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Do You Really Need Jaw Surgery?

There are many potential ways to treat jaw or bite abnormalities. Orthognathic surgery, sometimes simply called jaw surgery, is one of these approaches, but it’s not the only one, and it may not be the best one for you.

These days, ControlledArch functional orthodontics may be able to treat cases that in the past required jaw surgery. Dr. Pamela Marzban in Burke, VA knows how and when to use this as an alternative to surgery. However, some doctors and dentists may not realize that the procedure is an option. If you can avoid orthognathic surgery and still get the results you desire, wouldn’t that be better?

Do You Really Need Jaw Surgery?

Drawbacks of Orthognathic Surgery

Orthognathic surgery is a powerful approach to correcting some jaw abnormalities, but it does have several drawbacks.

First, there’s the fact that this is a highly invasive surgery. Orthognathic surgery often involves breaking your jaw and cutting out parts of the jawbone. Other times, the jaw may be broken and repositioned. It is held in place with a combination of plates and screws. Your jaw may be wired shut to allow the body to build new bone without disturbing the healing process.

If all goes well, healing can take six weeks or more–that’s how long your jaw might be wired shut. Some people may be able to return to work after a week or two, but heavy activity, including exercise, has to be postponed for six weeks or more.

But complications of this surgery are relatively common. Credible estimates of complication rates approach 10%. In fact, multiple studies report this complication rate. In other words, about 1 in 10 people getting the surgery have complications. And one large review of complications suggests complications may actually be under-reported.

Nor are these all minor complications. The most common complication is infection, affecting between 4 and 7% of all patients. Other patients experience broken fixation devices, which can delay healing, impact results, and may require additional procedures. Nerve damage is also a relatively common complication. More than 2% of people getting surgery will experience damage to nerves in the jaw or face. Often, nerve injury heals right away, but in about 3% of cases, people may experience numbness, tingling, or pain for more than a year after surgery.

Nearly 2% of people may also develop TMJ as a result of orthognathic surgery.

A complication that doesn’t get mentioned in scholarly articles, but often comes up in patient experience is unintended cosmetic results. People sometimes aren’t happy with the results of their surgery.

Finally, in addition to the invasiveness and risk of the surgery, it’s also a very expensive treatment. The estimated cost of treatment is commonly cited as $20-40,000, with the average patient reporting about $19,000 out-of-pocket cost.

With all these drawbacks, it’s no wonder that many people would be happier if they could find an alternative.

ControlledArch Is an Alternative to Jaw Surgery

Fortunately, some people can take advantage of an alternative to jaw surgery: ControlledArch functional orthodontics. ControlledArch is a new development in orthodontic treatment that works more harmoniously with your body’s natural developmental procedures to maximize the power of orthodontic treatment and minimize the time required for treatment. It can do more than traditional orthodontics to improve your profile, and can treat some of the same conditions as orthognathic surgery.

The only way to know whether you can take advantage of this alternative is to get an evaluation by a dentist who understands the power of ControlledArch orthodontics.

If you’re looking for an alternative to jaw surgery in Burke, VA, please call 703-323-8200 today for an appointment with cosmetic dentist Dr. Pamela Marzban.