What Is Orthognathic Surgery

Orthognathic surgery, also called corrective jaw surgery, is a procedure or set of procedures performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to correct various skeletal and dental abnormalities, including the misalignment of the jaws. The jaws serve numerous functions not just chewing. A healthy jaw also plays a significant role in your facial symmetry, airflow, maintaining a proper bite, ability to sleep well, as well as your speech. Look for Orthognathic surgery can enhance breathing, speaking, and chewing.


Who Needs Orthognathic Surgery?

Individuals who require corrective jaw surgery include those with incorrectly positioned jaws or an improper bite. Jaw growth is a steady process and, in some cases, the lower and upper jaws might not match at the end of growth. Also, injury to the jaw during development can lead to incongruent growth. The result may cause various problems that can affect chewing, appearance, long-term oral health, and speech. Bite issues may be corrected by orthodontics alone. Orthognathic surgery should be considered when the jaw bones (mandible and maxilla) are not aligned properly.


Below are some of the conditions that may indicate the need for orthognathic surgery:

• Difficulty chewing or biting food

• Sleep apnea (breathing problems when sleeping, including snoring)

• Chronic mouth breathing

• Inability to make the lips meet without straining

• Protruding jaw

• Receding lower jaw and chin

• Birth defects

• Facial injury

• Unbalanced facial appearance from the front or side

• Open bite (space between the lower and upper teeth when the mouth is closed)

• Excessive wear of the teeth

• Chronic jaw or jaw joint (TMJ) pain and headaches

• Difficulty swallowing


Bottom Line

Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS) with the help of a dentist will work together in determining if you’re a perfect candidate for orthognathic surgery. The OMS surgeon determines which orthognathic surgical procedure is suitable and does the actual surgery. It’s important to know that the treatment, which will possibly include orthodontics before and after surgery, might take some years to complete.


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