Many people overlook the role that our jawbones play in our daily lives—especially when it comes to eating and speaking. Unfortunately, misaligned jaws or issues with the joints on each side of the jaw can greatly affect oral health. When the jaw is developmentally or congenitally deformed or injured from trauma, jaw surgery is necessary to restore oral function and protect the mouth’s structures. An oral surgeon, a specialist who focuses on treating all tissues in the oral cavity and maxillofacial region, performs this type of procedure.
The jaw is essentially the foundation of the oral health system. It holds the roots of our teeth, anchoring them in place so that we can eat all kinds of food. The gums surround its curved structure to add further support to teeth. If the jaw is misaligned, it will strain the TMJs (temporomandibular joints) and damage the teeth and gums. Moreover, misalignments in the jaw contribute to diminished oral function and even pain.
The Importance of a Healthy Occlusion
The word occlusion refers to the way that the upper and lower sets of teeth line up when the mouth is closed and where teeth make contact with each other while eating. A healthy occlusion means that a person will enjoy smooth and comfortable oral function.
When jawbones do not line up properly, it affects the occlusion. Teeth may make contact in the wrong places and scrape against one another. Additionally, an unhealthy occlusion strains facial muscles and the TMJs. Unhealthy occlusions can lead to clicking or popping sounds during mouth movement, and untimely tooth wear because teeth are scraping against one another.
When Jaw Surgery is Necessary
Surgically correcting issues with jaw alignment is necessary when restorative dental treatments and orthodontia cannot improve an unhealthy occlusion. Surgery is also needed if the jawbones are deformed due to birth defects, issues with bone development, or after facial trauma has occurred. After recovery, patients will enjoy improved quality of life and increased oral function.
To learn more about your treatment options, call us today to reserve a consultation with our oral surgery team.