Mistakes During Jaw Surgery Can Be Medical Malpractice

Dental Malpractice, Surgery

Orthognathic surgery, or corrective jaw surgery, can be used to correct skeletal deformities of the face resulting in a misalignment of the jaws and/or teeth.  These deformities can include “long-face syndrome,” protruding or receding lower jaws or chins, protruding or receding upper jaws, severe malocclusions, and over bites.  These conditions are not amenable to conventional orthodontic treatment.  A person may require this type of surgery if they have:

  • Breathing problems,
  • Chronic jaw or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain,
  • Difficulty chewing or biting,
  • Difficulty swallowing,
  • Open bite,
  • Protruding jaw,
  • Speech problems, or
  • Unbalanced facial appearance.

This can be a very complex surgery and is performed by a dental specialist known as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.  Prior to performing this type of surgery, the patient’s dentist, orthodontist, and oral and maxillofacial surgeon should collaborate to determine the type, nature, and kind of corrective surgery required in each specific patient’s case.

This type of surgery may involve repositioning all or part of the upper jaw, lower jaw, and/or chin.  The bone may need to be removed, added to, or re-shaped.  Surgical plates, screws, wires, and rubber bands may be used to hold the jaw in place until the bones have healed.

Benefits of the surgery can include:

  • Correcting facial imbalance, thereby improving the appearance of deficient chins, overbites, underbites, and crossbites;
  • Improving the ability to chew;
  • Minimizing the excessive wear and breakdown of teeth over the years;
  • Repairing and correcting post-traumatic facial injury defects and abnormalities; and
  • Relieving sleep apnea.

This is a major surgery and can be life-threatening.  It is performed in a hospital, and will require a two to five day stay, and recuperation at home which can take three to six weeks.  Each year many lawsuits are filed against oral surgeons for negligence.  These surgeons, who are highly skilled, have to defend themselves in these lawsuits because the unrealistic expectations of the patient were not met.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligent actions of an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, contact an experienced Kingston, New York medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to evaluate your case.

But what do you think?  I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at jfisher@fishermalpracticelaw.com.  You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.