Jaw Surgery: What are the Possible Risks?

If you are considering jaw surgery, it’s important to understand the benefits and potential risks associated with this type of procedure. While jaw surgery, also known as orthognathic surgery, is used to correct irregularities of the jaw bones and realign the jaws and teeth to improve the way they work, it is also a major surgical procedure that should be undertaken with careful consideration. 

Jaw surgery is generally recommended for correcting jaw problems that cannot be resolved with orthodontics alone. This type of surgery is used to correct a variety of issues, such as misaligned jaws, crooked teeth, difficulty biting or chewing, and/or an open bite. It can also help improve facial appearance. In most cases, braces are also used to help with pre- and post-operative treatment.

The best time for jaw surgery is when growth has stopped, usually around ages 14 to 16 for females and ages 17 to 21 for males. However, the optimal time for surgery is determined on a case-by-case basis by your oral and maxillofacial surgeon and orthodontist. Most patients who undergo jaw surgery experience a successful outcome, with improved function and appearance of the jaw. 

However, it’s important to note that there may be some risks associated with this type of procedure. Potential risks include infection, nerve damage (which can lead to paralysis or numbness of the lips and/or chin), permanent numbness of the tongue, and a scar along the jawline. 

If you are considering jaw surgery, it’s important to discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure with both your oral and maxillofacial surgeon and orthodontist. Together, they can help you make a well-informed decision about whether or not jaw surgery is right for you.

Possible Jaw Surgery Risks

Jaw surgery can be a daunting prospect for many. It’s a major surgery that requires an experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeon and sometimes an orthodontist, and can involve some risks. Some of the possible risks include:

  • Blood loss
  • Infection
  • Nerve injury
  • Jaw fracture
  • Relapse
  • Problems with bite fit and jaw joint pain 

The potential for further surgery or even the loss of a portion of the jaw, can understandably give many people pause. At the same time, when done properly, jaw surgery can be a safe and effective way to address facial issues. 

An experienced surgeon can help to reduce the risks associated with the procedure, while also providing the desired outcome in terms of improved facial appearance, improved bite fit, and improved jaw joint function.

The procedure itself begins with the surgeon making an incision in the jawbone, and then using various tools to reshape the jawbone. The surgery is then completed by using wires, screws, and plates to hold the jaw in the new position. 

It is important to note that jaw surgery does require a period of recovery afterward. During recovery, you may experience pain, swelling, and difficulty eating because of the changes to the jaw. This can be addressed with nutritional supplements and/or consultation with a dietitian. 

You may also need to adjust to a new facial appearance, which can take some time. It’s also important to note that there is a risk of relapse. This is when the jaw returns to its original position after a period of time, which means that the surgery may need to be repeated. 

However, if the surgery is performed correctly, the relapse rate is low. Overall, jaw surgery is generally safe when done by an experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeon, often in collaboration with an orthodontist. With the right preparation and care, you can look forward to a positive outcome from the surgery.