Do your teeth seem a bit out of alignment? Do you have trouble sleeping because of breathing difficulties? When you smile, do you show less tooth and more gum than you would like?

Corrective jaw surgery (orthognathic) is a specialty of oral and maxillofacial surgeons (OMS) designed to correct an array of major and minor dental and skeletal irregularities including the misalignment of jaws and teeth. Jaw surgery can improve chewing, speaking, gummy smiles, and breathing difficulties that cause sleep disorders. Jaw surgery may improve the patient’s appearance dramatically, but its main function is to correct functional jaw problems.

Jaw surgery can correct the following conditions:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Gummy smiles
  • Chronic jaw or jaw joint pain and headache
  • Open bite (gap between the lower and upper teeth when the mouth is closed)
  • Facial injury
  • Protruding jaw
  • Chronic mouth breathing
  • Gap between upper and lower lips
  • Difficulty chewing or biting food
  • Excessive wear of the teeth
  • Facial appearance unbalanced from the side or front
  • Receding lower jaw and chin
  • Sleep apnea

Orthodontics is designed to straighten teeth while orthognathic surgery repositions a misaligned jaw. Jaw surgery is needed when the jaws don’t meet correctly and the teeth don’t seem to fit with the jaws. Jaw surgery not only improves a patient’s facial appearance, but also ensures that the teeth function properly and meet correctly.

For more information about Jaw Surgery and how it can improve your appearance and correct functional problems, call Hill Country Oral Surgery in Austin at 512-327-7233.

Speech Problems

Speech problems can be traumatic, especially for children. Unaligned teeth lead to an under bite, which not only causes aesthetic issues but also impedes normal speech. Unaligned teeth can also affect the phonetic pronunciation of certain words. In many cases, a lisp or speech impediment may be the result of misaligned jaws or teeth.

At Hill Country Oral Surgery in Austin, we understand the challenges associated with distorted jaw alignment and offer orthognathic surgery to correct the problems associated with it.

Gummy Smile

Gummy smiles typically have a negative effect on the aesthetics of a smile. The good news is an oral or maxillofacial surgeon (OMS) can correct a gummy smile with jaw surgery. Gummy smiles may be the result of:

  • An atypical upsurge of the teeth. Your teeth may be the proper length, but are covered by excessive gum tissue and appear short.
  • Your lip may rise higher than normal because the muscle which controls its movement is hyperactive. This issue could expose more of your gum tissue when you smile
  • An excessive bulging protrusion of your upper jaw within the gum tissue caused by the way your upper jaw developed. This bulging may also cause excessive gum appearance when you smile.

The best smiles reveal the least amount of gum exposure possible. The gum tissue noticeable in your smile line should have stable, even shapes which are in accord with the upper lip. This relationship to the upper lip and gum presence is why many people feel their smiles are unattractive and show a reluctance to smile at all.

Oftentimes, patients who show too much gum tissue have related health issues; if the patient’s jaw development and teeth eruption were abnormal, then it’s possible that they also have an abnormal and uncomfortable bite.

While there are orthodontic solutions for gummy smiles caused by excessive gum tissue, patients with gummy smiles caused by an abnormal bite and misaligned jaw should have jaw surgery. With jaw surgery, patients can take care of aesthetic issues and their long-term oral health.

Breathing Issues, Jaw Pain, and Sleep Apnea

Millions of people suffer from breathing problems. People who are plagued with breathing disorders can find it hard to sleep or, if they do sleep, gradually develop health problems without them knowing. Much of the time, issues with the jaws are the cause of severe headaches and a variety of sleep-related conditions.

Our jaws play an indispensable part of how well we breathe, speak, and eat. If nasal congestion prevents someone from breathing through the nose, it’s up to our jaws to keep our air passages open so we can breathe through our mouth. When our jaws are out of alignment, our crucial air passage could be blocked.

Sometimes, breathing issues can be interconnected or even cause jaw pain. The symptoms of pain can then expand throughout the face and head, leading to further conditions like:

  • Headaches, which seem like migraines
  • Back pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Neck pain
  • Ringing in the ears and hearing issues

The best way to ease jaw pain and to keep the air passages open is to correct the position of the jaw. Jaw surgery is designed to do just that.

Orthognathic Surgery

Corrective Jaw Surgery (Orthognathic Surgery) involves moving the bones of the lower jaw, upper jaw, or both the upper and lower jaws. The jaws may be shortened or lengthened, repositioned up or down – in or out – resulting in a more aesthetic appearance and harmonious bite.

Jaw surgery is needed when teeth and jaws don’t meet correctly. Moving the jaws so your teeth meet (occlude) correctly will improve your jaw joint function and chewing ability. It can also improve your smile’s appearance along with your facial aesthetics, gum health, sleep, breathing, and speech.

Jaw surgery is a complex procedure; minute, complicated factors like how your teeth bite and the effects of jaw surgery on how the face looks make jaw surgery a sophisticated procedure that must be planned carefully.

Because of the complexity of jaw surgery, a team approach is optimal. That team should consist of your orthodontist, oral surgeon, and occasionally your general dentist. The surgery may also include other dental specialists like endodontists and periodontists.

Orthodontics can correct bite problems when they’re caused exclusively by the teeth but if the jaw bones (mandible and maxilla) are not in alignment, then jaw surgery should be considered.

If a patient has uneven jaws and only the issues regarding the teeth are addressed, the patient could suffer from periodontal issues, joint problems, orthodontic movements, and poor facial aesthetics in the future.

Consultation and Evaluation

Before any procedure begins, you will need to have a consultation for jaw surgery. You’ll have a complete examination using models and x-rays. Usually, your orthodontist will provide your orthodontic models.

At Hill Country Oral Surgery in Austin, we utilize three-dimensional models and computerized techniques to help explain our treatment approach to patients. Using comprehensive computer images and facial x-rays, we can simulate how the patient will look after jaw surgery and demonstrate how their bite will improve. We use technology to help patients understand the extent of their treatment and the surgical process. We’re eager about informing our patients about the benefits of orthognathic surgery.

In some cases, we will use medical modeling to help us map out your procedure. This kind of modeling produces highly accurate physical models derived from medical imaging modalities such as MRI and CT.

We use state-of-the-art software to develop a 3D model of your bone structure. We’ll also use advanced computer programs to precisely plan just how we’ll perform jaw surgery for you.

When it comes to jaw surgery, we work closely with the patient’s dentist and orthodontist throughout the while treatment process. We feel confident that our team effort and expertise in jaw surgery can help fix a myriad of jaw-related conditions.

Orthodontics and Jaw Surgery

Corrective jaw surgery requires some orthodontic work because the teeth have to be aligned autonomously in each jaw. After jaw surgery, post-surgical orthodontics finish the alignment of the teeth to ensure an optimal bite.

Orthodontics is a crucial part of comprehensive jaw surgery. In the past, patients who had corrective jaw surgery had to have their jaws wired together to hold the bones in place. Today, tiny titanium screws and plates hold the bones in place during recovery so many patients wake up from jaw surgery with normal mouth movement.

For more information about Jaw Surgery and how it can improve your appearance and correct functional problems, call Hill Country Oral Surgery today at 512-327-7233

Corrective Jaw Surgery FAQs

What are the complications and risks associated with corrective jaw surgery?

Any surgical procedure has some risk. Patients will often experience a tingling sensation or numbness in the face or mouth while recovering from surgery. This effect is temporary, and the patient’s sensations will return to normal once the swelling subsides. Corrective jaw surgery always changes the contour of the patient’s face, most notably the profile of the chin, lips, and nose. We plan every surgery so that the outcome looks as natural and aesthetically pleasing as possible.

Please explain the benefits of corrective jaw surgery?

Jaw surgery has great benefits. Corrective jaw surgery is often performed to improve a patient’s facial appearance and improve the patient’s bite.  It may alleviate jaw pain, sleep disorders, breathing issues, and difficulties chewing and swallowing. It may also improve a patient’s facial appearance and eliminate a gummy smile.

Will my jaw be wired shut after jaw surgery? What can I expect from jaw surgery recovery?

Because of modern improvements with corrective jaw surgery, patients rarely need to have their jaws wired after surgery. Instead, screws and small plates are utilized to keep your jaw in an optimal position after surgery.

Certain factors, like the type of jaw surgery, your age, and medical history, will determine what your recovery will be like. Many of our patients take two weeks to recover, but for some patients swelling might take a little longer to subside completely. Jaw bones typically require six months to heal, so patients will need to modify their diets for some time. We will monitor your recovery from jaw surgery closely and we will be accessible for any questions or concerns you might have during this time.

Does health insurance cover corrective jaw surgery? What is the cost like with Jaw surgery?

Before your procedure, we will work with you and your insurance company to determine if they cover the procedure and to what extent. We work with patients who don’t have insurance coverage for corrective jaw surgery, and we can help any patients without insurance plan a treatment with us. We offer various financing options to help with your budget. We understand every situation is unique, so, please contact us today to discuss how we can help you achieve your goals.

Do You Need Corrective Jaw Surgery for Your Underbite?

For many Americans, even a slight underbite can seem extremely noticeable. While many patients with this type of malocclusion can address their concerns through braces or other treatments, some individuals with more severe cases may find that corrective jaw surgery is a better long-term solution. Read our blog post or contact us for a consultation to learn more about corrective jaw surgery for an underbite.

Schedule Your Consultation

Schedule a consultation today to determine your best choices. During a consultation, patients meet with their surgeon and the staff to discuss procedure options in more detail. Patients may ask questions about desired outcome as well as view before and after photos of similar procedures.

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