4 Things You Should Know About Corrective Jaw Surgery

We’re all born with different facial features — it’s what makes us unique. Sometimes an oddity or irregularity becomes our signature identifying feature, like high cheekbones, a distinctive mole, or a broad smile. 

Some people love their one-of-a-kind characteristics, but others try to conceal or even change them through plastic surgery. If you have a protruding jaw, it may or may not bother you aesthetically, but there may be other reasons to consider corrective jaw surgery.

At LM Orthodontics in McLean, Virginia, our team of experts can evaluate your jaw structure and let you know whether it poses merely a cosmetic issue or if your misshapen, oversized, or misaligned jaw is causing other problems that affect your health. Here are the four main things corrective jaw surgery can accomplish.

Corrective jaw surgery can solve eating issues

When you chew your food, you rely on a concerted effort between your tongue, teeth, and jaws. Like walking and breathing, chewing is a rhythmic movement regulated by your brain. Your jaw makes three distinct movements during chewing: lateral, vertical, and anteroposterior (back and forth). 

If your jaw is too big or not positioned well, it alters the way you chew, and in some cases can make chewing painful, ineffective, or outright impossible if it locks up. When you don’t or can’t chew your food well, it can lead to digestive problems like acid reflux, malnutrition, gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Corrective jaw surgery restores your ability to eat efficiently so you can avoid these health problems.

Corrective jaw surgery can solve sleep and breathing issues

The jaw joint is technically called the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), and when it’s misaligned, the condition is called TMJ disorder or TMD. Studies have shown a link between TMD and sleep apnea, a condition that causes your airway to become blocked while you’re sleeping. 

The most common type of this problem, chronic obstructive sleep apnea, occurs when your throat muscles relax and close in, blocking the flow of air. Your jaw’s natural response is to jut forward to open up the airway. This constant stress and tension can either lead to or exacerbate TMD.

Because these two conditions often go hand in hand, corrective jaw surgery may solve both conditions at the same time. 

Corrective jaw surgery can solve speaking issues

The size of your jaw directly impacts the other parts of your mouth, and therefore affects your ability to to form words. For instance, if your jaw is too small, it crowds your teeth into a cramped space, leaving less room for your tongue to move properly. 

If your misaligned jaw has caused TMD, your muscles are in a constant state of tension as they seek a neutral at-rest position. Tight, stiff jaw muscles can cause slurred speech.

Your misaligned jaw may also be making clicking or popping sounds that become distracting when you speak, and sometimes pain and soreness make the problem even worse. Many sufferers avoid speaking, or at least avoid saying certain words, but corrective jaw surgery can alleviate the jaw and speech problem.

Corrective jaw surgery can solve cosmetic issues

Opting for corrective jaw surgery because you don’t like the way your jaw looks is a very popular choice — and it’s not only a great way to improve the balance of your face, it’s an investment in your overall health at the same time. 

Yes, your main motivation for corrective jaw surgery may be purely aesthetic, but in addition to the medical benefits we listed above, your new profile has the power to dramatically improve your self-image and increase your self-confidence. The better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to take care of yourself with good nutrition, regular exercise, and plenty of fresh air and laughter. 

When it no longer hurts to smile, and you no longer struggle to eat, breathe, and speak, you suddenly feel free to enjoy life with family and friends.

If your protruding jaw hinders your life in any way, you may be a good candidate for corrective jaw surgery here at LM Orthodontics. To find out, contact us by phone or online to schedule a consultation with one of our jaw experts. 

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