulting in misalignment. Orthognathic surgery can address both cosmetic issues related to tumor removal as well as potentially restore function to your jaw.
A facial cleft lip or palate results when a portion of the bones in the face grows incompletely. While some cleft lips and/or palates can be apparent due to a visible missing portion of the lip or top of the mouth, others conditions may not be so visible. This can be the case when a child appears to have a large lower jaw and a smaller upper jaw because the upper jaw may not have completely formed due to a cleft lip and/or palate.
In this instance, orthognathic surgery may be needed to reposition the jaw to correct the appearance of a jaw deformity. This can help to provide balance to a young person’s face and is typically performed when the bones have stopped growing. This may occur anywhere from age 14 and up.
Although insurance companies do not always pay for cosmetic-related jaw surgery, there are facial conditions that can benefit from orthognathic surgery. These include:
- Open bite
- Unbalanced facial appearance where jaw moves to side
- Protruding jaw
- Receding chin
This issues not only affect your physical appearance, they also affect your bite or the way you chew and cut your food with your teeth.
“Health, function and aesthetics are the three chief reasons a person may pursue orthognathic surgery,” says Fredric L. Bonine, DDS, MS, PC, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon in Brighton, Mich., and an adjunct professor in oral surgery at the University of Michigan. “It’s a wonderful surgery to perform because it gives someone the opportunity to actually bite into a sandwich or overcome facial deformities that had previously plagued them.”