Orthognathic surgery is a process where a doctor corrects issues with the positioning of the jaw. A surprising number of conditions are potentially correctable by this method. If you have any of the following 6 conditions, you may want to talk with a doctor about whether you're a candidate for corrective jaw surgery.
Underbites and Overbites
The position of the jaw can create both practical and aesthetic issues with a person's bite. Oftentimes, the disparity occurs due to a cleft palate. If you have a severe underbite or overbite, surgery is likely to be the long-term solution. Notably, a doctor will want to know that a patient's face has stopped growing before they'll consider this surgery. Typically, that happens in the mid-to-late teenage years.
Malformation of the jaw can lead to some odd problems. Particularly, the tongue may recede further into the mouth or even the throat if that jaw's structure doesn't have room for it in the front. In the least worrisome scenarios, this can lead to breathing difficulties. In the most extreme cases, it can lead to hypoxia or outright choking. Adjusting the jaw with orthognathic surgery can change the relationship between the tongue and the jaw, ultimately relieving some of these breathing problems.
Sometimes, the alignment of the jaw causes a person's face to be asymmetric. Corrective jaw surgery may allow a doctor to reposition the bones to minimize or eliminate the misalignment.
Understandably, many of the previous issues can also cause a person to struggle to speak well. While speech therapy can often help a person cope, especially when they're too young for surgery, it may not be able to address the problem fully. Once a patient is old enough for orthognathic surgery, a doctor can make corrections to try to improve the physical elements of the individual's speech.
Failure to Thrive
One of the sneakier problems is failure to thrive. If a person's jaw doesn't permit them to eat well, this can lead to difficulty putting on weight and height. Correcting the jaw's position and alignment may significantly improve their ability to get nutrition. By extension, they might begin to add body mass.
The alignment of the jaw can encourage some problems with a person's teeth. Similarly, there are bones between the teeth and the jaw, and these dental bones affect how teeth will grow and align. Also, the loss of a tooth can cause atrophy in this region. Corrective jaw surgery, though, may be able to resolve some of these issues and improve a patient's dental health.
Contact your dentist to learn more about orthognathic surgery.