Orthognathic Surgery

Corrective Jaw Surgery

When teeth don’t meet correctly, the problem may be dental – in which case braces may be the solution. Often there is a discrepancy in jaw growth which leads to a misalignment of the dental arches. The result is both a functional dental deformity and facial unbalance. Orthognathic surgery includes those surgical procedures which attempt to realign jaw bones to correct the dysfunction and also make it easier to achieve a good orthodontic result with braces. The two often go hand-in-hand.

Orthognathic Surgery Presentation

To provide you with a better understanding of orthognathic surgery, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to orthognathic surgery are discussed.

Who needs orthognathic surgery?

Patients who may benefit from orthognathic surgery include those with an improper bite or with jaws that are positioned incorrectly. Jaw growth is a gradual process and, in some instances, the upper and lower jaws may grow at different rates. Resulting problems may include speech impairment, difficulty eating a normal diet, poor dental health, TMJ problems and facial appearance. Injury to jaw or face or birth defects may contribute to these problems.

Before any treatment begins, a consultation will permit a thorough workup using x-ray films and study models. Once a diagnosis has been reached, you will be informed of the details of the pre- surgical treatment required (usually braces) and the surgery itself.

Difficulty in the following areas should be evaluated:

  • difficulty in chewing, biting or swallowing
  • speech problems
  • chronic jaw or TMJ pain
  • open bite
  • protruding jaw
  • breathing problems

Technology and Orthognathic Surgery

We use thorough diagnostic techniques and three-dimensional models to show you exactly how your surgery will be performed. Such a comprehensive approach will show how your bite will be improved and even give you an idea of how facial contours may change after surgery. Our efforts are directed to helping you understand the surgical process and the extent of the necessary treatment, as well as the benefits of treatment. If you are a candidate for orthognathic surgery, we will work closely with your dentist and orthodontist during treatment.

A patient getting a panoramic x-ray of her jaw

What to Expect

  • Corrective jaw surgery is a significant intervention requiring many months of preparation.
  • The surgery is performed in the hospital and can last between one to four hours.
  • Hospital stays of one to three days are normal.
  • Braces are maintained during surgery and may need to be removed six to twelve months after surgery.
  • The greatest impact of orthognathic surgery is the recovery phase.
  • Patients typically may be off work/school from two weeks to one month after surgery.
  • Return to normal chewing function may take 2 months and full
    function may take one year.
  • Our goal is to ensure you are well taken care of during and after surgery.
  • Weekly appointments are required for up to two months after surgery.