Corrective Jaw Surgery: What to Expect

Corrective jaw surgery, also known as orthognathic surgery, is a procedure designed to realign your upper and lower jaw to make speaking, chewing and swallowing easier. Corrective jaw surgery is also a form of treatment for temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), sleep apnea and other bite problems that can plague your oral health.

Corrective Jaw Surgery

Am I a Good Candidate?

Do you have speech impediments due to the physical orientation of your jaw or teeth? Are you barely able to close your mouth fully so that your lips meet? Do you have chronic pain in the jaw area?

Corrective jaw surgery is the solution if your jaws are misaligned. It can help in any case, whether you are born with a defect, the issue developed throughout jaw growth or an injury caused the problem. While orthodontists reposition teeth to solve issues, the services of an oral and maxillofacial surgeon are required when the jaw positioning is necessary.

Prior to the Procedure

In many cases, you will work with both an orthodontist and an oral and maxillofacial surgeon throughout the process. You may receive orthodontic care in the months leading up to the surgical procedure so that your teeth fit properly afterward.

Upper and Lower Jaw Surgery Procedure

You may only need either the upper or lower jaw repositioned, but some patients require modifications to both. For the most part, this procedure takes place completely inside the mouth, so no facial scars result.

Upper jaw surgery, also called maxillary osteotomy, involves moving your upper teeth and the roof of your mouth so it is realigned with your lower jaw. The surgeon may remove or add bone as needed. Surgical plates are then used to secure the jaw in place.

Lower jaw surgery, also called mandibular osteotomy, is carried out in a similar fashion, and the surgeon will reposition the jawbone and teeth either forward or backward, depending on your needs. For both upper and lower jaw procedures, wires or bands may be used to keep your jawbones in place during the initial healing stage.

Managing Recovery

This procedure has many benefits that can improve your quality of life. You’ll be able to chew more effectively, swallow and talk — all without pain. You also may see an improvement in your physical appearance.

However, it takes up to two weeks for all swelling to dissipate and for you to feel well enough to return to your daily activities. Follow-up care can continue for up to two years, as re-evaluations of your bite are required to ensure the surgery was successful.

When corrective jaw surgery is needed, Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery should be your first choice — our caring, professional team offers personalized treatment designed to produce quality results that can change your life.