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Corrective Jaw Surgery – St. Louis, MO

Helping Your Teeth and Jaw Fit Together

Woman outside and smiling after corrective jaw surgery in St. Louis, MO

Your upper and lower jaw are meant to work together in harmony. If they don’t align with each other properly, you might find it difficult to chew your food properly, speak clearly, or even breathe comfortably. Dr. Moreland has years of experience using corrective jaw surgery to help patients overcome such issues and enjoy a more harmonious bite. Call our office today to schedule a consultation and learn more about the numerous benefits of having your jaw corrected.

When is Corrective Jaw Surgery Required?

Illustration of an example of dental malocclusion

Corrective jaw surgery – also known as orthognathic surgery – is often employed for severe malocclusions. A malocclusion refers to any situation where the teeth and jaws don’t fit together properly. It might a developmental issue or a congenital defect, but occasionally it’s the result of an injury. There are many cases of malocclusion that can be corrected with braces or other kinds of orthodontic appliances, but some cases are too severe for these types of adjustments and may require surgery. We’ll work alongside your general dentist and other specialists to determine whether corrective surgery is truly the best option for addressing your needs.

Indications for Corrective Jaw Surgery

Blond woman leaning back in surgical chair and smiling

The following symptoms are often a sign that corrective jaw surgery is needed:

  • Having excessive difficulty performing basic tasks like chewing, biting, or swallowing
  • Speech problems that don’t go away on their own
  • Chronic pain in the jaws, including TMJ pain
  • A protruding lower jaw that’s too far in front of the upper jaw
  • Breathing problems related to the positioning of the jaw
  • Severe cases of underbite or overbite
  • Small chin (also known as a retruded jaw)
  • Sleep apnea and snoring
  • Misalignment of the jaw, chin, and nose

The above symptoms can all be present at birth, or they might appear over time as your face develops. There can be environmental influences as well. It’s important to figure out the underlying cause of the symptoms. That way we can be sure that the solution we’re recommending will truly get to the root of your problem.

The Corrective Jaw Surgery Procedure

Man giving a thumbs up after oral surgery

First, a consultation needs to be performed. X-rays of your mouth will be taken, and a number of models will be developed for planning purposes. In many cases, you’ll need to wear braces for at least 12 to 18 months before the surgery so that your teeth are properly aligned beforehand.

The surgery itself is largely performed inside your mouth, which means there most likely won’t be any visible facial scars afterwards. Small incisions are made in the jawbones so that they can be moved to their ideal position. Afterwards, the bone will be resecured in place, often with surgical screws that will eventually become integrated into the jaw.

Occasionally, extra bone might be added to the jaw to aid in the necessary corrections. Normally the bone will be transferred from your own hip or leg, but there are cases where tissue has to be taken from a human or animal donor instead.