In the South Korean reality show Let Me In, poor and socially excluded women are given a chance to shine — through plastic surgery. Unsurprisingly, the show received mixed reactions, especially because most women featured become unrecognizable after their procedure. But if you consider what they’ve been through before the surgery, should you really judge?
The episode that went viral — and garnered global attention for the show — was about a young woman with a severe underbite. They focused on her issues regarding her social life, with her believing that surgery will improve her chances of having more friends and even a relationship. But the show failed to address one more important thing: the quality of life you’ll have with misaligned jaws.
People don’t realize that uneven jaws bring more problems beyond aesthetics. Indeed, imagine biting on food if your upper and lower teeth don’t meet as they should? That act alone already causes major discomfort; how much more do you have to endure doing other things?
Causes of Misaligned Jaws
An imbalance in your tendon, bone, or muscle structure can lead to uneven jaws. Trauma, which you can get from an accident, assault, fall, or sports-related injury, can also cause it, along with broken, fractured, or broken bones.
It can also happen naturally, starting from your birth. Such is referred to as “faulty jaw.” In other cases, you get it from having crooked teeth or TMJ disorders. TMJ, which stands for Temporomandibular joint disorders, is ubiquitous and can be caused by trauma or arthritis.
Non-surgical Cures for Uneven Jaws
If crooked teeth cause your uneven jaws, braces or retainers can help correct it. Similarly, if you have TMJ, an orthopedic, dental appliance can raise your bite and reposition your jaws. Managing and reducing stress also helps. But surgery is the ultimate cure if you have a faulty jaw or misaligned jaws due to the injuries.
What Makes Surgery the Best Treatment
An effective maxillofacial surgery is one of the best treatments for misaligned jaws. This particular surgery deals with various problems on the face, head, and neck. It can correct uneven jaws, crooked teeth, and impacted wisdom teeth; treat cancers in the head and neck and apply dental implants.
Maxillofacial surgery is particularly beneficial for you if you have an open bite or a crossbite. The surgeon will move your upper jaw forward so that it will slightly protrude from your lower jaw, which is the correct jaw alignment. You can also get this surgery if you have chronic TMJ. Your dentist might recommend it for you to fix your problem permanently.
Mandibular osteotomy is another helpful treatment. It’s a type of surgery for correcting an overbite or an underbite. The surgeon will make an incision on each side of your lower jaw to move it backward or forward. Your reconstructed jaws will be secured with plates or screws.
If you also want the shape of your chin improved, genioplasty is the solution. It will recede your chin to eliminate the appearance of an underbite. Given that, it’s sometimes accompanied by a mandibular osteotomy.
For more severe problems that affect the upper and lower jaw, a bimaxillary osteotomy is a cure. It uses the same techniques as mandibular osteotomy but is more complicated. Surgeons typically use 3D modeling software to assist themselves during the procedure.
All of these procedures will cause considerable discomfort afterward. Recovery may take between six and 12 days. During those times, your jaws will feel stiff, numb, and swollen. Hence, you need to take your prescribed medications to ease these symptoms.
Despite the pain, discomfort, long recovery, not to mention the splurge, jaw surgery is definitely worth it. It will eliminate all the problems you’ve had all your life for good, such as:
- Jaw popping
- Sleep apnea
- Myofascial pain syndrome
- Difficulty eating and chewing
- Self-confidence problems
Even if your reason for getting surgery is purely cosmetic, you shouldn’t feel bad for proceeding with it. Besides, feeling better about your appearance has long-term benefits. Self-confidence brings more positive effects on our mental health than people give it credit for.
Furthermore, if your misaligned jaws are caused by an accident or injury, correcting it through surgery will allow you to get back to your normal life. If you’ve played sports before your injury, getting surgery can enable you to play that sport again. You can pick up where you left off and realize that curable facial injuries don’t limit your sports capabilities or any physical activity.
Overall, jaw surgery can improve the quality of your life in ways non-surgical treatments can’t. People can call it plastic surgery, and thus “unnatural,” but their negative opinions shouldn’t sway your own judgment. You’re doing this for yourself, and it’s for easing your burdens and making yourself happier.