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To ask about your experience of misaligned jaws

(27 Posts)
ListObsessed Thu 13-Nov-14 18:24:52

Just posted this in children's health but thought I'd get more traffic here. Sorry.
My 3yo DS has a misaligned jaw (his bottom teeth are in front of his top teeth when his mouth is closed). Just been advised by our dentist that it's likely that he'll need 'minor' surgery when he's a teenager. From googling the procedure it doesn't look at all minor. It also seems that it gets worse during puberty and surgery can't happen until he's about 16. I hate the idea of him being bullied throughout his high school years and dread the effect this may have on his self-esteem. Has anyone got any first-hand experience of this?

LizzieMint Thu 13-Nov-14 18:33:12

My son has this too (7) but two dentists have said it's not a major issue and you can't tell anyway until he gets adult teeth whether it'll continue to be a problem or not. No ones mentioned surgery at all. Hmm, off to google too!

CharlieAustinsMagicHat Thu 13-Nov-14 18:38:06

I have exactly this, my jaws don't align in the same way as your DS. It was very evident when a child but improved over the years as my face filled out during puberty and in to adulthood to the extent it's barely noticeable nowadays.

I was offered surgery when I was around 16 or 17 but decided the time off school and away from my studies was too much of a sacrifice. I also thought why should I change, I am who I am. I'd leave it for your DS to decide when he's older.

Doesn't bother me at all now and my DW describes my jaw as 'manly' and has just confirmed I'm a handsome man so didn't put her off!

NoraRobertsismyguiltypleasure Thu 13-Nov-14 18:41:26

Hi, I had this plus other issues with my teeth. I had two different braces from the age of 8 until 18, the train tracks from 11 to 18 were partly preparation for the operation to correct my jaw, the lower brace made the misalignment much worse which was horrible. I hated having my picture taken. I had to have all my wisdom teeth removed in one go at 17 and then I had the jaw operation the following year.
It was not particularly minor! I was in hospital for a week, my jaw was wired together for 6 weeks - I existed on any food that could be watered down to a consistency to go through a straw. I was unable to talk comprehensively for the entire 6 weeks, I had to walk around with a notepad at the ready.
The first two weeks were pretty painful, after that is was merely annoying.
Having said all that I am very thankful to have had it done. Before the op I was unable to bite through toast, eat apples easily and other things that were just irritating all the time. I also noticed the misalignment all the time and hated being in photos.
I had my op 16 years ago and the procedure could be very different.

MammaTJ Thu 13-Nov-14 18:45:10

It depends very much on how bad it is. A good orthodontist may try to realign them by using 'blocks', brace type things with blocks that change the alignment. This worked for my DD. Then if that doesn't work, they may want an operation performed. It can only be done when they have finished growing.

They do it in the summer holidays at my local hospital, so as to avoid missing education at a critical time.

It can take a few hours and is quite dramatic, but then the side effects of not doing it if it is needed can be quite dramatic too, like not being able to chew properly or headaches.

The change once healed is very noticeable.

chocolatemartini Thu 13-Nov-14 18:56:00

I have this. I didn't have it corrected. I can't eat certain things neatly (ie sandwiches with tomatoes in) as my bite doesn't come together properly but I just eat other stuff in public! Not a problem for me and just gives me a slightly unusual jawline. I've always had plenty of attention from men, don't think it looks bad. No need for surgery unless it causes particular problems

popmimiboo Thu 13-Nov-14 19:10:35

My DS had this problem and had to wear a kind of night time brace with straps around the back of his head when he was 11. It wasn't pleasant and he couldn't talk or eat when wearing it but he just had to have it for 10 hours/ night. He'd brush his teeth and put it on after dinner then remove it in the morning.

The results after 6 months were impressive and he doesn't regret it at all. It cost a fortune (we're abroad so no nhs) but we were told if he didn't have it at that age, he'd need surgery later. I'd recommend looking into this option before operating any day.

MillionToOneChances Thu 13-Nov-14 19:10:42

Best mate had several millimetres taken out of his jaw in his teens. He jaw was wired up for weeks afterwards and I recall meals being liquidised, but the results were perfect.

TheDietStartsTomorrow Thu 13-Nov-14 19:21:30

My DS has also been offered this. I was very reluctant as I don't think he really needs it and the procedure does seem major. Missing school and the dietery changes also concern me. But he is insistent and I have given in. I'm not convinced he's doing it for reasons other than cosmetic but he has all of a sudden decided that he has problems eating/drinking. He is 16 now.

Lizlette Thu 13-Nov-14 19:22:11

My jaws are misaligned, bottom teeth in front of top teeth. I had braces between 16 and 18 to straighten teeth, have a permenant wire behind my top teeth to hold them in place and a retainer overnight twice a week, but I didn't have the operation to sort the jaw issue out as, to date, it hasn't caused me any physical difficulties (except as a PP said, I don't always eat a few things as neatly as I could do-i work around it).

I was told I can have the operation if I need it, these days it is apparently done from the inside of the jaw so no visible scarring. My mum had an operation in the 70s for the same issue, and she has scars on the outside of her jaw, both sides, and had her jaws wired shut for 6-8 weeks. Obviously things have improved since then.

I wonder whether its hereditary, Mum has it, I have it and it looks as though DD has it, although she is only a toddler at the moment and we're still waiting for some teeth to come through so things might change.

mumpossible Thu 13-Nov-14 19:25:29

I had a misaligned jaw, and had the surgery 3 years ago. It was uncomfortable but nowhere near as bad as I had heard it might be from reading around. Honestly, i was home within 2 days. It was a painful for about 2 further days. Then uncomfortable but not too bad. I was not wired at all, just had lots of elastic bands. So could talk from about day 4 or 5 after the op. I was back at work (talking and presenting) after 6 weeks.
It was 100% worth it. I would do it again if needed (but I won't need to obviously). I can now eat anything and don't drop food over myself trying and failing to bite things. And I was very self conscious before. Now I'm no beauty, it I because I feel 'normal'. It had enormous psychological benefits for me. And it is worth repeating, surgery and recovery were nowhere near as horrible as I anticipated.
My son had the same issue I had, but had braces from 13-16 and now has absolutely no issues at all. Orthodontics have moved on enormously from when I was young. Fewer people need surgery. Don't despair!

grannytomine Thu 13-Nov-14 19:40:47

My daughter had this done. As someone else said they don't wire the jaw now and no scars. Having an underbite can cause problems, the operation completely stopped the terrible migraines my daughter had and it does look better. Obviously it depends how bad it is but my daughter couldn't bear to look at photos of herself. I also think the "strong jaw" look doesn't look as bad on a man but maybe that is just me.

At our local hospital they time the operation well, my daughter finished A levels on the Friday and had her op the following Tuesday. She looked like she had been in a major accident, black and blue with lots of swelling but non the less that weekend she was out at a party. Her braces came off in the September the day before she left for university. Brilliant timing.

Daughter says she doesn't regret it for one minute but she wouldn't want to go through it again as it was very painful. The worst of the swelling goes quickly but there is subtle swelling and I think it was a year before she could see how it really was going to look. In many ways the months after the op were difficult as her appearance changed alot. I suppose this also depends on how much the jaw needs moving.

TheDietStartsTomorrow Thu 13-Nov-14 20:11:35

My DS, aged 16, has also been offered this. I really don't think its worth the pain, inconvenience and risks but he is insistent.

SilverShadows Thu 13-Nov-14 20:17:57

I had it done 4 years ago. I was off work for 2 weeks, no external scars and has made a world of difference to how I look.

Ironically I was bullied at school for being "goofy" as my top teeth protruded badly. Braces in my teens sorted that out. I declined the surgery in my teens mainly as I was scared but I started getting lots of headaches and it was recommended again so I went with it.

Jessica85 Thu 13-Nov-14 21:32:42

My cousin had the operation at 17 - it was painful for a few days but not too bad. Little sister has nighttime blocks for a year or two when she was young (around 12 I think - I was at uni so not too sure). Both sorted and both glad they had it fixed.

Mrsmorton Thu 13-Nov-14 22:10:28

MammaTJ the blocks don't work on this type of malocclusion. They work on class 2 jaws, where the lower jaw is behind the top one as it's easy to move the lower jaw forwards. You can't move it back because there's nowhere for it to go. Surgery is the only treatment for this but I definitely second waiting another ten years before worrying about it!

The teeth look worse during orthodontics because they get decompensated and put in the place that we want them to be after the surgery which makes them look all wrong before the surgery!

bedhaven Thu 13-Nov-14 23:00:40

I've got misaligned jaws, wore braces from 8-16, had bottom 2 wisdom teeth out under general anaesthetic but decided not to have my jaw broken and wired to correct it completely. It was a while ago and I would have had to wear a head brace. I would have happily had it if it could have been more hidden as previous (presumably younger) posters though in all honesty the only impact it has is that I can't bite off things very well. I've just adapted and welcomed the invention of tearable Sellotape! I've never been teased and no one ever comments.
A friend had his done as an adult having lived with a lantern jaw and he absolutely feels the surgery was worth it. Any bony rejigging is always going to be quite brutal sounding, it just depends whether it is worth the gain. There's plenty of time to weigh up that decision so do try not to worry now.

SingingSoftly Thu 13-Nov-14 23:09:00

OP there is an alternative to surgery called orthotropics which you might like to research. It involves guiding the teeth naturally into position rather than extractions, braces and surgery. I think it's really interesting and they have some fabulous results with children who are told they had no option but surgery. It's best to start young with it so there may be things you can do immediately.

SurfsUp1 Thu 13-Nov-14 23:09:07

It's worth seeing an osteopath too.

needtomanup Thu 13-Nov-14 23:14:25

I had the surgery done when in my 20's. I was offered it at 16/17 but my parents were dead set against it and of course told me it wasn't noticeable etc. I was never bullied or jeered because of it. However as I grew older the pain in my jaw increased, especially if it was cold (always had trouble eating salads etc as my teeth didn't meet properly but this wasn't a major issue) and I decided to have the surgery. I was in hospital for 3 days and had my jaw wired shut for a week so was unable to talk or eat. I was on a liquid diet and had to use a syringe to pass food by the wires. Liquid diet was for a month. It was painful for a few days though not excruciating. The worse thing for me was the hunger. I definitely don't regret my decision. Lots of stitches inside my mouth which were dissolvable, no scarring or complications afterwards.

Mrsmorton Thu 13-Nov-14 23:19:17

singing this isn't a tooth issue, it's a bone issue and I've never read any research that supports orthotropics at all in a case of class 3 malocclusion.

divingoffthebalcony Thu 13-Nov-14 23:21:42

I have a mild form of this (class 3 malocclusion I think?). It was never severe enough for surgery, but part of me wishes it had been. I hate having such a prominent jaw/chin. The results of the surgery completely transform the face.

Mrsmorton Thu 13-Nov-14 23:23:58

if the chin is particularly prominent then it's possible to have genioplasty which is reshaping the chin, it is less invasive than an osteotomy (jaw surgery) and can disguise the cosmetic issue.

AnitaManeater Thu 13-Nov-14 23:29:53

Watching with interest. My DS may need an op, we have been referred to hospital by the orthodontist. He has a very prominent overbite and his bottom front teeth are resting on the palate when his mouth is closed and loosening his two upper front teeth. Blocks haven't worked and he's keen to get it fixed.

however Fri 14-Nov-14 04:26:10

My son's bottom teeth sit forward of his top ones when he closes his mouth. The dentist said there's no problem with his bottom jaw, but the top one hasn't moved forward normally because of his teeth alignment. He said to wait until my son had lost his top teeth (he's lost none up the top so far) and if they naturally overlapped his bottom ones, then that would encourage natural jaw re-alignment. I thought it was jaw issue, but it wasn't. It was more to do with teeth.

So the short answer (for me) was to do nothing, and wait.

He said the issue most often resolved itself naturally in 95+% of caucasian kids. The percentages were different in some ethnicities.

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