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Jaw Surgery and Dental Implants in Singapore Blog

Missing Teeth and Jaw Deformity in the older patient

Most dental implants patients are usually older adults who have lost some or all dentition over the course of many years. On the other hand, corrective jaw surgery patients tend to be younger, those in their late teens and twenties. However, there is a group of patients who have dentofacial deformities that require orthognathic surgery but somehow did not get around to doing it when they were younger but in their later years, require dental implants to replace their missing or failing dentition. For such patients, orthognathic surgery may be done in conjunction with dental implants to restore not just a functional dentition but an improvement of facial aesthetics as well.

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Functional indications for corrective jaw surgery

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Corrective jaw surgery is often perceived as cosmetic surgery. Indeed, the cosmetic enhancement is probably the most obvious outcome of the surgery. However, it is primarily a functional correction of a discrepancy in the bite disharmony caused by disproportionate growth of the jaws.

 

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Corrective jaw surgery- orthodontics or jaw surgery?

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Most medical problems have at least two possible solutions; surgical and non-surgical. Given that most people do not like to be cut, non-surgical options are by far the preferred option for most patients. For example, if you have some clogged-up arteries in your heart, do you go to a cardiologist or a heart surgeon. From what I understand from my heart surgeon friends, the first stop tend to be cardiologists these days. This is understandable as cutting open your chest to do a by-pass graft scares the living daylights out of most people. Compare this to someone inserting a wire from you thigh up to the heart to unblock the artery. Jaw deformities like an underbite or overbite, within certain limits, can be moderated with non-surgical treatment like orthodontics. But the key is knowing the limitations.

 

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Is orthognathic surgery considered as plastic surgery in Singapore?

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Orthognathic surgeryis the surgical correction of dentofacial deformities. Orthognathic is derived from two words, “ortho”, which means to straighten and “gnathic”, which means jaw. It refers to the “straightening” of the jaws, i.e. changing the form of the jaws. Plastic surgery, contrary to popular perception, does not necessarily mean cosmetic surgery. “Plastic” means changing the form. And so it is any surgery that changes the appearance/shape or a part of the body. With such a definition, corrective jaw surgery in Singapore be considered as plastic surgery. But is it cosmetic surgery?

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Should all jaw deformities be corrected surgically?

bigstock-Woman-Caring-Skin-And-Face-By--54610844.jpgWith the advent of the internet, awareness of surgical treatment of jaw deformities has increased. In the past, most of my patients were referred by orthodontists. Today, the majority of them come directly, seeking surgery. Patients who choose to see an orthodontist first are usually hoping for a non-surgical approach. Although skeletal deformities cannot be adequately corrected with orthodontics alone, most orthodontists do offer patients a camouflage option, i.e. masking the deformity rather than correcting it. As such, a large proportion of this group tends to not proceed with surgery, opting instead, for the camouflage orthodontic treatment. Patients who seek a surgical consultation as a first move are very keen to undergo surgery. It is important for the surgeon to resist the temptation to operate simply because we are able and the patient is willing. What are the cases that should not be operated?

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