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Many jaw and tooth problems can be corrected with braces or other orthodontic tools and procedures. However, more severe complications may require orthodontic surgery to correct. Also called orthognathic surgery or corrective jaw surgery, orthodontic surgery can be useful in correcting conditions that are caused by congenital deformities, injuries, and developmental issues.
Orthodontic Surgery Indications
Jaw, ear, and head pain can all be indicators of abnormalities in the jaw structure that may require surgery to correct. If regular jaw functions such as eating, breathing, or speaking cause pain or are difficult, these factors may also indicate the need for orthodontic surgery. These issues should be discussed with an orthodontist in order to determine the need for surgery and pinpoint the exact cause. Orthodontists may not perform the diagnostic tests necessary to catch certain conditions if not alerted to these pain sensations.
In some cases, there may be visible indications that surgery is necessary. A receding chin or dominant overbite may indicate skeletal malformations that require surgery to correct. Correcting these conditions can help to boost confidence and can have emotional benefits as well as medical and cosmetic benefits.
Diagnosing Conditions Requiring Surgery
Assessing the need for orthodontic surgery is not always simple or straight forward. Collaboration between an orthodontist, dentist, and an oral surgeon is often the best approach, as braces may be required to successfully complete the correction, and other factors such as tooth health may come into play. Diagnostic tests such as x-rays may be used to determine the extent of the problem and identify the most effective surgical and procedural options.
Orthodontic Surgery Considerations
Depending on the condition that will be corrected using surgery, patients and orthodontists may have to take certain factors into consideration prior to surgery. These factors include subsequent or preliminary surgeries and procedures that may be necessary and patient appearance following surgery. There is software available that can allow patients to view projected results of orthodontic surgery, and this may help to determine whether braces or cosmetic surgery will be needed following surgery. Patients may also need to consider overall cost factors and plan accordingly for all eventualities. If orthodontic surgery is undergone and follow-up procedures are avoided, the desired results may not be achieved.
Conditions Corrected Using Orthodontic Surgery
There are many different conditions that can be corrected using orthodontic surgery, including but not limited to: