Thanks for the D2D. Jaw surgery is considered a safe and effective treatment for misaligned jaws. Nonetheless, as it is a surgery after all, there are risks in the short and long run.
The risks that may occur right after surgery includes:
- Bleeding – Minor nose bleeds may be experienced for one or two weeks after surgery on the upper jaw
- Swelling – Swelling usually becomes worse on the third day.
- Abrasion – As the surgery is done from inside your mouth, there might be abrasions at the corners of your lips. You may be given a medicated cream to apply or Vaseline works as well.
- Infection – This is possible after any type of surgery. A course of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication will be given to mitigate this.
- Numbness - After the surgery, some numbness or altered sensation is expected. It does not affect the appearance or function of the lips. The numbness subsides on the upper lip relatively quickly.
- Nausea – Feeling nauseous and vomiting are common after effects of general anesthesia.
- Jaw joint stiffness – This may take place for several months. The best way to overcome this is to exercise the muscles more by chewing.
The risks that may occur in the long run includes:
- Permanent numbness – In the case of the lower lip, it may take six months or less to recover from the numbness. In very rare cases, patient experiences permanent numbness or altered sensation after the surgery due to a damaged nerve.
- Infection of plates – The plates that were used to secure the new position of the jaw underneath the gums may become infected, especially if patient is a smoker. In such cases, the plates are removed.
- Relapse in the position of the jaw – As the muscular force that caused the misalignment in jaw is still present, there is a small chance that the jaw and teeth may move back towards their original position.
However, it is not common for these long term risks to occur. For majority of the patients who undergo jaw surgery, the benefits significantly outweighs the risks.
Dr Ho Kok Sen
BDS , MDS, FRACDS, FAM
3 Mount Elizabeth
Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre
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