Is Jaw Surgery Necessary to Achieve Facial Growth?

No! It is possible to achieve facial growth in the jaw without surgery through an orthodontic treatment process sometimes known as epigenetic orthodontics or facial growth orthodontics. This orthodontic treatment can correct bite problems, crowded teeth, sleep apnea, TMJD, and other issues by facilitating facial growth using an anterior growth guidance appliance.

Is it possible to increase the size of the jaw to correct a bite issue or crowded teeth?

The answer to this question is yes, it is possible! For years it could only be done with corrective jaw surgery. Unfortunately, surgical correction is invasive, painful and requires significant downtime and discomfort for weeks or months after the procedure. As a result, many people living with bite issues related to an underdeveloped upper jaw skipped surgery and went on living with the uncomfortable side effects, including jaw joint pain, headaches, migraines, facial pain, poor posture, breathing and sleep breathing conditions (including sleep apnea), and an unbalanced appearance.

Corrective jaw surgery or avoiding treatment altogether were the only options for years until the development of a nonsurgical jaw-correction solution known as facial growth orthodontics. This approach to orthodontic treatment, also known as epigenetic orthodontics, is gaining popularity because of its non-invasive approach to remodeling jaw growth and facial development in adult patients and guiding the growth and development for natural upper jaw expansion in children using a growth guidance appliance.

In this orthodontic technique, we expand the jaw to help correct upper and lower misaligned jaws and the discomfort they can cause through the use of anterior growth guidance appliances, or AGGA.

Why Expand the Jaw?

When your jaws grow, they may not fully develop as intended. This results in an imbalance between the upper and lower jaws. When there are misaligned jaws, this creates a bite issue, which can result in crowded teeth, crooked teeth, a crossbite, an overbite, an open bite and/or an underbite. These conditions can contribute to oral health issues, such as cavities, tooth decay and gum disease.

Misaligned jaws also lead to problems with the jaw joints, in particular a condition known as temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJD . TMJD develops because when the jaws do not meet correctly, there is unnatural and uneven pressure on the temporomandibular joints (TMJs). While the signs and symptoms of TMJD may go unnoticed for years, eventually this stress and strain on the joints can lead to pain, stiffness and loss of use of the jaw.

When jaws are not in their correct position it can also contribute to problems with breathing. If the upper jaw is too small, the upper part of the airway will also be too small. Many people with a narrow upper jaw breathe through their mouth instead of their nose, which means they get significantly less oxygen than those who breathe through their nose. Less oxygen can contribute to the development of chronic health conditions and cognition problems.

Many individuals living with misaligned jaws suffer from the sleep breathing disorder sleep apnea , which can also contribute to chronic health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and a greater risk of developing heart disease and some cancers. When the jaw is fully developed and the upper and lower jaws are in their correction position, you achieve bite correction and problems such as crossbites, overbites and underbites are. Also, space is made in the mouth for all permanent teeth, so crowded teeth resolve and the health of the jaw joints improves, relieving uncomfortable symptoms such as headaches, facial pain and breathing problems.

Why Choose AGGA?

AGGA, anterior growth guidance appliance, is a non-surgical solution that is custom-fit to your mouth. They’re mostly made of wire and clear plastic and are extremely lightweight. An AGGA fits into the upper arch and results in upper jaw expansion by gently stimulating nerves in the roof of the mouth. When these nerves are stimulated, bone growth and soft tissue development is activated, which results in palatal expansion. The body, in turn, also exhibits bone growth in the lower jaw to correctly align with the expanding upper jaw.

When the jaw is fully developed and the upper and lower jaws are balanced, bite problems such as crossbites, overbites and underbites are corrected; space is made in the mouth for all the teeth, so crowding resolves; the health of the jaw joints improves; and uncomfortable symptoms such as headaches, facial pain and breathing problems subside.

AGGA can also dramatically improve physiologic issues, including sunken-in faces and weak chins which improves the facial profile. They also help facial structure appear more balanced. Many adults who choose AGGA report improved facial volume, a reduction in lines and wrinkles of the midface region (also known as laugh lines), and a reduction in the appearance of neck fat.

AGGA works for both adults and children. Fixed anterior growth guidance appliances, known as FAGGA, are generally used in adults. Removable anterior growth guidance appliances, known as RAGGA, are often used for children. RAGGA can be removed for brushing and flossing, which is critical in children who may not have established good oral hygiene habits yet!

Am I a Good Candidate for AGGA?

You may be an ideal candidate for AGGA if you:

  • Are living with temporomandibular joint disorder and have been told you need surgery to correct your condition
  • Struggle with breathing issues, are chronically congested, or have been diagnosed or suspect you have sleep apnea
  • Have difficulty chewing, swallowing and food texture aversions
  • Have an asymmetrical facial structure or midface deficiency that makes your face look unbalanced or older

How Long Does AGGA Treatment Take?

Depending on your individual needs, AGGA therapy treatment time can vary and may take one to two years. Which is comparable to the treatment time of braces. Generally, there are two phases of treatment: the first phase is when the expansion appliance works to achieve proper development and guide the upper jaw to its correct size, and the second phase works to position the teeth in their proper positions.

Are you interested in learning more about AGGA? Call Legends Dental today at (254) 799-9540 to schedule a consultation.