When most people are asked to think of the types of treatments and procedures an oral surgeon offers, they’ll typically reply with answers like “wisdom teeth extraction” or “dental implant treatment.”
While these are common procedures oral surgeons specialize in, they are by no means the only treatments these professionals offer. An overlooked procedure that nonetheless offers major benefits to certain patients is orthognathic surgery. Most patients know it by its less-technical name: jaw surgery.
The benefits this procedure offers vary depending on a patient’s needs. Essentially, some people are born with jaw bones that are not properly aligned. This type of problem can also develop following an accident or injury. By correcting the alignment issues, an oral surgeon can address a wide range of potential health problems. They include the following:
Chewing is such a natural part of most people’s life that it’s easy to take for granted how complex the action actually is.
Think of your mouth like a machine that’s used for several different purposes. Chewing is one of them. In order for a machine to properly function, every component needs to be in the right place. If any particular component is misaligned or does not fit with the other components, it can prevent the machine from functioning as it was intended to.
That can happen when jaw misalignment makes chewing difficult and/or painful. Discomfort often develops because a person must strain to chew. This can even have an impact on their eating habits if the discomfort is severe enough.
Luckily, jaw surgery can usually correct the underlying problem. Chewing becomes much easier as a result. It’s also worth mentioning that some jaw problems develop before a person is born. Thus, they can live their entire life not realizing that chewing should actually be an easier process than it is. Once they undergo surgery, they realize how substantial their discomfort truly was.
The jaw plays a major role in the overall structure of your face. Thus, misalignments in your jaw bones can have a negative impact on your physical appearance. The lower facial characteristics of people with certain types of jaw misalignments often appear unbalanced.
This degree of jaw misalignment can interfere with everything from chewing to speaking. However, it’s important not to overlook the fact that few people want to go through life struggling with the impact a misalignment can have on their looks.
They don’t have to. It’s often possible for an oral surgeon to correct the problem in such a way as to restore balance to a person’s face. This can substantially improve their physical appearance.
Jaw misalignments have also been known to result in faster tooth wear than average.
This is due to the fact that a properly aligned jaw allows a person to distribute pressure across their face in a relatively balanced manner. Unfortunately, when the jaw bones are misaligned, certain sections of teeth can experience more pressure than others. This may cause them to wear down over time, even if a patient is otherwise vigilant about maintaining their dental health.
This is why jaw surgery is important to schedule as soon as you notice a problem. Improving your looks is just one benefit it offers. For many patients, jaw surgery can serve to guard against other health consequences in the future. You’ll avoid additional discomfort and expenses in the long run by correcting the issue before other problems develop as a result of it.
Swallowing & Speech Problems
By now, you know that jaw misalignments can make basic tasks like chewing more difficult than they need to be. In certain cases, they can also interfere with tasks like swallowing and speaking.
This is another common reason people undergo jaw surgery. Obviously, being unable to easily swallow can be both frustrating and dangerous. Problems with speech can also make it difficult to communicate with others. Thanks to jaw surgery, it’s possible to overcome these problems and live a much more comfortable life on a daily basis.
There are many reasons why jaw problems can cause discomfort. The pain that results from straining to chew is just one of them. For example, problems with the temporomandibular joint can result in TMD disorder, a condition that manifests in frequent pain.
Regardless of exactly how jaw misalignment is causing discomfort, this is yet another problem an oral surgeon can typically address. A patient’s quality of life improves significantly as a result.
Consider scheduling an appointment with an oral surgeon if you believe you may have a jaw alignment problem that needs to be corrected. Your dentist may also identify an issue that requires treatment from an oral surgeon during your regular dental check-ups and cleanings. The oral surgeon can then take a closer look and determine the best treatment for your needs, helping you correct and overcome symptoms like those described here.