What is Orthognathic Surgery?

Orthognathic surgery is a corrective jaw surgery which straightens out and/or realigns your jaw. It can also correct related skeletal deformities that a patient may have. This surgery is performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMFS) and it must be done in a hospital setting. The surgery involves realigning and straightening the jaw using surgical screws and plates.

This surgery can only be performed on adults. It’s very rare that a child requires this type of surgery seeing as they are still growing and they’re jaws and teeth aren’t yet settled.

Having this surgery can help improve many day to day activities, however it can also change the patient’s appearance permanently. But in the long run it will help correct many of their problems and really is a life changing surgery.

Indicators You May Need Jaw Surgery

Some of these conditions may be indicators towards jaw surgery:

  • Difficulty Chewing or Biting Food
  • Problems Swallowing
  • Space Between Upper and Lower Teeth When Mouth is Closed
  • Unbalanced Facial Appearance
  • Occurrence of a Facial Injury
  • Receding Lower Jaw and Chin
  • Protruding Jaw
  • Inability to Make Your Lips Meet
  • Chronic Mouth Breathing
  • Sleep Apnea and other Breathing Problems when Sleeping, Including Snoring

It’s up to your orthodontist and OMFS to determine whether or not you are a candidate for this surgery. However, if you do require surgery your OMFS will determine which surgical procedure would be your best option. It’s also important to understand that once you choose to go through with the surgery it is a very long-term commitment, before and after. It may take several years to fully complete.

How Orthognathic Surgery Works

The surgery can be completed entirely inside your mouth which eliminates any facial scars. Your OMFS will make cuts into the jawbones and correctly move them into position. Once your jaws are aligned properly he/she will use screws and bone plates to secure your bones into the proper position.

In some cases you may even need extra bone added to your jaw. Your surgeon will usually take this from places like your hip or rib and will secure it with bone plates.

Types of Corrective Jaw Surgery

There are a few different types of jaw surgery. These surgeries may be necessary to correct either the lower or upper jaw, or sometimes even both.

Upper jaw surgery, which is also known as a maxillary osteotomy, is done to correct problems such as:

  • Open Bite
  • Cross Bite
  • Too Little or Too Much of the Teeth Showing
  • Severely Receded Upper Jaw

During this surgery the OMFS will cut the bone above the teeth to allow the entire top jaw to be shifted as one piece. They will then shift the upper teeth and jaw forward until they are correctly lined up with the lower teeth. Once the jaw is realigned, small screws and plates will be used to keep the jaw in place.

Lower jaw surgery, also known as a mandibular osteotomy, is done to correct a seriously lowered jaw. For this surgery, the OMFS will cut behind the molars and down to the jawbone horizontally. This is done in order for the front of the jaw to be successfully shifted as one piece. Once this has been shifted it will easily slide into place. The surgeon will use screws to keep the jawbone intact until it heals into its new position.

Surgery Recovery Time

Any surgery will take place in a hospital, and may require a one to two day stay. Recovery at home usually takes about three to six weeks.

In most cases an orthodontist will have placed braces on your teeth before you get the surgery. The braces are usually on for anywhere from nine to eighteen months before the surgery in order to level and align your teeth.

After your jaw heals from surgery your orthodontist will finish aligning your teeth and will then remove the braces. It normally takes about six weeks after your surgery before your orthodontist can resume the treatment.

The entire process may last anywhere from eighteen to thirty months.

Correct Your Jaw and Smile!

This surgery is commonly performed to realign your jaws and teeth. It will not only correct your jaw for eating and performing other daily functions, but it can also drastically change your appearance and improve your smile.

When you contact Smiles on Yonge, we will work with you to determine whether you are a candidate for orthognathic surgery and approximately how long your procedure will last. Contact our team to discuss Richmond Hill orthodontics treatments in more detail.


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Smiles on Yonge Orthodontics
8900 Yonge Street, Unit 1 Richmond Hill Ontario L4C 0L7