Skeletal deformities of the face that result in a misalignment of the jaws and/or teeth can be corrected through orthognathic surgery, also known as corrective jaw surgery. Such deformities can include “long-face syndrome,” protruding or receding lower jaws or chins, protruding or receding upper jaws, open bites, and severe malocclusions that are not amenable to conventional orthodontic treatment. Indications that a person may need this type of surgery include:
- difficulty chewing or biting,
- difficulty swallowing,
- breathing problems,
- speech problems
- chronic jaw or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain,
- open bite,
- unbalanced facial appearance,
- receding chin, or
- protruding jaw.
This type of surgery can be very complex and is performed by dental specialists known as oral and maxillofacial surgeons. Before performing this type of surgery, the patient’s dentist, orthodontist and oral & maxillofacial surgeon should collaborate to determine the nature, type, and kind of corrective surgery that is required in the patient’s specific case.
This type of surgery can involve the repositioning of all or part of the upper jaw, lower jaw, and/or chin. This may require the removal, addition, or re-shaping of bone. The jaw may be held in its new position by surgical plates, screws, wires, and rubber bands until the bones have healed.
The benefits of this surgery include:
- improving the ability to chew;
- minimizing the excessive wear and breakdown of teeth over the years;
- correcting facial imbalance, thereby improving the appearance of deficient chins, underbites, overbites, and crossbites;
- repairing and correcting post-traumatic facial injury defects and abnormalities; and
- relieving sleep apnea.
This type of surgery is always a major surgery and is often life-endangering. It is performed in the hospital, requiring a two to five day stay and recuperation at home can take three to six weeks. Each year there are many lawsuits filed against oral surgeons for negligence claims. These highly skilled surgeons often have to defend themselves in lawsuits because the results of the surgery did not meet the unrealistic expectations of the patient.
If you or a loved one has injured as the result of the negligent actions of an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney to evaluate your case.
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