Do you have jaw abnormality or a poor bite?

Having a protruded or retruded chin, excessive show of upper gums, elongated face and facial asymmetry can severely affect one’s biting abilities and facial appearance.

For example, patients with a protruded lower jaw may develop a reverse overbite, or commonly known as an "underbite", which will result in poor biting function and a concave facial appearance.

This condition is more commonly seen in South Asian countries such as Singapore.

Moreover, some of these conditions are associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), which can have lasting general health implications.

Corrective jaw surgery, known medically as Orthognathic Surgery is a combined orthodontic (braces) and surgical treatment approach to correct such conditions.

A disharmony of the upper and lower jaw sizes or position can only be corrected surgically to achieve good overall outcome such as better speech and chewing functions.

In addition, corrective jaw surgery can help improve facial appearance. The lasting reward is a healthier and happier you!

In this ‘Ask the Specialist’ Q&A forum, Dr Leonardo Saigo, Deputy Head and Consultant from the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at National Dental Centre Singapore (NDCS), a member of SingHealth group, answers questions on corrective jaw surgery.

This 'Ask the Specialist' forum has closed. Thank you for your interest and participation.

1. Question by a*****
Good day. My 18-year-old son has a very pronounced underbite and it affects how and what he can eat. At what stage does he need intervention? How do I go about arranging corrective surgery at NDCS? Thank you.

Answered by Dr Saigo:
Hi A*****,
Good day to you too. Orthognathic surgery is typically done at the end of one’s growth period. For male patients, this can range from 18-21 years old. It is now an opportune time for your son to seek initial consultation to address the issue.

You can make an appointment with National Dental Centre Singapore to see an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon using our Health Buddy app, or call the appointment line at 63248802.

2. Question by b***********
I used to have a normal bite, but during my early twenties, I was diagnosed with TMD which resulted in an open bite now, and it affected my speech slightly. Been searching for a solution for the open bite for the past 20 years (not actively), but the answer I always get from the doctors (dentists) are, the open bite can be fixed (either by braces or surgery), but there's no guarantee that the TMD will not trigger another open bite again. Is there really no hope for me? Appreciate your advice. Thank you.

Answered by Dr Saigo:
Hi b***********,
The treatment of open bite is indeed either by braces alone or through a combination of braces and orthognathic surgery. We will first need to assess your condition to stratify the risk of relapse after either treatment. Hence, do get in touch with National Dental Centre Singapore through the Health Buddy app.

Do keep your spirits up as we work together find a solution to this!

About Dr Leonardo Saigo

Dr Leonardo Saigo graduated with a Bachelor of Dental Surgery from the National University of Singapore in 2009 and a Master in Dental Surgery (Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery) in 2014. He was accredited as a Specialist Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery by the Singapore Dental Council in 2016.

His clinical interests include orthognathic surgeries, dental implant surgeries and complex dentoalveolar surgeries.

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