Issues That Corrective Jaw Surgery Can Address
Malocclusion problems affect the position of the jaw. Many malocclusion issues can be corrected with orthodontic treatment. Orthodontics uses alignment devices such as braces, retainers, and aligner trays, to encourage the teeth and jaw to move into their intended position.
Some severe malocclusion problems may not respond to orthodontic methods. For the treatment of advanced malocclusion problems, Dr. Kellyn Hodges works alongside a skilled oral surgeon to provide patients from Philadelphia, PA, Bala Cynwyd, PA, and Bensalem, PA, with orthognathic or corrective jaw surgery. Here, we provide an overview of the issues that corrective jaw surgery can address to realign the jaw and improve oral functions.
An overbite, also commonly known as buck teeth, refers to upper front teeth that extend horizontally beyond the bottom teeth. In some cases, an overbite is genetic, but many times it is the result of childhood habits. Thumbsucking and prolonged use of a bottle or pacifier can lead to an overbite.
An overbite is not just an aesthetic concern. An overbite can result in issues such as:
- Breathing problems
- Difficulties with speech
- Difficulty or pain with chewing
- Jaw pain
- Increased risk of oral health problems, including tooth decay and gum disease
An underbite is nearly the opposite of an overbite. In patients with an underbite, the lower front teeth extend horizontally beyond the front jaw. As with an overbite, an underbite can be a genetic condition or it may be the result of oral habits or injury. Tongue thrusting and thumbsucking are common causes of an underbite.
An underbite can lead to oral health complications and general problems that may include:
- Jaw pain
- Discomfort when chewing
- Difficulty eating
- Speech problems
- Difficulty breathing
An open bite is one in which the upper and lower teeth do not make contact when the mouth is closed. An open bite can affect the teeth at the back or front of the mouth. An open bite can develop as the result of oral habits such as thumbsucking or tongue thrusting, but it may also be genetic. An open bite is often caused by a dental or skeletal abnormality.
As with other malocclusion issues, an open bite can cause problems. Side effects of an open bite may include:
- Problems with chewing or swallowing
- Speech impediment (particularly a lisp)
- Oral pain
- Jaw pain
Asymmetry refers to a jaw that is overdeveloped or underdeveloped on one side. Jaw asymmetry results in facial asymmetry. Asymmetry may be apparent at birth or it may become pronounced as a person ages and the facial bones mature. Asymmetry has a significant impact on a person’s appearance and may also hinder the way a person eats.
How Can Corrective Jaw Surgery Help?
Corrective jaw surgery addresses these issues to enhance the appearance of the smile, alleviate oral pain, and improve oral functions. Each surgical procedure is unique, but treatment typically involves the placement of metal plates, screws, or surgical splints to realign the jaw.
Individuals who suffer from severe malocclusion problems resistant to orthodontic treatment may be ideal candidates for corrective jaw surgery. To learn more about the issues that can be addressed through orthognathic surgery and the surgical techniques that may be right for you, contact our orthodontic practice online or call (610) 617-0700 and schedule an appointment with Dr. Kellyn Hodges.