Jaw Surgery Questions and Answers Archive

Nov
2001

Q&A: Is it possible to get lower jaw surgery done for a sever over bit and not have to wear braces?

Question:

I've been told I have a pretty severe over bite and should have oral surgery to correct it because it causes serious pain in my jaw and popping when I chew. The way the procedure was described to me is that there would be incisions made on either side of my lower jaw, then they would lengthen it and put screws in my jaw. Is there any way that this surgery can be done with out having to get braces as well?

- Athena

Answer 1:

Yes, but the results are not as long lasting nor as surgically correct as they can be when done with the assistance of orthodontic therapy. It is considered below the standard of care to do the jaw surgery alone without braces.

-- Charles R. McNamara, DMD
Winter Park, Florida

Answer 2:

David A. King, DDS - LocateADoc.com

The standard of care leans towards orthognathic surgery (ie: corrective jaw surgery) involving atleast an oral & maxillofacial surgeon and an orthodontist. Proper tooth alignment can be critical for a stable and acceptable outcome.

--David A. King, DDS
Wilmington, Delaware



Oct
2001

Q&A: I have an overbite and want to know who I should see to fix this and give me a wider smile?

Question:

hi, i'm a 31 yr. old female and i believe i have "malocclusion"? an overbite.my top row of teeth almost completely overlaps my bottom row of teeth when i bite..my question is that i've been reading on the net that braces is recommmended for correcting this..does it matter who does this or is it like a plastic surgeon who will create his version of molding depending on his style, the reason why i'm asking is i would like to create a more wider smile since my teeth now which are straight are very narrow and i would like it to expand more outward and also my chin seems to be a little weak, would braces also fix that or do you think i would have to have jaw surgery to correct that. please let me know your opinion about finding a good doctor if it does make a difference on how my outcome of appearance will be..thanks for your patience and time.

- rachel

Answer:

Rachel, It sounds like you need an orthodontist. Find one who is certified by the American Board of Orthodontics. You may need jaw surgery if you have such a deep bite. If so the orthodintist will direct you to an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon.

--Charles R. McNamara, DMD
Winter Park, Florida



May
2001

Q&A: Do I have any options if my insurance company will not cover the repair of my under bite resulting in eating problems?

Question:

I have a bad underbite. I had a surgery consult, and had been planning on having the surgery at the end of June. They planned on moving my upper jaw forward and possibly moving the lower one back also. They were also going to shorten my upper jaw. Then I found out my insurance doensn't cover the surgery and it is likely to cost 30-35,000 dollars. I can't afford that! I'm really insecure about my smile, and I have a lot of problems eating. Is there any way to get my insurance company to cover it? Do you know of any companies that do cover that kind of surgery?

- Kelly

Answer:

Kelly, Unfortunate for many, insurance companies often apply the cosmetic surgery rules to orthognathic surgery. They feel the establishment of a functional bite is nothing more than cosmetic surgery, and most companies will not cover cosmetic surgery. It may take a number of appeal and review letters to get the company to assist you. You may need to make a number of calls to the company, and have both your doctor's office and your employee benefits rep make calls, too. If it can be a benefit to any medical problems you have, e.g.TMJ, gastric problems, air way problems you might get a favorable responce. Check also that your benefit handbook excludes or does not exclude corrective jaw surgery. It may mean changing docs, but if they do cover it it may mean you have to see a new provider. Good luck

--Charles R. McNamara, DMD
Winter Park, Florida



May
2001

Q&A: Could I have a relapse after I have surgery on both jaws and my palate widened?

Question:

Hi. I am a candidate for upper and lower jaw surgery. My lower jaw sits back to far and my upper palete needs to be widened. I am a small framed women. I was wondering if you can give me an idea of what my chances are that a relapse may happen if I have these surgeries? I hear there is a good chance that a relapse will happen after having the lower jaw surgery. Would you be able to give me some more info. on the facts?

- Marie

Answer:

You should discuss this with the doctor doing your surgery.

--Charles R. McNamara, DMD
Winter Park, Florida



Apr
2001

Q&A: What can I do outside of corrective jaw surgery to improve the appearance of my jaw if I have TMJ?

Question:

I have tmj and I don't like my physical appearance because of this disorder. Is there anything that can be done to help without having a major jaw surgery?

- Marie

Answer:

Have you tried wearing a veil? Seriously, your question is so vague I can't even begin to offer you an answer.

--Charles R. McNamara, DMD
Winter Park, Florida



Mar
2001

Q&A: What should I do if the orthodontists refuses to put in braces unless a orthognathics, jaw surgery or partial glossectomy is done?

Question:

The orthodontist refuses to continue with braces until my daughter has either orthognatic (sp?) surgery on her upper jaw or a partial glossectomy to reduce her tongue size. The surgeon insists on the jaw surgery while my daughter has chosen (only because there have not been alternatives offered) the tongue surgery. I feel like I am backed into a corner. She is 16 and small boned. She has an open bite and cross bite on the left side. Her front teeth are fractionally off center. She was in braces for four years. The first two years seemed to be effective. Unfortunately, we moved before treatment was complete. The second orthodontist, whom I assumed was to continue the treatement, insisted on re-doing everything. Each month he "re-tied" according to his records. We moved again and the third orthodontist (same org as the second) was to complete the treatment. He took off the braces after six months saying four years was long enough. He put her in a retainer. We moved back to our first home and immediately returned to her first orthodontist. He was quite concerned because, after excpanding her palate, one side had partially collapsed creating a crossbite and, she still had an anterior open bite. He said to think about it but we would likely have to start over. He wanted to extract upper and lower bicuspids. The new ortho (who is oushing for the surgery options) says her tongue will likely just push the teeth out again despite the extractions and braces. I hate that she has already gone through so much. It has already cost a lot more than I can afford as a single mom. I don't know what to do or who to contact. In the meantime, I have paid out even more to this orthodontist who claims he can do it once and do it right BUT with the surgery. It never should have come to this and I am extrememly concerned as well as confused. CAn someone help or advise? Thank you Jamey

Answer:

David A. King, DDS - LocateADoc.com

I am confused also! I cant recommend the glossectomy when orthognathics or distraction osteogenesis will do the job. Texas is filled with top notch oral surgeons. get another opinion.

--David A. King, DDS
Wilmington, Delaware



Aug
1999

Q&A: Can lower jaw surgery reduce my pain, eliminate the cranking noise, and improve my air passage for speech?

Question:

I have a big lower jaw which I believe causes two problems. First, I experience brief pain at the temporomandibular joint after yawning. Almost always there is some silent cracking sound as I move my lower jaw. And second, I find it difficult to talk clear and loud; as it takes alot of effort to move my big lower jaw up and down. For aesthetic reasons, my daily face posture holds the big lower jaw so the chin is pointing down. But often, phlegm builds up at the back of my throat; which with my face posture, obstructs the air passage and my ability to talk. My question is: Can corective jaw surgery solve both of 'my' big lower jaw problems? Can it clear my air passage so that I can talk more loud and clear? Will it ease the temporomandibular joint pain and make it easier to move it up and down? Thank-you, Joe Yamada

Answer:

The answer to all your questions is yes. I would seek an initial consultation with an orthodontist that is familiar with jaw corective surgery. Good Luck

--Priveer Sharma, D.M.D.
Winter Park, Florida