Achieving Good Dental Health Can Be Easier than You Think

Why Braces Might Not Be Enough To Correct A Protruding Lower Jaw

If your teen child has a protruding lower jaw, taking him or her to an orthodontist is a great way to find out how this problem can be corrected. When a child has a jaw in this condition, braces can help, but they might not be enough. Orthognathic surgery is often needed to fix major jaw problems, and here are several things you should know about this and braces for correcting a protruding lower jaw.

What Is Orthognathic Surgery?

Orthognathic surgery is a form of jaw surgery used to correct numerous problems with jaws. When a jaw develops normally, a person's upper teeth will rest in front of the person's lower teeth. Unfortunately, there are times when the jaw does not develop normally. If the abnormality is minor, an orthodontist may be able to use braces to correct the problem; however, if the jaw is severely out of alignment, orthognathic surgery is often very useful.

Orthognathic surgery is used to reposition the jawbone. This surgery often requires separating the upper and lower jawbones by cutting it. Once the jawbones are separated, the surgeon will position them properly. To fix a protruding lower jawbone, the surgeon will need to make sure the upper jawbone is moved forward, while the lower jawbone is moved back. The surgeon may use screws to hold the bones in place, but these screws may be removed later on when the healing is complete.

This procedure will require anesthesia, and it may take up to three months for the bones to heal completely. While this is a big procedure to undergo, it can usually fix a jaw that developed abnormally. Once it heals, the jaw will look completely normal and natural in most cases.

What Conditions Can This Surgery Correct?

Not only can orthognathic surgery correct a protruding jawbone, but it can also correct other issues, which include:

  • Severe open bites
  • Severe over bites
  • Facial deformities
  • Deformities that have occurred from injuries or trauma
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)

In addition, doctors can also use this type of surgery for certain medical conditions. For example, if a person cannot breathe normally due to the structure of his or her jaw, this surgery can fix the problem.

Every situation is unique, and your child's orthodontist and oral surgeon may work together to create a plan for your child. You should also know that health insurance plans will typically cover at least some of the costs of this procedure. This is because these conditions are usually considered medically necessary.

How Can Braces Help?

If your teen's jaw is severely out of alignment, an orthodontist may suggest using braces twice. The first set of braces would be used prior to the surgery, and the second set will be used after the surgery. In other situations, an orthodontist may recommend getting orthognathic surgery first and then installing the braces. This is because braces have limits. They can only correct minor jaw problems. The surgery is useful for moving the jawbone, while the braces are then used to make the final touches on the teeth and jaw. Each situation is different though, and consulting with an orthodontist is usually a good place to start.

Having a nice, straight smile is something that can help boost your child's confidence and self-esteem. If your child has any type of jaw deformity, you can make an appointment with an orthodontist to find out what will be needed to fix the problems he or she has. By visiting an affordable orthodontist today, you will be able to get additional info on what you need to know about fixing your child's jaw.