If you had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis as a child and it affected the joints in your jaw, chances are you're discouraged by the way your jawline looks. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis can have a serious debilitating effect on the jaw, ranging from a lack of mobility to causing an asymmetrical jawline. Thankfully, there are options to correct these problems, even after one has reached adulthood.
What Goes Wrong
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis can cause the jaw to not grow properly, resulting in an underdeveloped or crooked jaw line. The exact cause varies from person to person, but juvenile rheumatoid arthritis can disrupt the normal development of the jaw by either damaging the temporomandibular joint or stunting the growth of the jaw bone.
The temporomandibular joint is the joint that allows the jaw to open and close. In some cases, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis causes the joint to fuse before the growth of the jaw is complete, resulting in a crooked appearance.
In other instances, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis can simply stunt the growth of bones due to the inflammation and tissue damage it causes. In these cases, the bone doesn't finish growing to its full size, which may result in a shorter and less pronounced jaw line, especially when viewed in profile.
How To Fix It
There is a surgical procedure called orthognathic surgery that can be performed to correct the appearance and functionality of the jaw. An oral surgeon will fully assess the condition of the jaw and determine how many adjustments need to be made in order for the jaw to reach a more normal appearance.
Once everything is determined, the surgeon will place you under general anesthesia for a few hours while they and their team get to work. Generally, this procedure requires cutting the jaw bone and making adjustments so that it's in the correct place and symmetrical on both sides. This may require using artificial plates or screws to hold the jaw in place once the procedure is complete.
Having this surgical procedure performed can drastically change your appearance and give you the jaw line you're hoping for. It may also help to improve your range of motion and ability to open and close your mouth without clicking, locking, or other problems in the temporomandibular joint. If you're troubled about the appearance or functionality of your jaw due to damage done by juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, contact Oral And Maxillofacial Surgical Associates or a similar organization.