Mar 21, 2023

Maxillofacial Surgery: When is Jaw Surgery Necessary?

Maxillofacial surgery involves operations done by a highly-trained oral surgeon to treat defects, diseases, and injuries sustained on the jaw, face, or mouth.

When is Maxillofacial Surgery Required?

Jaw surgery is usually recommended when you have a condition severely impeding your jaw’s function. Below is an in-depth look at jaw problems that may need surgery as a form of treatment.

  • Improper Bite Because of Bone Structure

If you visit your dentist’s office because of improper bite or malocclusion, the first line of treatments they are likely to recommend are braces, retainer, or tooth extraction. However, jaw surgery becomes the better option in cases of severe teeth misalignment or where the cause of malocclusion is abnormal jaw bone structure. This surgery can fix bite problems like open bites, crossbites, underbites, and overbites.

  • Facial Trauma or Injury

Car accidents, sports injuries, and other traumatic events may result in facial trauma causing damage to your teeth, gums, and jaw. In cases where the trauma is severe, one may break their jaw bone, needing surgery to restore the symmetrical shape of the face and functionality of the jaw.

  • Asymmetrical, Protruding, or Receding Jawline

A protruding or receding jawline will likely affect the alignment of your lower and upper jaws. Some conditions associated with asymmetrical jawline include mandibular hyperplasia, maxillary hyperplasia, maxillary hypoplasia, and mandibular hypoplasia. More so, some developmental syndromes can cause overgrowth in some jaw areas or inhibit standard growth on one side of your jaw.

All such conditions will need jaw surgery or recontouring to be corrected. An asymmetrical, protruding, or receding jawline can be apparent from a young age, but one must wait till they get to adulthood for them to have orthognathic surgery. The waiting period is necessary so as to allow the jaw to develop fully. Before surgery becomes viable, kids can wear headgear, retainers, or braces to improve their condition.

  • Chronic Pain in Your Jaw

The TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, is a hinge connecting your lower and upper jaws. If you place your index finger in front of the ear and open your mouth, you can feel the joint move. This movement that you are supposed to feel is supposed to be smooth and uninterrupted, but at times there can be occasional popping which is normal. However, any feeling of pain when opening your mouth or experiencing a jaw lock when your mouth is wide open is a sign of TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder).

At Family Dental Care – Munster, our dentist will first recommend non-invasive options before suggesting jaw surgery. In less severe cases, TMD disorders can be treated with orthodontic appliances like a retainer or a mouth guard. Surgery becomes necessary in severe conditions to eliminate pain and restore normal jaw function.

  • Jaw Cysts and Tumors

Your jaw and oral cavity are made up of various tissue types like the mucosa, glands, bone, and muscle. These tissues make a face more prone to cysts and tumors than other body parts, and the chances are much higher if you drink alcohol or smoke.

When abnormal growths develop around the jaw or on the inside, health experts will recommend having them removed surgically to prevent deformities, malocclusions, or other issues. Sometimes you may also be required to undergo radiation and chemotherapy if the cysts or tumors are deemed cancerous.

The Complications and Risks of Jaw Surgery

Jaw surgery, just like other medical procedures, has its complications and risks. Common complications that can occur include post-op pain, bleeding, swelling, and infection.

The risks associated with jaw surgeries include:

  • Nerve injury
  • TMJ disorder
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Tooth loss
  • Dry socket
  • Facial numbness
  • Nasal deviation
  • Relapse
  • Recurring pain sensations

If you are experiencing jaw issues that bring you constant pain or make it difficult for you to eat and speak, set up a consultation appointment with our dentist in 46321. During your consultation, the medical practitioner will:

  • Evaluate your symptoms
  • Review your past medical history
  • Ask about any current medications you have been on
  • Conduct a full maxillofacial area examination
  • Perform diagnostic imaging

The treatment options will be discussed once the full diagnosis is done and will depend on the patient’s age and state of health. If you have a severe jaw issue that needs surgery, visit our facility for a maxillofacial surgery near you.

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