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Corrective Jaw Surgery: 5 Risks and Rewards You Need to Know About

It’s one of the hardest choices a patient must make. The decision whether or not to have elective surgery—one that is not necessary to save or extend your life—can be stressful.

If your dentist, orthodontist or oral surgeon has recommended that you have corrective jaw surgery, it’s important that you approach the decision as an informed patient. Research shows people who are well informed about their treatment tend to be more satisfied with the outcome. That’s why it’s always wise to do your homework and turn to reliable, trusted sources (such as the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons) to get as much information as you can. Like all surgeries, corrective jaw surgery has risks and benefits you need to weigh. Here’s a brief overview of each:

Corrective Jaw Surgery Benefits
Corrective surgery moves your teeth and jaws into a healthier, more balanced and functional position, thus improving basic day-to-day functions such as chewing, speaking and breathing. Corrective jaw surgery can successfully treat a variety of conditions: chronic jaw or jaw joint (TMJ) pain and headache, open bite (space between the upper and lower teeth when the mouth is closed), facial injury or birth defects, receding chin, protruding jaw and sleep apnea (breathing troubles while sleeping, including snoring). While oral surgeons perform corrective jaw surgery to correct a patient’s bite and jaw function, there’s an added bonus: a more attractive appearance.

Corrective Jaw Surgery Risks
Risks include infection, bleeding or the need for further surgery to improve or adjust a result. While patients frequently feel numbness or tingling in various areas of their face and mouth after surgery, the sensation usually goes away as the swelling subsides. On rare occasions, there’s a permanent change in sensation.