X-ray of a human skull

Corrective Jaw Surgery: Why You Should Need It

Most people will visit a dentist only when in considerable pain. If other issues related to their oral health cause only minimal discomfort, they opt to wish these away. In fact, most people will consider dental care for something that does not seem like it is. While some dental procedures might be cosmetic, most also have a significant impact on your overall oral health and function.

One of the procedures an oral surgeon in Salt Lake City might recommend, even if you might not see much of a need for it, is corrective jaw surgery. This is aimed at correcting a discrepancy caused by the disproportionate growth of your jaws. The most evident outcome of corrective jaw surgery or orthognathic surgery, as it is also called, is its cosmetic impact. However, the operation primarily aims to correct different functional issues that affect your oral health. Here are some of these problems:

Inability to Properly Chew Food

Your lower jaw should be slightly behind your upper one such that when you close your mouth, the upper teeth will overlap the lower ones. This ensures maximum inter-digitation of your teeth, which in turn allows the efficient chewing of food. With an uneven jaw growth, your biting and chewing efficiency are compromised, and you might swallow food without thoroughly mashing it. This contributes to poor nutritional status and digestive issues.

Speech Issues

Proper pronunciation of word takes complex coordination of different muscles. Abnormal jaw development will affect the functioning of the muscles that coordinate speech. More often than not, however, corrective jaw surgery is done on adults and teenagers with already established speech patterns. As such, speech therapy might be needed after the surgery to enable you to get a proper diction.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Woman using a machine for sleep apneaOSA is the leading cause of disrupted sleep since the condition results in an airway obstruction when the soft palate collapses. If your jaw is underdeveloped, this further complicates the condition since it narrows your airway. To alleviate OSA, corrective jaw surgery will reposition the jaws in a forward position and move the muscles away from your airway. This alleviates OSA symptoms and improves the quality of your sleep.

Premature Wear of Gums and Teeth

When your jaw is malpositioned, the lower and upper teeth will not completely meet. As a result, some teeth will bear the brunt of oral forces, while others will be under-utilized. This malfunction will cause the premature wear of the teeth that handle all your chewing forces. Jaw correction surgery will alleviate the pressure on these teeth and restore their full function. If the wear is already extensive, your dentist might recommend dental crowns or veneers to protect your teeth from further damage.

In most cases, you will need braces to optimally correct your bite and get an excellent facial balance after addressing the functional issues after your jaw correction surgery. You will have the surgery done under general anesthesia, and its incisions are made through the mouth rather than on your face. This way, you have minimal scars from the operation.