Jaw malalignment happens when the upper and lower jaws where the teeth are based are not aligned. It affects not just your facial appearance but also your bite, speech and chewing. Oral hygiene is harder to maintain with poor bite and crooked teeth.
Jaw malalignment and damaging bites may be treated before puberty. The best age for treatment for jaw malalignment and damaging bites can range from 7 to 14 years old. Your child’s orthodontist is the best person to recommend the correct mode and timing of early treatment. Your child should see an orthodontist at age seven for an assessment.
Deficient Growth of Jaws
Deficient growth of the upper jaw can be treated using a facemask or reverse pull headgear. A narrow upper jaw can be treated with an expansion screw. Deficient growth of the lower jaw can be treated by functional appliances.
The success of treatment depends on compliance with appliance wear and the natural growth potential of the child.
Excessive Growth of Jaws
Upper jaw growth can be restricted using a headgear. The success of treatment depends on compliance with appliance wear. Restriction of lower jaw growth is often unpredictable and prone to relapse. Such treatment is rarely undertaken.
Treatment of Bite
When the jaws are misaligned, teeth may be forced to a bite in a manner which is damaging to the health of the teeth and gums. If left untreated, this can lead to loosening and early loss of teeth.
Teeth can be brought out of a damaging bite using fixed or removable appliances. The bite may need to be propped up with cement or plastic blocks in order to align the teeth. The success of treatment depends on compliance with appliance wear and maintaining good oral hygiene.
In adults, these disharmonies of jaw
size or position can only be corrected
Some of the common problems are best dealt with a combined braces and surgical treatment approach known as Orthognathic Surgery. These are:
Orthognathic surgery is a predictable
treatment option for complex dental/
facial problems. It ensures the best
possible results, both functionally and
aesthetically. The lasting reward is a
healthier and happier you.
Treatment is carried out in 4 phases:
Phase 1: Treatment Planning Phase
Treatment planning is carried out
jointly by an orthodontist and an
oral and maxillofacial surgeon. The
orthodontist determines how braces
will align your teeth in preparation
for surgery. The oral and maxillofacial surgeon studies your jaw deformity
and decides on the type of surgery
most appropriate for your case. This
initial phase of treatment will include
consultation, records-taking and
discussion of the treatment plan
Phase 2: Presurgical Orthodontic
Many patients undergo an initial
period of presurgical orthodontic
treatment, where braces are fixed
to align the teeth. This phase may
take 9 to 18 months. The actual time
taken depends on the condition, the
patient’s age, cooperation and other
factors. During this time, patients are
seen at intervals of four- to six-weekly
At the end of this phase, the teeth are
aligned so that they will fit into a good
bite after surgery.
Phase 3: Surgical Phase
Surgery is scheduled when the
presurgical orthodontic phase is
completed. Inpatient surgery is
needed to correct the malalignment
in the jaw and face by making cuts in
the bones and repositioning them in
their desired alignment. Braces used
to align teeth prior to surgery are left
in place during the surgical procedure.
They help to stabilise the teeth and
jaw bones after surgery.
Phase 4: Postsurgical Orthodontic
After surgery, postsurgical
orthodontics is continued to achieve
final alignment of the teeth and to
retain them in their new position.
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