Corrective Jaw Surgery

Orthognathic surgery can improve breathing, chewing and speaking issues.

Corrective jaw surgery — also called orthognathic surgery — is performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS) to correct a wide range of minor and major skeletal and dental irregularities, including the misalignment of jaws and teeth. Surgery can improve chewing, speaking and breathing. While the patient's appearance may be dramatically enhanced as a result of his or her surgery, orthognathic surgery is performed to correct functional problems.

Following are some of the conditions that may indicate the need for corrective jaw surgery:

jaw surgery can have a dramatic effect on many aspects of life.
  • Difficulty chewing or biting food
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Chronic jaw or jaw joint (TMJ) pain and headaches
  • Excessive wear of the teeth
  • Open bite (space between the upper and lower teeth when the mouth is closed)
  • Unbalanced facial appearance from the front or side
  • Facial injury
  • Birth defects
  • Receding lower jaw and chin
  • Protruding jaw
  • Inability to make the lips meet without straining
  • Chronic mouth breathing
  • Sleep apnea (breathing problems when sleeping, including snoring)

Your dentist, orthodontist and OMS will work together to determine whether you are a candidate for orthognathic surgery. The oral and maxillofacial surgeon determines which corrective jaw surgical procedure is appropriate and performs the actual surgery. It is important to understand that your treatment, which will probably include orthodontics before and after surgery, may take several years to complete. Your OMS and orthodontist understand this is a long-term commitment for you and your family, and they will try to realistically estimate the time required for your treatment.

Correction of Common Dentofacial Deformities

correcting an open bite correcting a protruding lower jaw correcting a receding lower jaw or weak chin

To learn more and find an oral and maxillofacial surgeon in your area, visit MyOMS.org.

The information provided here is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is provided to help you communicate effectively when you seek the advice of your oral and maxillofacial surgeon.