Autoimmune diseases are an immune response within the human body that leads to over-stimulation of the immune system. This overstimulation causes inflammation and damages the joints, tendons, ligaments, and other tissues in the body. The most common autoimmune diseases include type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and multiple sclerosis.

Doctors are not sure why people develop an autoimmune disorder. Yet, there is a strong hereditary component to developing one of these diseases. Stress, a lack of sleep, certain foods, and joint overexertion through repetitive motion can trigger an autoimmune response.

Jaw Abnormalities

Some people experience jaw misalignment because they are born with an abnormal jaw. The jawbones are too short, or the jawbones do not lengthen properly. Other times a person may develop a jaw misalignment over time because of improper jaw positioning, injury, or stress placed in the jaw. No matter what causes the jaw abnormality, a qualified surgeon can reshape the jaws and help a person achieve the best facial appearance.

Double jaw abnormalities happen when the jawbones are not congruent. Jaw abnormalities cause pain and make it difficult to chew food or talk comfortably. For instance, a double jaw misalignment happens when there is a gap between the upper and lower jaw.

A single-jaw misalignment condition often results in dental complications, obstructive sleep apnea, and snoring. This gap causes the jaws to close and open at different angles. There are many kinds of jaw misalignments, including an overbite, underbite, open bite, sideways overlap, and asymmetric wrong angle jaws.

If left untreated, jaw abnormalities can cause a decrease in a person’s quality of life. They will experience chronic jaw pain, recurring headaches, airway sleep disorders, joint damage, and poor dental health. Moving or rotating the jaws through corrective surgery can improve a person’s quality of life and prevent chronic problems that jaw abnormalities can cause.

Autoimmune Diseases and Jaw Problems

People with an autoimmune disease will experience joint pain, stiffness, tenderness, and a decrease in the range of motion. Some people will experience musculoskeletal issues, such as joint impingement, muscle cramps, and pain. These autoimmune disease-related issues can affect the jaw.

Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease that causes jaw pain and muscle spasms in the face and jaw. This autoimmune disease may also be a rare cause of temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ. Some autoimmune diseases and connective tissue disorders that can cause TMJ includes rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, and systemic lupus erythema.

TMJ Symptoms

TMJ has many symptoms, ranging from auditory sensations in the temporomandibular joint to debilitating jaw pain. Some of the other TMJ symptoms include:

  • Jaw locking or limited jaw movement
  • Ear pain, pressure, or ringing
  • Chronic headaches
  • Jaw joint grating when opening or closing

Double Jaw Surgery

The goal of double jaw surgery is to correct jaw abnormalities and disorders like TMJ. The benefits of double jaw surgery include:

  • Fixing a jaw misalignment to make the upper jaw and lower jaw come together correctly
  • Correcting the size of an overdeveloped or underdeveloped jaw to make it more proportional
  • Balancing facial features to make them more balanced and asymmetrical
  • Improving the function of the jaw to make it easier to perform basic functions like chewing, swallowing, biting, and speaking
  • Relieving facial pain because of jaw locking, tightness, popping, clicking, or chewing
  • Improving obstructive sleep apnea by opening the airways

People with crooked or elongated jaws have had difficulty achieving a symmetrical appearance. A double jaw surgery allows the surgeon to remove excess bone and expand the surrounding tissues to create a more symmetrical appearance. The jaw can then settle into a more natural position once the tissue is expanded.

People with obstructive sleep apnea can also benefit from having double jaw surgery. Weak or imbalanced mandibular muscles make it difficult or impossible to breathe at night.

They use CPAP machines that use air pressure to help them breathe and sleep through the night. Yet, CPAP machines increase the risk of infections and can cause significant damage to the soft tissue surrounding the throat area over time. Double jaw surgery can make breathing easier and less constrictive. The jaws will also look healthier, and the patient will have a more symmetrical appearance.

The Procedure

The patient will have many appointments with their orthodontist and a surgeon. It is important to have a surgeon who has expertise in treating jaw abnormalities and injuries. The patient will start by wearing braces for up to 18 months to align their teeth. The patient will also have photos and X-rays taken of their jaw before the surgery to help the surgeon determine how to approach the surgery.

The Dangers of Double Jaw Surgery

All surgeries have risks, and double jaw surgery is no exception. Double jaw surgery risks include:

  • Permanent lip numbness when surgery damages the nerves
  • Swelling or muscle stretching can cause temporary changes in hearing
  • Upper or lower jaw may return to their pre-surgical position
  • Second surgery may be necessary if a jaw fracture occurs
  • May cause TMJ or make existing TMJ worse
  • Severe bleeding from blood vessel damage
  • Negative reaction to anesthesia or wound infection

Double Jaw Surgery Recovery

A patient may spend up to three days in a hospital recovering from double jaw surgery. Some patients may be able to go home on the same day after the surgery. The surgeon will monitor the patient’s vital signs to make sure they are stable before the patient leaves the hospital.

Recovery time for a double jaw surgery will vary from a few days to a couple of months. The patient will need to wear bandages for several days. They will also need to schedule follow-up appointments to be sure everything is healing correctly.

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