Dental problems are one of the major health problems that a lot of people globally deal with. However, not all dental problems involve your teeth or gums. Some may involve your jaws, like jaw deterioration.
Also called the alveolar bone, your jawbone is responsible for anchoring your teeth into your mouth. Just like all the bones in the body, your jawbone needs stimulation to ensure the creation of new bones.
That stimulation is provided as a force given off by your teeth whenever you bite and chew. That force travels from the teeth to the roots and into the jawbone, where it stimulates the generation of new bone cells.
Lack of that stimulation means no new bones, which causes the jaw to deteriorate. Some of the factors that can cause jaw deterioration include:
- Missing teeth.
- Dental bridges.
- Bite misalignment.
- Sinus deficiencies.
- Gum diseases.
- Trauma to the face or jaws.
Jaw deterioration can also result from your upper jaw growing at a faster rate than your lower jaw. Jaw deterioration surgery is one of the most common and most effective ways to deal with jaw deterioration.
How To Know You Need A Jaw Deterioration Surgery
Jaw deterioration can be a condition that exists from birth, or it can happen after you have grown up. However, some symptoms will alert you as to when you need a jaw deterioration surgery, including:
- Difficulty chewing, biting, or swallowing food.
- Drifting, misaligned, or loose teeth.
- Excessive breakdown or tear of your teeth.
- Limited lip support.
- Collapsed facial features.
- Difficulty speaking.
- Distortion of your facial features.
- Pain in your jaw, TMJ, and face.
- Wrinkled and saggy skin around your mouth.
- Sinus expansion.
- Breathing problems.
- Protruding jaw.
- Open bite, which appears as excess space between the lower and upper jaw even you close your mouth.
- Underbite, where your lower jaw protrudes further forward than the upper jaw.
- Overbite, where your upper jaw protrudes so much than the lower jaw.
Types Of Jaw Deterioration Surgery
Depending on how deteriorated your jaw is and other factors, there are different types of jaw deterioration surgery your dentist can recommend:
- Maxillary osteotomy/ Upper jaw surgery- Done solely to correct the upper jaw.
- Mandibular osteotomy/ Lower jaw surgery- Done to correct the lower jaw.
- Genioplasty/ Chin surgery- This is also done to the lower jaw. It is used to correct an abnormally small chin, also known as a deficient chin. It can be done alone or can be done together with lower jaw surgery.
- TMJ surgeries- These are meant to help correct problems that may be causing Temporomandibular Joint Disorder.
How To Prepare For A Jaw Deterioration Surgery
Before going for a jaw deterioration surgery, you need to have braces on for about 12-18 months. That will help align your teeth and improve the results of the surgery. During that time, you will have to go to your dentist often to have examinations and x-rays taken.
There are also models and photos of your teeth taken during those examinations to help your dentist come up with the best procedure for your specific needs.
The dentist also examines your health and medical history to see if you are a good candidate for the surgery. Your dentist will also take you through everything you should expect during and after the surgery to ensure that you are fully mentally prepared.
What To Expect During The Surgery
Jaw deterioration surgery can be done to your lower jaw, upper jaw, or both. The procedure is done entirely in the mouth, ensuring there will be no outside visible scars. There are few times, however, that the dentists need to make incisions outside the mouth, but they are not visible.
The procedure begins with the administration of anesthesia to ensure that you are comfortable and to limit the amount of blood flow. The dentist will then make incisions to your upper or lower jaw, near the wisdom teeth.
That frees the jaws, making it possible for your dentist to move the jawbones up, down, or sideways to the desired position. Depending on how severe the condition is, your dentist may need to do a bone graft.
That involves the addition of bones to your jaws to acquire the desired shape and alignment. The bones can be taken from a small part of your body; they may be donated or artificial. Other times, your jawbone might need to be reduced in size or reshaped.
After all the procedures have been done and the desired shape and size of the jaw have been achieved, the dentist then places the jaw in the desired position. They are then secured in place using small screws, wires, bone plates, or brackets.
If the surgery was being done on either the lower or upper jaw, the dentist has to ensure that the teeth align before screwing them back in.
During the procedure, you don’t need to take off your braces. The procedure may take between 1-3 hours, depending on the severity of your jaw condition. You may also need to stay in hospital for about four days for the dentist to examine you before going home.
If you are undergoing a temporomandibular joint surgery, the surgeon makes incisions in front of your ear, and with the help of a small camera, removes any scar tissue that may be causing the pain.
Alternatively, they may reposition your jaw and realign the disk of the joint to ensure that it regains its normal movement.
What To Expect After The Surgery
Immediately after the surgery, you will experience numbness in your mouth and cheeks before the anesthesia wears off. Sometimes, that numbness could last for a few months in case the dentist cuts some nerves, which takes some time to grow back.
For the first two weeks after the surgery, you will experience swelling, pain, bleeding, and redness in your jaws, which is normal. Sometimes the swelling doesn’t go away for a few months. Your dentist will prescribe some anti-inflammatory medications, antibiotics, and pain relievers.
You may also have an unusual bite before getting used to your new jaw alignment. However, you will regain your proper chewing function two months after the jaw deterioration surgery.
Initial jaw recovery will take around six weeks, but complete recovery may take around 12 weeks. During that time, you will need to take a break from work or your daily activities. There are also other precautions that your dentist will give you to help with the recovery. They include;
- Getting plenty of sleep helps your body relax and speeds up the healing process.
- Not smoking or drinking alcohol. Alcohol can affect and slow down the healing process..
- Avoiding strenuous activities that might increase blood pressure and cause bleeding at the surgical site.
- Practice good oral hygiene and use a special mouth wash to prevent bacteria from spreading to the surgical site. However, avoid hard toothbrushes and harsh toothpaste.
There will also be a restriction to your diet. You have to ensure that you eat foods that will not irritate the surgical site or cause bleeding. For the first week, avoid any solid foods. Some of the things you can have during that period include smoothies, soups, and Jell-O.
For the following 4-6 weeks, stay away from hard, chewy, spicy, and hot foods. Also, avoid using straws and gargle with warm salty water at least twice a day to kill any bacteria. You are also supposed to stay away from any physical activity that may injure your jaw or face.
To help with the swelling and discomfort, you could do a cold compress using an ice pack on the outer side of where the surgery was done. After the jawbones have recovered, your dentist will complete the teeth alignment with braces that you have to wear for several months.
Cost Of Jaw Deterioration Surgery
The average cost of a jaw deterioration surgery is between $20,000 and $40,000. The prices can differ depending on how much surgery is needed, the severity of your jaw deterioration, and the dentist you choose.
Benefits Of Jaw Deterioration Surgery
Jaw deterioration surgery has many benefits, and all of them are related to enhancing your physical appearance. That will helps increase your confidence and self-esteem. It also helps improve your overall health. Some of the benefits include;
- Corrects protruding jaws.
- Reduces excessive wear and tear of your teeth which could eventually lead to tooth breakage or loss.
- Makes chewing, biting, and swallowing easier.
- Improves vocal and speech ability.
- Corrects receding chin or lower jaw.
- Relieves pain that is caused by temporomandibular joint disorder.
- Repairs jaw-related birth effects and facial injuries.
- Corrects facial asymmetry from the side or front of the face.
- Provides relief for sleep apnea.
To get the best results from your jaw deterioration surgery, you need the best dentist. Some of the things you need to consider before settling for a dentist include;
- Skills and expertise.
- Equipment being used.
At Imagine Dental, we understand how important it is to maintain your perfect smile. We also understand how uncomfortable a deteriorating jaw can be, and it may also hinder you from doing your daily activities or affect your productivity.
We are dedicated to restoring not only your smile but also your comfort and productivity. We have a team of the best. Most qualified, experienced, and professional dentists use state-of-the-art equipment to ensure that you get nothing but the best.
We will also advise you on some of the best practices to ensure that you maintain proper oral hygiene.