Oral Surgery in the Correction of Unequal Jaw Growth

The bones of the skull and jaw develop very gradually and continue to grow throughout adolescence and very early adulthood. Often, the growth process may be interrupted by one or a combination of external stimuli, causing the upper and lower jaw bones to develop at varied rates. This condition is referred to as unequal or uneven jaw growth.

Symptoms of Unequal Jaw Growth

It is possible that some of the symptoms of unequal jaw growth may indicate another condition, so it is important that the sufferer consult a qualified medical professional as soon as possible after symptoms are initially noticed. The following are commonly cited symptoms associated with unequal jaw growth:

  • Slurred speech or the presence of a lisp
  • Uneven bite, including an overbite or underbite
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing food
  • Uneven appearance of the face, including a receding or protruding chin
  • Compromised oral health, such as unevenly worn teeth
  • Excessive snoring, mouth breathing or other sleep problems

Potential Causes of Unequal Jaw Growth

While there exist a number of causes associated with this condition, the most common are as follows:

  • Injury to the face and/or jaw
  • Birth defect
  • Prior surgery to the face and/or jaw
  • Improper growth, usually beginning in early childhood

A qualified and experienced maxillofacial professional should be consulted regarding the precise cause and duration of the condition.

Correction of Unevenly Developed Jaws

When this condition is allowed to continue without treatment, it may become worse with time. With the use of advanced orthognathic surgery, oral and maxillofacial surgeons are able to correct multiple problems by repositioning one or both of the jaws. Depending on the severity of the condition, it may be necessary or strongly advised that the patient follow a continued orthodontic regimen in order to correct uneven teeth as well.

The primary goal of orthognathic jaw surgery is to improve a variety of problems with a single surgical procedure. Following surgery, patients frequently find that speech is drastically improved, chewing and swallowing is noticeably easier and that they experience fewer instances of difficulty in breathing while asleep. Patients who have endured unequal jaw development for an extended period of time may find it helpful to consult a speech therapist after surgery in order to deal with learned speech mistakes influenced by the condition.

In cases in which the chin is visibly affected, whether protruding or receding, a corrective surgical procedure generally results in improved facial appearance and self-confidence overall.

Face and Jaw Surgery Center serves all of North Dakota and North West Minnesota including Moorhead, MN and East Grand Forks, MN.

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