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Dentistry/Double Jaw Surgery Risks


QUESTION: Hi Dr, I have a question about the long terms effects of double jaw surgery in adults.
My Mom (36) is having Bi-Maxillary Advancement  in the following weeks.
She had orthodontic work done with permanent teeth extracted when she was twenty six years old. Now her jaws are too far back Causing her face to collapsed. She also have severe tooth reabsortion in some of her teeth.
The only solution that she sees is jaw surgery. She said that plastic surgery is not an option in her case. I am really worried about her. I have read that jaw surgery in adults have more complications, and the healing process is longer. I would like your most honest opinion in her case. Do you think would be worth it doing the surgery at her age? and would this type of surgery bring her more bad that good? please help!



ANSWER: Kamila -  First of all, 36 years old is not old at all for this type of surgery.  The reabsorption is most likely from the orthodontic treatment and the poor positions of the upper and lower jaws to each other.  

In general, your mother is at an ideal age for this type of surgery.  At her age weakening of the bones has not occurred and the bones, if lined up well after the surgery should heal without any problems.  If done well, the results should be excellent.  The key factor for comfort and is the surgeon's skills and the proper alignment of the teeth with orthodontics.

So relax.  This should be a straight forward surgery and after a few days of discomfort, your mother should begin healing quickly.

If you should have any additional questions now or during her healing, feel free to contact me again.

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QUESTION: Thank you Dr. Teig, What about permanent numbness? Is it common to permanently lose all sensation in your chin after having jaw surgery?
Thanks so much again!


ANSWER: Kamila - Due to the position of the nerve within the lower jaw, even if the nerve is not cut or traumatized, it can go through a period of numbness just from the lengthening of the lower jaw.  If the nerve is cut or traumatized, then the numbness has a chance to be permanent.  If, however, the surgeon doing the surgery is a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon, that doctor can often reverse the effects if discovered early.  Saying that, there is a chance of permanent numbness, but it is not often to be permanent.

Usually any loss of sensations is a temporary situation and the numbness usually goes away after a few weeks to a couple of months.

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QUESTION: One last question, what are the changes that she'll achieve after the surgery?
 Right now her face looks Gaunt, narrow,and she had flat cheeks.

  Will she gain the fullness of her cheeks back?
  Can double jaw surgery narrow her face even more?

thank you again dr.

Kamila - this is a tough question for me to answer correctly without examining your mother.  The surgery can increase facial fullness or narrow it.  It all depends on the pre-existing situation and the plans of the surgeon.  So I wish I could be more informative, but it is tough without viewing the plans of the surgeon.


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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired


I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon and I am available to answer questions related to tooth extractions, implant insertion, facial recontruction, facial and oral tumor removal, TMJ dysfunction and various successful treatments, including surgery if all else fails, and occlusal discrepancy requiring orthognathic or jaw surgery.


Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon practicine for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor and State University School of Dentistry.

American Dental Association, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

BA -University of Connecticut DMD - University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

Awards and Honors
National Honor Society (OKU), Philadelphia County Dental Society, Mosby Book Award, Oral Surgery Honors, Summa Cum Laude

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