When Is Jaw Surgery Recommended?

Generally, most patients look to avoid surgery of any kind. However, there are times when it is recommended to “bite the bullet” and have the procedure done. Jaw surgery, in particular, can be daunting, but a surgery done in the careful hands of the Oral & Facial Surgery Institute can provide you with a huge improvement in the quality of life. There are a few key situations in which jaw surgery is highly recommended.


TMJ Suffering


Standing for the temporomandibular joint disorder, TMJ can be an agonizing condition that can be treated with surgery as a last resort, to great effect. The condition causes pain and tenderness, and, if left unchecked, it can even cause your jaw to lock, making it difficult to open and close your mouth, as well as to chew. While most cases of TMJ can be treated nonsurgically, persistent cases can see massive benefits from surgery.




Oftentimes, jaw surgery is performed in coordination with other orthodontic treatments to correct severe issues with the jaw alignment. These can be both aesthetic and functional issues that get treated by surgery. Examples of this include an open bite, which is a space between the top and bottom teeth, even when your mouth is closed, protruding jaw and a receding lower jaw. Braces are sometimes used in the course of treatment both before and after surgery, to keep everything moving and ensure the most positive result.


Respiratory Ailments


There are even times when jaw surgery may be recommended for certain breathing conditions that can actually be a result of structural defects within the jaw. One common example is sleep apnea, a problem that plagues millions of Americans. In some instances, the breathing obstruction can be remedied by a surgical procedure that will open up the airways and allow restful sleep without the aid of a CPAP or other device. Another example is chronic mouth breathing, which can be caused by an issue with the structure of the jaw as well.


There are a plethora of possible reasons as to why one may need jaw surgery. Although it can seem like an intimidating surgery, in certain cases, the benefits of jaw surgery will make it worth it. Discussing any conditions that may be improved by such a surgery with Dr. Shawn B. Davis can help you decide if surgery is the right option for you.

How to Prevent and Treat Dry Sockets

Patients may experience dry sockets after getting a tooth extracted, but it is relatively uncommon. Only 2-5% of patients experience dry sockets. When teeth are extracted, normally a blood clot builds up to cover and protect the nerves and bones that are now exposed. In some circumstances, the blood clot can become dislodged or not completely cover the area where the tooth was extracted. When air, food, or liquid touch the bone and nerves, patients will experience pain. If you are experiencing dry sockets, then it is important to follow-up with your oral surgeon immediately. 


Unfortunately, dry sockets are one of the most painful complications of tooth extractions, but they can be easily treated. Your oral surgeon will thoroughly clean the area and they may apply gauze with a special paste that is designed to help heal the socket and eliminate pain. They may also recommend over-the-counter pain relievers or prescribe some if needed. The symptoms of dry socket will go away within 24 hours of treatment, but some patients may need another follow-up. 


Some patients are at higher risk for dry socket than others. You are at a higher risk of dry socket if you: 


  • Smoke
  • Have a traumatic extraction due to an accident or infection
  • Have a wisdom tooth extracted
  • History of poor dental hygiene
  • Take birth control
  • Take any medication that inhibits blood clotting
  • Have a history of dry socket 


Patients who are even at high risk for dry socket can still prevent it by following the recommended post-op instructions given by your oral surgeon. You should use oral antibiotics or antiseptic solutions, if they are given to you, after surgery. Things patients should not do after surgery include: 


  • No rinsing or spitting for 24 hours
  • No drinking from straws
  • No smoking for 72 hours
  • Avoid hot foods and beverages
  • Avoid crunchy foods (popcorn, chips, nuts, etc.)
  • Avoid alcohol consumption 
  • Limit physical activity for 5-7 days


If you are in need of tooth extraction and you are worried about the possible complications, we can answer any questions or concerns you may have. Call us today to set up a consultation at (435) 238-7083.