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Ask any oral surgeon and they’ll likely tell you that jaw injury is one of the most common reasons that patients need to visit an oral surgeon for treatment or a procedure. Jaw injuries are very common, from sports injuries to car accidents and even general misuse. While the team at NextGen OMS is skilled at treating all types of jaw injuries, we also encourage our patients to prevent them from happening at the first pace!
Today, we’re looking at common causes of jaw injuries, and how a professional oral surgeon in Plano, TX can help correct them.
Jaw Injuries Are Quite Common
Your jaw can be injured in many ways, including a fight, a fall, or a car wreck. If your upper or lower jaw is damaged or otherwise out of alignment, then jaw surgery may be necessary to restore your jaw to its proper position. Jaw surgery can also help restore the overall function of this important joint, making it easier to talk, chew, and even breathe.
Jaw injuries aren’t always a result of trauma or injury, though. You may need jaw surgery with your local oral surgeon if you have a habit of clenching your teeth or grinding them, which is called bruxism. Or, you may have congenital jaw issues, including temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders which can result in lockjaw or jaw tension and headaches. Realigning your jaw can help ease the soreness and misalignment and give you a better overall quality of life.
Is Jaw Surgery Necessary?
Sometimes, jaw surgery is unavoidable, especially after a debilitating injury. However, other times, treating jaw pain or TMJ disorders may start with a more conservative approach, and only move toward a surgical solution of more conservative methods that aren’t having the desired result. Your oral surgeon will likely be with you through every step of the treatment and analyze the success before moving to surgery. They’ll make recommendations about both non-surgical and surgical interventions.
Preventing Jaw Injuries
Many jaw injuries can easily be prevented simply by using common sense. You can easily take several measures to lower your risk.
Here are ways your oral surgeon may recommend to you so you can prevent jaw injuries and the need for surgery:
- Only use your jaw for chewing. Your jaw is constructed for eating and talking, and it’s not intended to function as a tool! For instance, using your jaw to open bottles, tear things, or bite into non-food objects can lead to injury. Using your jaw in ways it’s not intended can also cause you to injure your teeth, chipping or breaking them.
- Use a mouth guard if you’re playing sports. Even if you engage in non-contact activities, such as cycling or running, you may fall and injure your jaw. A mouthguard can protect your jaw from injury, but there may be other benefits to this device, too. Using a mouthguard can mitigate the chances of a concussion, or reduce it occurring entirely.
- Make your environment safer. If you clear up your living space and reduce the number of trip hazards in your home and workspace, you’ll reduce the opportunities to trip and fall!
- Use techniques to manage stress. Bruxism, or grinding your teeth, is often a subconscious stress response, so if you do suffer from this affliction, reducing stress in your life will reduce grinding your teeth. Consider meditation or taking relaxing walks during the day, or other types of stress relief to reduce grinding your teeth.
- Avoid chewing gum. Chewing gum or other types of excessive jaw movements can exacerbate the TMJ condition and cause tightness and headaches. Switch to mints instead of gum, if you want the breath refresh.
- Have any underlying health conditions treated, such as hypotension, hypoglycemia, inner ear vestibular problems, or neurogenic causes of syncope, treated b a qualified physician. This can reduce their contribution to jaw pain or injury.
What To Expect From Jaw Surgery
Jaw surgery, also known as orthognathic surgery, corrects congenital defects of the jaw or repairs them after an injury. While each patient and procedure is different, there are a few things that you can expect from your procedure.
- Your oral surgeon will take -rays and possibly molds of your teeth and jaw. These will be used to pinpoint the damages to the jaw and plan how to correct them.
- Most jaw surgeries take place in a hospital setting, and you may stay from 2 to 4 days afterward to ensure the success of the procedure.
- Jaw surgery is performed under general anesthesia, so you may have a consultation with an anesthesiologist, too.
- During the procedure, your surgeon will often do most of the work inside your mouth, s the chance of facial scarring is minimal. However, sometimes small incisions outside the mouth may be necessary.
- Your oral surgeon will make cuts into the jawbone to move them back into the correct position. Once this is completed, then there may be screws, wires, and rubber bands in place to secure the bones. Over time, the screws will become integrated into the bone structure of the jaw.
- You may need extra bone placed in the jaw, and you may undergo bone grafting before or during the surgery. Often, the bone is taken from your hip, leg, or rib, and secured in the jaw using screws and plates. This bone may be shaved or reshaped to ensure the proper fit.
You can expect pain and swelling after jaw surgery, and often, you’ll be on a liquid diet until the wires and rubber bands are removed. However, if you follow the right aftercare instructions from your oral surgeon, you can improve your chances for a speedy recovery and successful results.
Book Your Consultation Today
If you experience chronic jaw pain, or if you’ve had a jaw injury, the team at NextGen OMS in Plano, TX, can help. We’re board-certified surgeons who can treat a variety of injuries and jaw conditions, in addition to specialized dental surgery. Give us a call today, or visit us online for more information and to book your oral surgery appointment.