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Face and Jaw Surgery

Braces caused jaw protrusion

08/24/2007

Question:

I am 55 years old and just finished 1.5 years of a full set of braces to correct an overbite. I had four teeth removed to correct overcrowding. My orthodontist also suggested jaw reallignment after braces to correct the bite. I have not had the jaw surgery as yet. My bite is off, and my facial appearance is significantly changed due to the braces and tooth extraction. My teeth are now set back and much narrower than before, which makes me have the appearance of "an old woman who has no teeth and whose chin sticks out". I am willing to have further correction if anything can be done. Please help me find the correct solution. Thank you in advance.

Answer:

The process of reshaping your face with orthodontics and corrective jaw surgery is called orthognathic surgery. This is done in conjunction with both your orthodontist and an oral & maxillofacial surgeon.

It appears your overbite problem is due to a small lower jaw. A small lower jaw may cause bite problems, such as not being able to bite into food. It can also cause your chin to look receded. Your upper teeth may jut out in front of or overlap your lower teeth.

The orthodontist uses braces to properly align and position your teeth for the bite you will have after surgery. The duration of braces range from six to eighteen months before surgery, depending on the position of your teeth and the type of surgery you are having. The braces stay during surgery and will remain for another six to eight months after surgery for final positioning of teeth. The braces are used during the jaw surgery.

As your teeth gradually shift into ideal position in jawbones, your bite may look worse and your face may appear off balance. You are ready for surgery when your orthodontist finds your upper and lower jaws finally fit together well with new molds. It may seem like your braces are making your bite worse than it was before, because the orthodontist is positioning your teeth for the bite you will have after surgery.

The jaw surgery for either upper or lower jaw is done by incisions (cuts) inside the mouth with no outside visible scars. Most of the patients after jaw surgery do not need to have their teeth wired, and they need to be on a soft food diet for a minimum of six weeks. You should see an oral and maxillofacial surgeon who can inform you in detail and alleviate your concerns

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Response by:

Likith V Reddy, MD, DDS, FACS Likith V Reddy, MD, DDS, FACS
Formerly:
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati