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5 Facts You Should Know About Jaw Surgery

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You may need jaw surgery to correct a jaw disorder that was caused by an injury, a congenital condition, or problems with your dental health. Jaw surgery can also correct misalignment issues with your top and bottom teeth and may additionally be needed to remove a cyst or tumor. If you think you might need jaw surgery or just want to know more about the procedure for reference, these five facts can give you a better idea of what jaw surgery entails. 

1. Jaw surgery often works best on younger patients.

You can get surgery at almost any age, but children often show the most promising results after undergoing one of these procedures. Children's bodies haven't finished growing and are still developing, and this includes their jaws. When jaw development is in an earlier stage, disorders are easier to correct and can often be done with fewer complications.

2. Jaw surgery is sometimes used to treat a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).

Other less-invasive treatments are often effective in treating a TMD or at least alleviating its symptoms, but oral surgery could be recommended if your condition is more severe and hasn't been resolved with other treatments. Surgery may be needed to relieve pain and tension in one or both of the temporomandibular joints and might make it possible for you to open your mouth fully again once the tightness that also usually comes with having a TMD is gone.

3. You'll likely receive general anesthesia for surgery.

To keep you as comfortable and pain-free as possible during your surgery, you'll likely be given general anesthesia so that you'll sleep throughout the entire procedure. Jaw surgery may take several hours to complete, and you likely won't notice how long your surgery was if you're kept medically sedated and safely unconscious until your procedure is finished. 

4. A hospital stay and several weeks of healing time might be part of your recovery plan.

You'll probably need six to twelve weeks to heal fully from jaw surgery, and the exact amount of healing time will depend on the extent of your surgery and how well your body handles recovery. Many jaw surgical procedures can be done on an outpatient basis without an overnight hospital stay, but you may need to stay in the hospital for at least a few days if your surgery is more complex or you experience complications from surgery.

5. Braces may be needed after surgery.

Jaw surgery can't always fix all tooth misalignment issues, and you might need to get braces or continue wearing them as you did before your procedure to try to straighten your teeth. You may be given braces that are made from metal or other materials, or you might receive Invisalign trays that can be worn over your teeth to correct the crookedness.

Jaw surgery can be an excellent solution for many people, and you may be an ideal candidate for one of these procedures. A dental professional can give you more information that will likely answer any additional questions you have about the procedure and how it can improve your life.

Contact a local oral surgeon to learn more about jaw surgery.