We’re diving into some great tips and advice for helping you find the best jaw surgery options near you. Here’s how to find the right doctor for mouth pain.
Does your jaw ache every time you chew? Maybe you have a difficult time speaking or feel self-conscious about your facial alignment. If this all sounds familiar, there’s a chance you’re one of over 10 million Americans with a temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder (TMJ).
This group of conditions causes dysfunction and pain to a person’s jaw and the muscles that control movement. If you have a painful jaw condition, it could impact your comfort, functionality, and overall quality of life.
Don’t live in pain! Instead, keep reading to discover how to find the best jaw surgery options near you. With this guide, you can find an experienced, qualified doctor you can trust.
Explore your options and put an end to your pain with these tips.
What Is Corrective Jaw Surgery?
Also known as orthognathic surgery, corrective jaw surgery is performed to correct jaw misalignments. It’s also used to realign your teeth when orthodontic treatment isn’t enough.
These surgeries are designed to repair and reposition extreme irregularities. An irregularity between your lower and upper jaw could cause your teeth to clench incorrectly. The misalignment could affect how you chew or speak.
It can also have an impact on your facial appearance.
Who Needs It?
When exploring your jaw surgery options, it’s important to consider your specific condition. Conventional orthodontic braces can’t correct all jaw discrepancies. Rather, orthodontic treatment is ideal to correct bite problems that are caused by tooth misalignment.
Jaw surgery, on the other hand, repairs skeletal imbalances in the jaw.
The best candidate for corrective jaw surgery has crooked teeth and jaw misalignment. There are a number of reasons you might have a skeletal imbalance in your jaw. For example, your upper and lower jaw might have grown at different rates when you were younger.
A birth defect or traumatic facial injury could also make you a candidate for corrective jaw surgery. The top oral surgeons can also help with conditions such as:
- Speech issues
- Chronic jaw or jaw joint pain (TMJ)
- Protruding jaw
- Sleep apnea
- Difficulting chewing, biting, or swallowing
- Chronic mouth breathing
- Space between your upper and lower teeth when closing your jaw
- Receding chin
- Poor facial appearance and alignment
- An inability to make your lips meet without straining
- Excessive wearing on your teeth
If you’re unsure whether or not you’ll benefit from jaw surgery, visit your orthodontist. A doctor can explore different jaw surgery options with you to improve your appearance, breathing, speech, or chewing.
Sometimes, treatment takes course over a span of years. You might need a combination of orthodontics as well as surgery. For a successful surgery, you’ll need a fully grown jaw bone.
With that in mind, jaw reconstructive surgery isn’t recommended for patients who are younger than age 16.
Corrective jaw surgery like TMJ surgery could change your life.
After surgery, you’ll notice improved functionality in your jaw and teeth. As a result, you’ll find it’s easier to chew and function.
The main goal of these surgeries is to correct a misaligned bite. However, many patients also notice improvements to their way of life.
Some of the common benefits of jaw surgery include:
- Treating excessive mouth breathing
- Restoring balance to your facial features
- Improved chewing and digestion
- Eliminating TMJ pain or other jaw problems
- Preventing and minimizing wear and tear of your teeth
- Providing relief for sleep apnea
Before surgery, you’ll meet with a doctor or oral surgeon for pre-op instructions. They’ll also review their surgical plans or alternative jaw surgery options. For example, you might need to discuss options for anesthesia and food or drink restrictions on the day of your surgery.
How to Find Your Options
According to this study, jaw surgery is considered relatively safe. It also produced a low number of complications when completed by a qualified surgeon. When exploring your jaw surgery options, you want to find someone with the knowledge and hands-on experience you need.
Here are a few factors to consider when exploring your jaw surgery options.
- Confirm Their Credentials
Start by developing a list of potential surgeons to research. You can speak with your orthodontic dentist for recommendations.
Then, head online! Most of the information you’ll need is a few clicks away.
Take that list and check The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB). There, you can determine if a surgeon you’re interested in is licensed in the state.
Once you’re on fsmb.org, click on Consumer Resources for their free tool. If the physician you’re researching isn’t listed, look into someone else.
- Check for Surgical Certifications
You can also determine if a surgeon is board-certified or eligible in a specific specialty through the American Board of Medical Specialties. If a surgeon is board-certified, they underwent training within their specialty. They also have to pass a stringent exam.
If they’re listed as board eligible, the doctor has finished their residency but hasn’t passed their test yet. That’s okay; it sometimes takes a few years before doctors can take the test.
Still, choosing a board-certified surgeon can give you peace of mind that you’re choosing the best option available.
- Look for Professional Reprimands
You’ll also want to make sure a doctor isn’t being sanctioned by a professional licensing board. You can use the FSMB to check a doctor’s disciplinary record.
State medical boards also post profiles that include a doctor’s medical malpractice claims, criminal convictions, and board actions. If you see any posted, consider looking for another surgeon.
- Check Their Track Record
You can check Consumers’ Checkbook and ProPublica to see how the surgeon you’re interested in is rated among their peers. These resources also list the number of procedures completed and complication rates.
This information can offer you peace of mind that you’re choosing a qualified, talented surgeon for your operation.
- Interview Them in Person
Before choosing a surgeon, make sure to interview them in person.
Ask about their experience and how often they perform the surgery. Do they specialize in jaw surgeries or other surgeries instead? What are the possible risks?
Jaw Surgery Options: Take a Bite out of Your Options for the Best Doctor
Once you interview the different surgeons on your list, review your notes. You can also speak with the surgeon’s colleagues and previous patients. With these tips, you can review your jaw surgery options and have peace of mind that you’re making the best possible choice.
Searching for more helpful medical guides? Explore the Lifestyle section of the blog today.