The jaw is a highly functional and aesthetic part of the human face.
Together, the upper jawbone – the maxilla – and the lower articulating jawbone – the mandible – determine how we bite, regulate respiration and airflow through the mouth, and account for a significant percentage of our facial appearance.
For many people, there is a misalignment between these two bones, causing issues such as overbites, underbites, crossbites, overexposure of the teeth or a protruding lower jaw. While these issues cause functional problems in breathing and chewing, they also create an imbalance within the facial features.
Fortunately, experienced craniofacial plastic surgeons can operate on the maxilla and mandible bones, and restore facial harmony and full functionality to the jaw. These procedures are jaw, orthognathic, or maxillofacial surgery.
What Can Maxilla and Mandible Surgery Fix?
We use our jawbones for many of our essential life functions: eating, breathing, and talking. A misaligned jaw can not only compromise these functions, but it may also skew the aesthetics of our faces.
With jaw surgery, surgeons can solve an incredible array of functional and aesthetic issues and can help patients:
- Make chewing and biting more natural.
- Solve speech impediments or issues swallowing.
- Reduce wear and tear and breakdown of teeth.
- Improve facial imbalances or asymmetry, such as small chins, over-, under-, and crossbites.
- Enable the lips to comfortably close and fully cover the teeth.
- Reduce pain caused by a misaligned jaw.
- Repair damage sustained in accidents or from a congenital disability.
- Free up the airway and relieve obstructive breathing and sleep apnea.
How Do Surgeons Do Maxilla and Mandible Surgery?
Depending on your aesthetic concern or functional problem, your surgeon may operate on either your upper jaw or lower jaw.
During orthognathic surgery, your surgeon will cut bone in appropriate locations, and in many cases, shave away excess bone material to align the bones with the face and surrounding facial structure.
They may also insert screws and plates between bone fragments, extending and elongating the bone to compensate for undergrowth.
Jaw Surgery in San Antonio, Texas
Jaw surgery is a significant operation, and choosing a specialist to perform it is not a decision you should take lightly. While the results from a successful surgery will be life-changing, there is the possibility of complications if the wrong surgeon does the procedure.
For these reasons, you must select a specialist with extensive training and experience in reconstructive and plastic surgery of the face and jaw.
Because jaw surgery will regulate both the function and the appearance of the jaw and face, surgeons must have an artful, aesthetic appreciation for the human form, combined with extensive, in-depth knowledge of facial structure and function to provide the results patients look for in maxilla and mandible surgery.