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Diagnosed With a Misaligned Jaw? Pros and Cons of Corrective Jaw Surgery

If you’re one of the 60 million Americans who suffer from a misaligned or dysfunctional jaw joint, you’re probably dealing with a dilemma of which treatment option to choose. Your dentist, orthodontist or oral surgeon has likely spoken with you about corrective jaw surgery. With multiple potential treatments, choosing one can be a hard decision. How do you know for sure if this treatment option is right for you? Here are a few pros and cons of corrective jaw surgery to consider.

The Pros
• Corrective jaw, or orthognathic, surgery moves your teeth and jaws into a healthier, more balanced and functional position. As a result, it improves basic day-to-day functions such as chewing, speaking and breathing.
• Corrective jaw surgery can successfully treat chronic jaw or jaw joint (TMJ) pain, headaches, an open bite (space between the upper and lower teeth when the mouth is closed), facial injuries or birth defects, a receding chin, a protruding jaw and sleep apnea (breathing troubles while sleeping, including snoring).
• While corrective jaw surgery is performed to correct your bite and jaw function, there’s an added bonus: a more attractive appearance.

The Cons
• There are costs of corrective jaw surgery—both in time and money.
• You will need to wear braces to move your teeth into a new position before the oral surgery, and there may be a phase when your bite seems to be getting worse instead of better.
• Following corrective jaw surgery, you will need to make lifestyle changes, such as eating a modified diet, refraining from tobacco products and avoiding strenuous physical activity.
• After surgery there will be discomfort, which is easily controlled with medication.
• You will need to recuperate at home for one to three weeks after surgery before returning to work or school.