Why have jaw surgery?
Whether we like it or not, a person’s facial appearance can have a huge effect on how they are perceived and also how they perceive themselves. We are very aware that this can have a profound effect on self-confidence and have other negative consequences.
Jaw disproportion or misalignment is one factor that may contribute to one’s facial appearance and can also have a profound effect on chewing, speech, breathing and dental appearance.
In some cases jaw surgery can help to restore facial balance and as a result improve facial appearance. In addition this can greatly improve jaw function and chewing as well as having beneficial effects on speech, dental appearance and in some cases breathing.
Common problems that may require jaw surgery
Small lower jaw
You may feel that your lower jaw has not grown forward as far as it should. This can manifest as a difficulty or inability to get your front teeth (incisors) to meet. This can lead to problems with eating certain types of food (sandwiches for example). Additionally, some people don’t like that their jaw appears too small when observed in profile.
Large lower jaw
On occasions, a patient may notice that their lower jaw protrudes further than their top jaw. This can mean that a person has difficulty eating foods as their lower incisor (front) teeth sit ahead of their upper teeth. The profile of a larger lower jaw is a cause of concern for some patients.
Patients may notice that their lower and/ or upper jaws look asymmetrical. There are a number of reasons why this asymmetry may have occurred. It is vital that the cause for the problem is correctly identified as failure to do so can lead to poor treatment outcomes. Patients with facial asymmetry usually complain that their ability to eat is affected, their jaw joints can be painful, and they are not happy with their appearance.
Small upper jaw
Some patients commonly present with the feeling that their lower jaw is too big. In many of these cases however, the upper jaw is the source of the problem. A small upper jaw can make the normal lower jaw look relatively big. In these cases, it is imperative that the correct operation is performed to ensure and stable and aesthetically balanced profile following treatment.
Big upper jaw
The upper jaw can occasionally grow further than is desirable. This often manifests with a ‘gummy smile’ and can cause problems with patient confidence as well as gum related problems. Jaw surgery can be an option for treating this type of problem to give a patient a confident and balanced proportion of tooth show in their smile.
On occasions, a patient’s jaws may grow in a manner that means their teeth are unable to meet together at the front. This leads to a phenomenon called an anterior open bite. In these cases, patients frequently complain of difficulty biting into foods. Jaw surgery may provide a solution to allow the front teeth to meet together.
Bite problems following trauma
The face is a commonly injured part of the body. If you have sustained a facial fracture involving the upper or lower jaw, your profile and bite may have changed. In some cases, delayed or unsuccessful treatment can lead to significant problems. In these cases, jaw surgery to correct the problem may be an option. This type of surgery is usually more complex and requires the skills and experience of a suitable surgeon and orthodontist to manage the problem.