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How do they fix your jaw if it is misaligned?

If it turns out that my jaw is misaligned, how will they fix it? Does it require surgery or do I have to wear braces or something?
This depends a great deal on what exactly is going on with your jaw. Generally the first step in an evaluation of a misaligned jaw would start with an orthodontist. This is because most causes of jaw misalignment involve mismatch of the teeth on the top and bottom ("overbite"), and all except the most severe cases of teeth mismatch can usually be corrected with braces, one of the areas of treatment that an orthodontist specializes in. Some cases of jaw misalignment are also due to muscle spasm or strain or irritation of the temporomandibular joint (the joint near your ear where the jaw attaches to the head). These cases can also usually be diagnosed by your orthodontist, who may recommend initial simple treatments such as physical therapy, relaxation exercises, and anti inflammatory medications. In the most severe cases of jaw alignment, it may be necessary to cut the jaw bone and move it into a new position. These surgeries are typically performed by either an oral surgeon or a plastic surgeon. Your orthodontist is the best person to help you decide whether or not surgery might be indicated and, if so, to coordinate a referral for you to a surgical specialist. Please speak to him or her soon.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under ZocDoc’s Terms of Service.
Who answers these questions?
Answers are written by doctors from top institutions:
  • Cleveland Clinic
  • Boston Children's Hospital
  • NYU Langone Medical Center
  • Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Mass General Hospital
  • Beth Israel Medical Center
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