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Oral Surgery/upper jaw and palate surgery


I recently met with an orthodontist to discuss correcting a bite problem, and he said the best way to fix it would be to surgically expand the palate and move my upper jaw forward. I want to know the risks of this particular kind of surgery and how common complications are. It's hard to find statistics on this kind of thing and I want to be as informed as possible before I make a decision. Also, how likely is it that I will need multiple surgeries? If I already have nerve damage in my lower jaw from having my wisdom teeth removed, is there a chance of further damaging that nerve?

Kayla -  The surgery for expansion of the upper jaw and advancing the upper jaw is a procedure that a skilled board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon should be able to perform without problems.  It is important, that if the lower jaw is not part of the problem, that the orthodontist prepares the lower teeth to create a better foundation to place the upper jaw on.  So this is not usually a quick and simple treatment, but with a skilled orthodontist and board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon the results should be predictable.  

You will be advised by the surgeon that there is possible complications from the surgery.  The doctor, by law needs to tell you this.  With the upper jaw surgery, numbness is not a common permanent complication.  

So you need to speak with a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon before you begin any orthodontic treatment.  The two doctors need to frequently communicate in the preparation time to insure that both doctors have the same perspective.  

If you wish, you can get back to me and tell me where in Arizona you live and I can provide you with names of board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeons near you.  Remember any surgeon who works with you needs to communicate with the orthodontist to come up with a plan.  

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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired


I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon 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 practicing for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor at 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 Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical Residency - Roosevelt Hospital, NYC

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