Should a 16 Year Old Be Forced to Have Jaw Advancement Surgery?

Oral surgeon and orthodontist recommend jaw advancement surgery to correct a 6MM overbite. Reasons are cosmetic and to avoid some POTENTIAL long term problems with tooth wear, TMJ, etc. She is having no problems currently and the long term problems may never come to fruition. She absolutely does not want the surgery. Should we force her to have it now or leave it up to her (she could make the decision to have the surgery at any point in her life)?

Doctor Answers 1

Orthognathic Jaw Surgery For a 16 year old

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You should never "force" treatment on an individual.  At 16 you are the guardian so of course it is up to you to make the decision, but at 16 your child should be a part of the decision.  You must way the risks and benefits.  If there are no current functional complaints and the child is not concerned with esthetics currently the surgery can be put off for any period of time.  Patients heal better when they are young so that is an advantage, but if your child is still grwing, waiting until growth stops may be an advantage.  In my experience patients that get to make the decision themselves and not forced are generally the happiest with outcomes.  It is a big surgery and has a significant recovery period.  The patient should really be "on board" becasue this is a big decision.

Phoenix Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon

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