Orthognathic surgery is the surgical repositioning of the upper jaw, lower jaw or both.  Orthognathic surgery may be necessary when the jaws don’t meet correctly and orthodontic treatment by itself cannot correct the problem. Treatment is two-fold; the teeth will first be straightened with orthodontics (braces) by your orthodontist and corrective jaw surgery will then be performed to reposition the misaligned jaws. Not only will this ensure that the teeth meet correctly and function properly, it also may lead to dramatic cosmetic results.

Who Needs Orthognathic Surgery?

Your orthodontist will in most cases will be the first person to suggest that surgery may be beneficial.  He or she may recommend a consultation with us.  Those who can benefit from orthognathic surgery include individuals with jaws that are positioned incorrectly and those who have an improper bite such as an underbite, overbite or open bite. Jaw growth is often a gradual process and, in some cases, the upper and lower jaws may develop at different rates. This can result in a host of problems that affect speech, chewing function, long-term oral health, and facial appearance. Birth defects and injury to the jaw can also affect the alignment of the jaw. While orthodontic treatment alone may correct bite problems if just the teeth are involved, orthognathic surgery may be necessary if the jaws also need to be repositioned.

Difficulty in the following areas should be evaluated:

  • Difficulty in chewing, biting, or swallowing
  • Speech problems
  • Breathing problems
  • Chronic jaw or TMJ pain
  • Open bite, underbite, overbite or crossbite
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Facial asymmetry

Any of these problems can exist at birth or can be acquired after birth, whether from trauma to the face or hereditary or environmental influences. Before any treatment begins, you will have a consultation with one of our doctors, which includes a complete examination with X-rays. During the pre-treatment consultation process, feel free to ask our doctors any questions that you may have regarding your specific treatment.

Technology and Orthognathic Surgery

We use 2D and 3D images and models to show you exactly how your jaw surgery will be approached and completed. This technology can help you understand the surgical process and how extensive the prescribed treatment is. It can also be used to help you see the benefits of orthognathic surgery.

If you are a candidate for corrective jaw surgery, we will work closely with your dentist and orthodontist to coordinate treatment. The actual orthognathic surgery will move your jaws and teeth into the desired position to give you a more attractive, healthy, and functional jaw and dental-facial relationship.