Orthognathic (Jaw) Surgery

Who needs Orthognathic Surgery?

Orthognathic surgery may be needed when the jaws don’t meet correctly and/or the teeth don’t seem to fit with the jaws. Teeth are straightened with orthodontics, and corrective jaw surgery repositions misaligned jaws. This not only improves facial appearance, but also ensures that teeth meet correctly and function properly. People who can benefit from orthognathic surgery include those with an improper bite or whose jaws are positioned incorrectly. Jaw growth is a gradual process, and in some instances, the upper and lower jaws may grow at different rates. The result can be a host of problems that can affect chewing function, speech, long-term oral health, and appearance. Injury to the jaw or birth defects can also affect jaw alignment. While, orthodontics alone can correct many bite problems when only the teeth are involved, orthognathic surgery may be required if there is a skeletal based problem.

Difficulty in the following areas should be evaluated:

  • difficulty in chewing, biting or swallowing
  • speech problems
  • chronic jaw or TMJ pain
  • open bite (front teeth do not overlap)
  • protruding jaw (over bite or under bite)
  • breathing problems

Any of these conditions can exist at birth or be acquired after birth as a result of heredity, environmental influences or trauma to the face. Before any treatment begins, a consultation will be held to perform a complete examination and obtain necessary radiographs. During the pre-treatment consultation process, feel free to ask any questions that you have regarding your treatment. When you are fully informed about all aspects of your care, you and your dental/surgical team will make the decision to proceed with treatment together.

If you are a candidate for corrective jaw surgery, Dr. Tidwell or Dr. Kutcipal will work closely with your Orthodontist and your General Dentist 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.