Corrective jaw surgery, or orthognathic surgery, can provide a solution when the jaws are not properly aligned or when the teeth don’t meet as they should.
A combination of both orthodontic and surgical procedures can correct skeletal and dental irregularities to make chewing, speaking and breathing easier.
The goal of orthognathic surgery is to improve functional problems, but these procedures can dramatically enhance the appearance as well. When facial features are balanced and teeth are straight, patients gain a beautiful, healthy smile..
Three jaw surgery procedures are the most common.
Corrective Jaw Surgery for an Open Bite
Your upper front teeth should slightly overlap the bottom set of teeth when your mouth is closed.
If your molars are the only teeth that are able touch, and as a result, your mouth is usually open, this is generally referred to as an open bite. Depending upon the severity of your condition, orthodontic treatment alone may not be enough to fix the problem. In that case, jaw surgery may be necessary.
Orthognathic surgery for an open bite involves removing some of the bone in the upper jaw. Titanium plates and screws are then used to secure the bone in the proper position.
Corrective Surgery for an Underbite
If your lower jaw sticks out further than it should and partially overlaps the upper teeth when your mouth is closed, you have what is commonly called an underbite. Also referred to as a protruding lower jaw or extended chin, this condition usually requires both orthodontics and orthognathic surgery.
To correct an underbite, the chin must be pulled back to match the alignment of the upper jaw. For this to happen, the oral and maxillofacial surgeon must separate the bone at the rear of the jaw, modifying it so that it will fit properly into position. As with an open bite surgical procedure, the bone is then fixed in position with plates and screws.
Corrective Jaw Surgery for an Overbite
A receding lower jaw is essentially the opposite of a protruding lower jaw, wherein the upper jaw extends out beyond the lower jaw. This condition is commonly known as an overbite or weak chin, and treatment typically involves orthodontics along with surgery.
This type of orthognathic surgery is similar to that for an underbite. The bone in the lower jaw is separated and modified so that it can be placed correctly. Then, the chin is pulled forward into position and secured with screws and plates.
Patients commonly believe that bite problems are more cosmetic than functional; however, this is rarely the case. Without correction, bite problems can lead to a variety of serious dental and orthopedic problems, and often, tooth loss. For children, correcting bite problems early can prevent the need for more radical treatment later in life.
Contact Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah to learn more about bite problems. We have convenient office locations in Tooele, Cottonwood Heights and South Jordan, but we serve patients throughout the Salt Lake City, Utah, area. We look forward to meeting with you to determine if jaw surgery can help you.