At Central Texas Orthodontics in Austin, TX, our lead specialist, Dr. Brian St. Louis, and his team of professionals are dedicated to providing comprehensive and individualized treatment plans to correct misaligned jaws. One question that often comes up from patients is whether a misaligned jaw requires surgery.
What Is a Misaligned Jaw?
A misaligned jaw, also known as malocclusion, occurs when the upper and lower jaws do not align properly. This can cause a range of problems, including difficulty chewing, speaking, and breathing, as well as jaw pain, headaches, and even sleep apnea. In severe cases, this condition can also lead to facial deformities. With the help of our specialist, your needs will be addressed as we help you navigate the treatment process.
Types of Misaligned Jaws
There are several types of misaligned jaws, including overbite, underbite, crossbite, and open bite. An overbite occurs when the upper teeth extend too far over the lower teeth, while an underbite is the opposite, with the lower teeth extending too far forward. A crossbite occurs when the upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth, while an open bite occurs when the upper and lower teeth do not touch at all.
How Do I Know If This Treatment Is Right for Me?
The ideal candidate for this surgery is someone who has a jaw misalignment that causes difficulty eating, speaking, or breathing, or someone who is unhappy with the aesthetic appearance of their jaw. Those who do not experience such severe symptoms may not need to consider surgery, though they may want to consider other treatment options offered at our practice.
Before the surgery, the patient will need to undergo a comprehensive dental exam and medical evaluation. The orthodontist may also require the patient to get some dental work done before the surgery, such as extracting teeth or filling cavities. Patients will also need to follow specific instructions regarding eating, drinking, and medication intake before the surgical process. These extra steps will help our specialist determine whether or not surgery is the best option for you.
Other Treatment Options
The good news is that a misaligned jaw can often be corrected without surgery. There are a variety of orthodontic treatments available, including braces, clear aligners, and jaw expanders, that can gradually shift the teeth and jaws into proper alignment. In some cases, however, surgery may be necessary to correct a severe misalignment.
In any case, our lead orthodontist, Dr. Brian St. Louis, will help to ensure you receive the specialized care you need to address your individual concerns.
Non-Surgical Treatment Options
Braces are the most common orthodontic treatment for correcting misaligned jaws. They work by applying pressure to the teeth and slowly shifting them into proper alignment. Clear aligners are another option, and they offer a more discreet treatment option. They work similarly to braces but use a series of clear, removable aligners instead of metal brackets and wires.
Jaw expanders are another non-surgical treatment option. They work by gradually widening the upper jaw to create more space for the teeth. This can be especially helpful for patients with a narrow upper jaw, which can cause an overbite or other alignment issues.
Surgical Treatment Options
In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct jaw misalignment. This may involve repositioning the upper or lower jaw, or both, to improve the alignment. Surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia and requires a period of recovery time. Our specialist and team of qualified professionals will help you navigate this process every step of the way as you receive the care you need.
Our Lead Orthodontist
Behind the work of our professional team is the experience and dedication of our lead specialist, Dr. Brian St. Louis. With many years of experience in his field and numerous professional affiliations, Dr. St. Louis is equipped to provide our patients with high-quality, and compassionate care, regardless of the treatment they need.
What Does The Surgical Process Look Like?
Misaligned jaw surgery is most commonly performed under general anesthesia and involves making incisions inside the mouth to access the jawbone. The surgeon will then cut, move, and realign the jawbone to correct the misalignment. Depending on the extent of the procedure, the surgery can take several hours to complete. After the surgery, patients may need to stay in the hospital for a few days to ensure proper recovery and pain management. We will work with you to ensure you have the best possible results with the least possible discomfort.
Benefits of Jaw Alignment Surgery Treatment
Safety and Effectiveness
Orthodontic treatments, both non-surgical and surgical, are considered safe and effective. Your orthodontist will discuss the procedures we offer with you and help you decide which treatment option is best for your individual needs.
Whatever option you choose, our specialists are trained to provide you with high-quality care and attention to ensure your procedure runs smoothly and effectively from start to finish.
Longevity of Results
The longevity of results from this treatment varies from person to person, depending on various factors such as the severity of the misalignment, the type of surgery performed, and the patient’s commitment to maintaining their oral health. In general, the results of surgery are permanent and can last a lifetime with proper care.
In addition to the functional benefits of this procedure, there are also cosmetic benefits. Correcting the jaw misalignment can enhance the patient’s facial symmetry and proportions. Surgery can also often help with issues related to the temporomandibular joint, which is the joint connecting the jaw to the skull.
In addition to the functional and aesthetic benefits of this surgery, patients may also experience psychological benefits. Improvements in appearance and function can boost self-esteem and confidence, leading to a better overall quality of life. Our head specialists and his team of committed orthodontists are here to make sure you feel and look your best.
This treatment can also do more than just improve a patient’s appearance. It can also improve their ability to bite, chew, and speak. Patients who have experienced difficulty with these functions due to their jaw misalignment may see significant improvement after the procedure.
In some cases, this surgery can also improve a patient’s ability to breathe. This is particularly true for patients who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea: a condition in which the airway becomes blocked during sleep. By realigning the jaw, the airway can be opened up, allowing for easier breathing.
Reduced Risk of Dental Problems
When jaws are misaligned, it can lead to uneven wear and tear on teeth, leading to an increased risk of decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. By correcting the alignment of the jaw, surgery can help reduce the risk of these dental problems.
As a result, you can save both time and money by addressing this issue through surgery instead of having to schedule numerous appointments for dental problems caused by a damaged jaw. It is always advisable to tackle dental concerns such as this one sooner rather than later, to prevent a number of other dental issues from appearing.
Patients who require this procedure may experience difficulty in speech, such as slurring, lisping, or difficulty pronouncing certain words. This surgical process can correct the positioning of the jaw, improving the patient’s speech and communication abilities.
Relief From Jaw Pain
Jaw misalignment can lead to chronic jaw pain, headaches, and even migraines. This procedure can correct the alignment of the jaw, alleviating the pain and discomfort associated with misalignment.
Better Oral Health
Jaw misalignment can lead to problems with oral hygiene, as misalignment can make it difficult to properly clean teeth and gums. This can lead to an increased risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues. As a result of this surgery, patients are better equipped to care for their teeth on a day-to-day basis.
Take Action Now
At Central Texas Orthodontics, we understand the importance of proper jaw alignment for overall oral health and function. If you are experiencing jaw pain or difficulty chewing or speaking, a misaligned jaw may be the cause. Our experienced orthodontists can provide you with a comprehensive evaluation and develop a personalized treatment plan to correct this concern. Whether you need braces, clear aligners, jaw expanders, or surgery, we are here to help you achieve a healthy, functional smile. Contact us today at Central Orthodontics in Austin, TX to schedule your first consultation and embark on the journey to a healthier and brighter smile.