If you have an underbite, you may be tired of always having people take a second look at your smile. You may, in fact, be tired of seeing your misaligned jaws when you look in the mirror. The good news is that dental surgeons do have a procedure they can use to correct an underbite. It's called orthognathic surgery, and its goal is to realign your jaw. This surgery, while life-changing for some, is not the right choice for every patient. Here are some pros and cons to explore while deciding whether orthognathic surgery is for you.
Pro: The surgery improves function.
Though some consider this a cosmetic procedure because it improves your smile, it is largely a functional surgery. In other words, it does improve the way you use your teeth and jaw. After surgery, with your jaw better aligned, you will have an easier time eating. Specifically, you'll be able to bite squarely into things like apples and rolls — something that's often tough for people with an underbite. You may also find that you have an easier time drinking without spilling.
Con: The surgery requires general anesthesia.
Most dental surgeries, such as dental implant surgery, are performed with sedatives and a local anesthetic. However, orthognathic surgery is much more intensive, and patients almost always need to be put under general anesthesia for the procedure. Some patients are anxious about being put under, and some may not be healthy enough to be put under safely.
Pro: Orthognathic is a one-time treatment.
Although the surgical procedure is an intense one, when it's over, it's over. You won't need to have multiple surgeries or deal with a long, drawn-out series of treatments. Have the surgery now, spend the time recovering, and then you get to live your life as someone with a properly aligned jaw.
Con: The recovery process isn't the simplest.
Recovering from orthognathic surgery does require you to stick to a liquid diet, sometimes for a week or longer. It will take a few months for your jaw to completely heal, and you will have to avoid crunchy foods and will need to take it easy during this time.
If you have the time to dedicate to recovery and are not bothered by the idea of general anesthesia, then orthognathic surgery can be a great choice for you. Talk to your dental surgeon to learn more about the exact procedure they'd recommend for your underbite.