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Do People Really Have Their Jaws Broken?

You may have heard people claim that they are going to have their jaw broken as part of a dental procedure.  It sounds extreme, is it true?

The answer: kind of.

Orthognathic surgery is a form of Orthodontic surgery, as well as an example of Oral and maxillofacial surgery, which we discussed in depth last month.  While it sounds intimidating, orthognathic surgery can be the first step towards a beautiful, pain free, healthy smile.  Also known as corrective jaw surgery, orthognathic surgery, corrects injuries or deformities to the jaw that could not otherwise be treated with braces or other orthodontics.  Surgery may be used in conjunction with or in place of orthodontics, depending upon the diagnosis.  The following are common types of orthognathic surgery.

For treatment of temporomandibular disorders (TMD), often referred to as temporomandibular joint (TMJ), there are three surgical options: Arthrocentesis, Arthroscopy, and Open-Joint Surgery.  The first two are relatively minor procedures wherein a surgical scope is used to remove tissue that restricts the movement of the temporomandibular joint.  Open-joint surgery is reserved for more complex temporomandibular disorders that require the removal of bone chips or tumors, or repositioning the disk.

Maxillomandibular advancement addresses one of the most successfully treated oral and maxillofacial conditions: sleep apnea.  During the procedure, the upper jaw and the lower jaw are precisely segmented and moved forward.  The slight shift forward reduces the amount of the tongue that blocks airways during sleep.  This treatment method has proven to be 98% effective.

So, while open-joint surgery and maxillomandibular advancement may involve the jaw bone being “broken” in a sense, it is far from the ghastly images that come to mind when someone says they are “having their jaw broken.”   All of these procedures should be at the direction of an orthodontist who can assist with preparation and follow up.  Contact Gruelle Dempsey today and we will help you to achieve the smile you’ve always dreamed of.