What happens during an underbite surgery procedure?


Quick Answer

Correction of an underbite during surgery requires a process that moves the mandible, or lower jaw, forward so that it aligns with upper teeth, according to the Los Angeles Children's Hospital. At times, the chin may have to be moved as well, which is known as genioplasty.

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Full Answer

Extreme underbites are known as class III malocclusions. People with this condition may want to have surgery for a number of reasons, including trouble chewing, jaw pain or dissatisfaction with personal appearance. WebMD reports that an orthodontist will usually determine the severity of misaligned teeth, and may recommend an operation for an extreme underbite that cannot be fixed with a retainer or braces.

Orthognathic surgeons or periodontists generally perform these surgeries, which can be quite complex. After initial planning to determine where the mandible will be realigned, a surgeon will proceed with the operation, usually with close consultation with the person's orthodontist.

Surgery is performed after the patient is given a general anesthetic, with nasal intubation to aid breathing. Surgical saws are used to cut the lower jaw so it may be moved into its new position. Wires, plates and surgical screws may be used to secure the mandible in line with the upper maxilla. Recovery times vary, but post-op procedures usually include pain medication and a temporary liquid diet. The latter could result in weight loss or loss of appetite.

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