The growth of a person's jaw is a steady process, and sometimes the growth of the upper and lower jaw can occur at different rates, causing a discrepancy in size and function.
If one or both jaws are of different sizes or proportions, a malocclusion or "bad bite" can form, resulting in improper alignment of the teeth and affecting your speech and chewing ability. Mouth breathing can also become excessive with the tongue and lips moving in an awkward fashion to accommodate the jaw discrepancy.
Malocclusions are not merely aesthetic; bad bites jeopardize the overall health of your teeth and gums as well as the function of your temporomandibular joint (jaw joint).
If necessary, corrective jaw surgery (orthognathic surgery) treats and corrects these abnormalities. Orthodontic treatment may also be used in conjunction with corrective jaw surgery to align the teeth appropriately. The surgical process includes moving the jaw into its proper position to restore facial balance and improve function.
In the recovery stage, wires and rubber bands may secure the jaws to provide stability while healing. New, state-of-the-art materials such as titanium plates and miniature screws are now being used to reduce post-surgical recovery time, thus allowing patients to return to their normal routines soon after the surgery.