Orthodontic options like braces and pallet expanders can help re-align jaws that are mildly misaligned. However, if you have a more pronounced underbite or overbite, your dentist may instead recommend orthognathic surgery. This is a surgical procedure in which the jaw is realigned permanently. Should you go through with it, or should you just accept that you'll have a misaligned jaw for the rest of your life? Well, that depends on your preferences. Consider the pros and cons of orthognathic surgery to help make your decision.
Pro: You will be better able to chew and talk
If your doctor is recommending orthognathic surgery, it is probably because your jaw misalignment is severe enough to interfere with your ability to chew and speak. Correcting the misalignment surgically will make these functions easier. You should be able to eat foods that you have not been able to bite or chew previously. You may have an easier time making sounds such as "th" and "la," which involve pressing your tongue against the front of your jaw bone.
Con: Jaw surgery has a long recovery period
This is a pretty extensive surgery, and as such, there is a pretty long recovery time. Most patients need to take two or three weeks off from work. They need to eat a liquid diet for several weeks and soft foods only for several months. If you have the time to dedicate to recovery, then this is all manageable. However, if you can't take time off and lay low for a while, it may not be the right time for you to have orthognathic surgery.
Pro: Jaw surgery can improve your appearance
For many people with a severe underbite or overbite, the misalignment affects their appearance. If you have corrective jaw surgery, then your appearance will change, and usually for the better. This can make you more confident, and it's amazing what improved self-confidence can do for your social and professional life.
Con: You may still need braces after surgery
Many people assume orthognathic surgery is a more effective substitute for braces. However, it's common for patients to still need to wear braces after surgery. The surgery re-positions the jaw, but the braces are needed to straighten the teeth. If you are not that displeased with the alignment of your jaw, you may instead wish to skip the surgery and just wear braces for a while.
Orthognathic surgery is a very involved procedure with a long recovery period. Make sure you consider the pros and cons above and also have an in-depth discussion with your dentist before you decide to have this procedure performed.