Orthognathic Surgery (Corrective Jaw Surgery)

Orthognathic surgery is needed when the top and bottom jaws don’t meet correctly and/or teeth don’t adequately fit within the jaw. Teeth are straightened with orthodontics, and corrective jaw surgery repositions a misaligned jaw. This not only improves facial appearance, but also ensures that teeth meet correctly and function properly.

Who Needs Orthognathic Surgery?

People who can benefit from orthognathic surgery include those with an improper bite or jaws which are not aligned with one another. Poor jaw position can result in a host of problems that may affect chewing function, speech, sleep patterns (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) or long-term oral health and appearance. Jaw alignment problems may be hereditary, but injury to the jaws and birth defects can also affect jaw growth and alignment. Orthodontics (braces) alone can correct bite problems when only the teeth are involved but the jaws are well-aligned. Orthognathic surgery may be beneficial when repositioning of the jaws is necessary to create proper alignment. 

Individuals with the following findings should be evaluated for orthognathic surgery:

  •   Difficulty in chewing or biting
  •   Speech problems due to tooth position
  •   Chronic jaw or TMJ pain caused by moving the jaw to an unusual position for biting or chewing.
  •   Open bite (front teeth do not meet)
  •   Protruding upper or lower jaw
  •   Breathing/Sleeping problems like Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Any of these symptoms can exist at birth, develop after birth (as a result of hereditary or environmental influences), or as a result of trauma to the face.

Orthognathic surgery treatment almost always requires collaboration of the oral surgeon with the referring doctor, usually an orthodontist.  Before any treatment begins, a consultation will be held to perform a complete medical history and focused examination with Conebeam CT (CBCT) scan. During the pre-treatment consultation process, and as always at True North Oral Surgery & Implants, feel free to ask any questions that you have regarding your treatment. When you are fully informed about your options, you will be better able to make a decision that is right for you.  

Having Orthognathic Surgery from AAOMS.org on Vimeo.

Technology & Orthognathic Surgery

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.

Orthognathic Surgery Presentation

Having trouble? Please make sure you have the Adobe Flash Player plugin installed in order to correctly view this presentation. This software is available as a free download.

Dr. Wade, Dr. Vollmer and Dr. Ackerman are highly experienced and use state of the-art-3D imaging and models to show you exactly how your surgery will be approached. Using specialized software and Virtual Surgical Planning (VSP) we can show you how your bite will be improved and even give you an idea of how you’ll look after surgery. This helps you understand the surgical process and the extent of the proposed treatment.

If you are a candidate for corrective jaw surgery, Drs. Wade, Vollmer and Ackerman will work closely with your dentist, sleep apnea doctor, and/or orthodontist during your treatment. The actual surgery can move your teeth and jaws into a new position that results in a more attractive, functional, and healthy dental-facial relationship and even may result in a better night’s sleep.  

What to Expect

  •   Braces are usually placed and the teeth straightened in each jaw before surgery.  This preparation usually takes more than 12 months before surgery.  This is called the “Set up”.
  •   When ready for surgery, the surgeon will review your medical history, make models of the teeth, take a CBCT scan, measure your face, and take photos three weeks to one month prior to the day of surgery.
  •   Virtual surgery is performed in collaboration with your orthodontist.  A surgical splint for use during surgery is fabricated on a 3D Printer.
  •   The surgery is performed in the hospital or surgical center and can last between one and five hours depending upon the complexity of your case.
  •   Most patients stay overnight in the hospital and go home the next day.  Some may stay a day or so longer.
  •   The first five days after surgery are the most challenging for most patients, but they improve very rapidly after that period.
  •   Patients typically may be off work/school from one to three weeks after surgery.
  •   Patients will be on a non-chewing diet for six weeks after surgery and can expect function to improve rapidly after taking a solid diet again.
  •   Weekly appointments may be necessary during the first six weeks after surgery.
  •    Braces are almost always removed within nine months after surgery.
  •   Our goal and greatest privilege is to provide you with world-class care before, during and after your orthognathic procedure!