About two-thirds of the US population has a poor bite that requires medical treatment. Doctors perform surgery for underbite correction for a percentage of these individuals.
Most people want to get and keep a beautiful smile. You can do just that, depending on your situation. When it comes to underbites, sometimes you need surgery to correct the issue.
Keep reading to learn more about the different types of surgery to correct an underbite.
The technical term for an underbite is a Class III malocclusion. It’s when the lower teeth overlap the upper teeth.
Either you or your child could have an underbite that’s as minor as a mild misalignment. This is when you’re upper and lower teeth almost meet.
An acutely pronounced underbite is on the opposite end of the spectrum. This is when teeth don’t meet at all.
Surgery for Underbite Correction
There are excellent options for correcting an underbite. The right method for you or your child depends on several factors.
Age is one of those factors. You should begin correcting a child’s underbite as soon as possible. It’s easier for a surgical professional to manipulate the bones and pallets of children.
Some overbites may only need one type of correction. Others may need a combination of interventions—including surgery.
Let’s look at a few surgical options for underbite correction.
Orthognathic Jaw Surgery
Orthognathic surgery is a type of maxillofacial surgery. It involves the removal of the lower jawbone. The techniques enable surgeons to repair a protruding jaw.
The surgeon will separate the rear part of the jawbone from the front part. They’ll then modify the jawbone.
This procedure enables the surgeon to reposition the part of the jaw that carries the teeth further back. You or your child might undergo this kind of underbite treatment as an outpatient. In some cases, however, the procedure may require a brief hospital stay.
What To Consider Before Jaw Surgery
It’s helpful to have certainty of what corrective jaw surgery can accomplish before undergoing the procedure. You should also know what’s involved in the process.
For example, you may have an idea of the appearance you desire before and after the surgery. You should share this idea with the surgeon. In other words, tell them what you expect the procedure to accomplish.
Everyone’s underbite issue is unique. Your healthcare provider can explain the best recommendations to solve your specific issue. They can also tell you what you can expect from the procedure.
What To Expect After Jaw Surgery
You or your child may need to remain in the hospital for a few days after the surgery in some cases. This observation period will allow your surgeon to monitor you or your post-surgery progress.
The surgeon will apply a small plastic splint to the mouth during surgery. It will help to train the mouth muscles to work with the new jaw alignment. It’s essential to wear the splint at all times, except when cleaning teeth or eating.
It’s also possible that you or your child may have pain or swelling after the procedure. Your healthcare provider will prescribe any medication needed to help with the pain and prevent infections.
Le Fort III Osteotomy
A Le Fort III osteotomy is a more involved procedure. The surgeon will remove the entire face forward during surgery.
A physician might recommend this kind of surgery if it appears the face has sunk in above the lower jaw. A Le Fort III osteotomy can drastically modify and improve appearance and jaw function. Healing times for the procedure are the same as those of a typical surgery.
An anesthetist will put you or your child to sleep during the procedure. The surgeons will use many monitoring devices to ensure safety throughout the operation.
After the Le Fort III Osteotomy Procedure
Most discomfort after this surgery is in the hip, where the surgeon removes the bone needed for the corrective procedure. You or your child may find it challenging to walk immediately after the procedure.
Again, your physician will prescribe medication for any discomfort. It may take a few weeks for the pain to disappear completely.
Your physician will also most likely recommend a cold compress for the facial area. They’ll also likely recommend you or your child sleep with your face above the heart. This practice helps to decrease any swelling.
Recovering From a Le Fort III Osteotomy
It’s critical to follow the surgeon’s dietary instructions after jaw surgery. You must follow their directions about when it’s safe to eat certain foods.
Some foods can help with healing. However, the wrong foods can undo all the good work of the surgery.
Over several weeks, any facial or eye swelling will gradually subside. As swelling dissipates, you’ll start to better appreciate the results of the surgery. The teeth of the upper jar will have improved placement, and the nose will look longer in most instances.
We’re Your Exceptional Maxillofacial Surgery Practitioners
Now, you know a bit more about surgery for underbite correction. If you’re considering corrective surgery for an underbite, you can trust Jenkins, Morrow & Gayheart Oral, and Maxillofacial Surgery.
We’ve been delivering exceptional care to patients for more than a decade. We’re committed to providing state-of-the-art care. Also, we’re passionate about providing individualized, compassionate attention.
We understand surgery can prove intimidating and frightening. We continually focus on providing the best patient experience possible for this reason. Feel free to learn more about our services.