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Surgical Teeth Straightening: The Pros and Cons

By Manjari Bansal
Surgical teeth straightening corrects the alignment of your jaws and teeth to improve your smile. But is it right for you? Read on to learn more about the possible benefits and risks of surgical teeth straightening.

Dental braces alone may not be enough to correct the alignment and position of your teeth. In some cases, doctors recommend surgery to correct jaw alignment and keep the muscles of the face and jaw in good working order. If you’re weighing ways to straighten your teeth and considering surgery, here are some of the possible benefits and risks of the procedure that could help you make your decision. 

Benefits of Teeth Straightening Surgery

Teeth straightening surgery corrects the alignment of your jawbones, according to Mayo Clinic. This can result in teeth that both look better and function better. Your orthodontist may recommend teeth straightening surgery if you have jaw problems or crooked teeth that cannot be corrected with braces alone.

An oral and maxillofacial (face and jaw) surgeon will perform your surgery. You will likely wear braces before and after surgery, until your teeth have finished aligning.

“The goal is to correct skeletal deformities that result in jaw misalignment and crooked teeth," Henry Hackney, DMD, general dentist and content director at Authority Dental, tells WebMD Connect to Care. "After applying anesthesia, an oral surgeon will reposition or remove part of the jawbone. Sometimes realigning the mandible is necessary.”

According to Mayo Clinic, teeth straightening surgery can provide the following benefits:

  • Easier biting and chewing
  • Easier swallowing and talking
  • Correction of bite problems such as overbite or underbite
  • Improved face shape
  • Treatment for temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder and other jaw problems
  • Correction for facial injury or birth defect
  • Treatment for obstructive sleep apnea

Potential Drawbacks of Teeth Straightening Surgery

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, you should discuss potential risks with your orthodontist before having teeth straightening surgery.

Mahnaz Rashti, DDS, a periodontist at Dr. Mahnaz Rashti in Beverly Hills, tells WebMD Connect to Care that some of the possible drawbacks of teeth straightening surgery include:

  • Discomfort such as infection, bleeding, pain, and swelling
  • The need for braces, crowns or veneers after surgery
  • A higher cost of treatment
  • A six-week recovery period
  • Nerve damage that could be permanent

The risk of complications is usually minimal when teeth straightening surgery is performed by a skilled oral and maxillofacial surgeon under the guidance of your orthodontist, according to Mayo Clinic.

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