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Treatment for Malocclusion - Topic Overview

Orthognathic surgery treats malocclusion ("poor bite") by restructuring the jaw through cutting the bone and repositioning the bone segments.

Adults who have jaw-related malocclusion are sometimes offered a choice between simple orthodontic treatment and orthodontic treatment combined with orthognathic surgery. Adults who have severe jaw problems may need surgery to improve their looks and how the jaw works. Severe jaw problems can include upper jaws that don't match with the lower jaws.

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Oral and maxillofacial surgeons or plastic surgeons perform this surgery using general anesthesia. Recovery takes several weeks. While the bone slowly heals, the jaw is held in place with wires or plates and screws.

The most common problem after this surgery is numbness of the upper or lower lip (paresthesia). Other risks include infection, bleeding (hemorrhage), swelling, muscle spasm, and temporomandibular disorder.

For most people, orthognathic surgery is elective, based on personal choice. Because orthognathic surgery requires a long and difficult recovery period, you should carefully weigh the benefits against the hardship and expense of the surgery.

For those few people who also have serious functional problems, such as problems with chewing or closing the mouth, orthognathic surgery may be a necessity.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: January 02, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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    Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

    Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

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    American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

    This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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