What Is Orthognathic Surgery?

TeamOral Surgery

Orthognathic surgery involves repositioning the jaws through surgical means. Jaw surgery, as it is more commonly known, can be performed on the upper jaw (maxilla) or the lower jaw (mandible) and sometimes both. During orthognathic surgery, either jaw may be brought forward, moved backward, shifted to the left or right, or reshaped in other ways. 

Why is Orthognathic Surgery Necessary? 

Your dentist, orthodontist, or oral surgeon may recommend orthognathic surgery for any of the following reasons: 

  • Correct jaw misalignment. When your upper and lower jaw do not meet together properly it can cause a variety of dental and oral health problems, such as jaw pain and damage to the teeth. Orthodontic treatment can often correct minor jaw misalignment, but some patients will require surgery. 
  • Treat obstructive sleep apnea. Orthognathic surgery can open up your airway and prevent obstructive sleep apnea from occuring at night. Repositioning the jaw can prevent the tongue and soft tissues of your mouth from sliding back to block your airway. 
  • Relieve TMJ disorder. Jaw misalignment can put stress on your TMJ (temporomandibular joint) where the lower jaw attaches to your skull. Orthognathic surgery to properly align your bite will alleviate the pressure on your jaw to relieve pain and inflammation. 
  • Improve facial structure. There are cosmetic reasons for orthognathic surgery as well. Restructuring the jaws can improve the appearance of your face in a way that is visible from the front or the side view. 
  • Address speech issues. Orthognathic surgery can improve speech by allowing the teeth, tongue, and jaw to work together to make the correct sounds.

Benefits of Orthognathic Surgery 

Orthognathic surgery provides the following benefits: 

  • Improved dental and oral health. Your teeth and mouth will be healthier once orthognathic surgery corrects your bite alignment. No more premature wear of the teeth or jaw pain. 
  • Better quality sleep. If your surgery was done to correct obstructive sleep apnea, you’ll notice that you sleep more soundly and have more energy throughout the day. 
  • Clearer speech. In many cases surgery will improve your speech, making it easier to speak clearly and be understood. 
  • Enhanced appearance. Orthognathic surgery restructures your jaw in a way that will often improve your facial aesthetics. 

Who is a Good Candidate for Orthognathic Surgery?

Your dentist, orthodontist, or oral surgeon may recommend orthognathic surgery for a variety of reasons. If your teeth are showing signs of wear from the way they come together improperly when you chew, your dentist may suggest surgery. If you’ve had orthodontic treatment, such as braces, and your jaw is still out of alignment, your orthodontist may recommend surgery as an additional strategy. An evaluation by an oral surgeon is the best way to determine whether or not orthognathic surgery would be right for you. 

Where Does Orthognathic Surgery Take Place?

In most cases orthognathic surgery requires the patient to be under general anesthesia. For the utmost safety of the patient, general anesthesia is administered in a hospital setting under the careful monitoring of specialists. Your oral surgeon will perform the surgery with a team of assistants and staff. You may stay in the hospital overnight for monitoring, but it depends on the situation. 

The Relationship Between Orthodontics and Orthognathic Surgery

In many cases orthodontic treatment will be applied both before and after orthognathic surgery. You may have braces put on first to shift your teeth into the optimal position for your surgery to be effective. Then after the surgery the braces can fine tune the positioning of your teeth for optimal alignment. Your orthodontist and oral surgeon will work together to provide you with the best possible results. 

Why Choose Demko Orthodontics?

Demko Orthodontics provides comprehensive orthodontic services to help patients achieve orthodontic health as well as an attractive smile. We will use whatever orthodontic treatments we can to align your teeth and bite and only resort to surgery if there is no other option. Growth modification in the early years can sometimes prevent the need for surgery later, which is why we recommend coming in for an orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7. 

To learn more, contact us today to schedule an appointment.