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Treatment for Malocclusion

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Topic Overview

Orthognathic surgery treatsmalocclusion("poor bite") by restructuring the jaw through cutting the bone and repositioning the bone segments.

Adults who have jaw-related malocclusion are sometimes offered a choice between simpleorthodontic treatmentand orthodontic treatment combined with orthognathic surgery. Adults who have severe jaw problems may need surgery to improve their looks and how the jaw works. Severe jaw problems can include upper jaws that don't match with the lower jaws.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons or plastic surgeons perform this surgery using general anesthesia. Recovery takes several weeks. While the bone slowly heals, the jaw is held in place with wires or plates and screws.

The most common problem after this surgery is numbness of the upper or lower lip (paresthesia). Other risks include infection, bleeding (hemorrhage), swelling, muscle spasm, andtemporomandibular disorder.

For most people, orthognathic surgery is elective, based on personal choice. Because orthognathic surgery requires a long and difficult recovery period, you should carefully weigh the benefits against the hardship and expense of the surgery.

For those few people who also have serious functional problems, such as problems with chewing or closing the mouth, orthognathic surgery may be a necessity.

Related Information


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerWilliam F. Hohlt, DDS - Orthodontics

Current as ofMay 7, 2017

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