Jaw discrepancies

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Luke works as part of a specialist team of orthodontists and prosthodontists to manage jaw discrepancies using the latest computer design and technology.

Discrepancies between jaw size and position are relatively common and these people will usually also have poorly aligned teeth and bite. Whilst most people can be treated with orthodontic treatment, people who have a large discrepancy between the size of the jaws in relation to each other, or where the jaws are abnormally positioned in relation to the base of skull, may require surgery.

What causes a jaw discrepancy?

In many cases a jaw discrepancy can occur for no obvious reason, however it can often be down to hereditary factors. A growth disturbance experienced as a child, such as those that follow palate or cleft lip repairs, or a fracture of the jaw may lead to a jaw discrepancy like hemifacial microsomia. Although jaw discrepancies can be observed in young children, they normally become more pronounced in adolescents. Typically, this abnormal jaw growth will have finished by early adulthood (18-24 years old). At this stage, with the growth complete, the focus of treatment will be on correcting the jaw deformity.

Orthognathic surgery

When there is a mismatch in the size or position of the jaws, orthognathic surgery can help with function, appearance and psychological stress. This kind of surgery takes a big commitment from the individual, but the results can make it very worthwhile. Most of the procedure takes place inside the mouth so scarring is kept to a minimum.

Before surgery orthodontics corrects any teeth misalignment allowing the jaws to be placed in a correct position.

Under general anaesthesia the jaws are surgically divided then re-positioned using previously created acrylic splints as a guide. They are then fixed in place with plates and screws.

After surgery, further orthodontics to ensure the teeth are aligned correctly within the new jaw position is an important part of post-operative care.

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