When an orthodontist or dentist recommends jaw surgery in Singapore to treat functional and aesthetic problems related to skeletal underbite, cross bite, open bite or any other malocclusion caused by misaligned jaws, patients commonly ask if there are other, less drastic treatment options available. In some cases, other treatments may yield some improvement in function and appearance, camouflaging the problem to some extent. However, when misaligned jaws are at the root of the problem, jaw surgery – also called orthognathic surgery – is generally the only effective means of resolving it.
Orthodontic care is generally successful in resolving malocclusions that are dental in nature – caused primarily by misaligned teeth. However, skeletal malocclusions are more complex problems, since the abnormal bite is caused by mismatched or poorly aligned jaws.
Early orthodontic intervention in children can help prevent the development of serious skeletal malocclusions in many cases, orthodontists using various methods to guide jaw growth more appropriately. However, since jaw surgery cannot be performed until jaw growth is complete, patients for whom it has been recommended are well past the stage in which orthodontic care alone can offer effective resolution of a skeletal malocclusion.
While jaw surgery is generally the best option in theses cases, in patients who cannot have surgery due to underlying health concerns or prefer non-surgical treatment, orthodontic care may be used to reposition teeth in order to compensate for poorly aligned jaws. While this can, in mild or moderate cases of malocclusion, improve the bite to varying degrees, the process often includes the removal of teeth and generally does little to improve aesthetic issues – such as a receding or protruding chin, and in some cases, can even worsen them. Sometimes, cosmetic procedures, such as dermal fillers or chin implants, among others, can be used to hide these aesthetic affects of skeletal malocclusion.
It is important to note that while these treatment alternatives can, in many cases, camouflage malocclusions, they do not resolve the underlying problem with jaw alignment, which can leave patients vulnerable to a number of long-term affects. These may include jaw pain, headaches, TMJ problems and abnormal tooth wear, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
On the other hand, orthognathic surgery, which is a combination of orthodontic care and jaw surgery, corrects the underlying problem, reshaping, repositioning or resizing the jaws as necessary to resolve malocclusion. This, in turn, corrects immediate functional problems, such as poor biting and chewing efficiency and/or speech impediments, as well as preventing the long-term affects of misaligned jaws. Additionally, aesthetic issues, like an elongated or protruding lower jaw cause by skeletal underbite or a recessed chin or protruding upper teeth due to overbite, are typically improved once the jaws are brought into proper alignment.
So the bottom line is this: In many cases, there are alternatives to jaw surgery in Singapore for the treatment of skeletal malocclusions. However, none are as effective in resolving the issues these malocclusions cause, since they cannot resolve the underlying jaw problem. So if you want your malocclusion fixed, rather than just hidden, jaw surgery the way to go.