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What is Jaw surgery or Orthognathic surgery?

Jaw surgery is also known as orthognathic surgery or corrective jaw surgery. Orthognathic surgery is used to correct jaw bone abnormalities and realign the jaws and teeth to improve their function. These changes may also help to improve your facial appearance. Jaw surgery is recommended when a child’s growth ceases, usually around 17 to 21 for males and 14 to 16 for females.

Jaw surgery may be a good choice if you have jaw problems that can’t be treated with orthodontics alone. In most situations, you will also wear braces on your teeth before surgery and while recovering from surgery until your teeth have fully healed and aligned. Your orthodontist can collaborate with your oral, jaw, and facial (maxillofacial) surgeon to develop a treatment plan that is right for you.

Jaw Surgery or Orthognathic surgery Uses

  • Skeletofacial discrepancies are related to airway abnormalities such as sleep apnea and soft tissue discrepancies.
  • Gross jaw discrepancies 
  • Skeletofacial discrepancies are related to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pathology.
  • dentofacial deformities.
  • Micrognathia and long-face syndrome.
  • Relieve pain caused by the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).


  • Infection
  • Post operative facial numbness due to nerve damage.
  • Blood loss
  • Problems with jaw joint pain and bite fit
  • loss of a portion of the jaw
  • Relapse of the jaw to its original position
  • Need for root canal therapy
  • Jaw fracture


Orthognathic surgery can perform in collaboration with an orthodontist by a maxillofacial, oral, or plastic surgeon. It frequently includes braces before and after surgery, as well as retainers after braces have been removed. In addition, orthognathic surgery is often needed after restoring a cleft palate or other severe craniofacial anomaly. Coordination between the surgeon and the orthodontist is crucial.

Surgical preparation

Typically, an orthodontist will place braces on your teeth before surgery. Braces are typically on for 12 to 18 months before surgery to level and align your teeth.

Together, your orthodontist and oral and maxillofacial surgeon will develop a treatment plan for you. To plan your jaw surgery X-rays, photographs can be used. Occasionally, the difference in how teeth fit together will require tooth reshaping, crowning, or combining the two procedures to complete correction.

Three-dimensional computed tomography scanning, computer-guided treatment planning, and temporary orthodontic anchoring devices may be used to aid in tooth movement and reduce your time in braces. Occasionally, these efforts eliminate the need for jaw surgery.

In addition, virtual surgical planning (VSP) will guide your surgeon during the procedure to fit and correct the jaw segment position for the best result.

A jaw procedure may be performed on the upper jaw, lower jaw, chin, or any combination.

Maxillary osteotomy (upper Jaw)

What is Jaw surgery or Orthognathic surgery?

Your surgeon will cut the bone above your teeth to allow the entire top jaw to move together as a single unit, including the roof of your mouth and upper teeth. Then, the jaw and upper teeth are moved forward until they fit comfortably alongside the lower teeth. This procedure can be planned on a computer to evaluate whether additional work, such as orthodontics, will be required to help correct any remaining fit differences. An open bite occurs when excess bone grows above the molars, creating an angled surface on what is usually a flat, even surface. Your surgeon will remove the extra bone to correct this. After realigning the jaw, plates, and screws, secure the bone in its new position.

maxillary osteotomy may be performed to correct:

  • Open bite
  • Crossbite
  • midfacial hypoplasia
  • Significantly receded or protruding upper jaw

Genioplasty (Chin Surgery)

What is Jaw surgery or Orthognathic surgery?

A genioplasty can be used to reshape a small chin (deficient chin). A small chin is frequently seen in conjunction with a severely receded lower jaw. Typically, surgeons can restructure the chin and alter the jaw in the same operation. First, your surgeon cuts a piece of the chin bone on the front level of the jaw, then moves it forward and secures it in its new position with screws and plates.

Mandibular osteotomy(Lower Jaw)

Your surgeon makes cuts behind the molars and lengthwise down to the jawbone to allow the front of the jaw to move together as a unit. The jaw can then be moved forward or backward in its new position. While the jawbone heals, plates and screws keep it together.

Lower jaw surgery can correct:

  • Protruding lower jaw
  • Receding lower jaw

After Surgery

Your doctor will provide you instructions following surgery. Typically, these include the following:

  • Keeping away from strenuous activity
  • Oral hygiene
  • Pain medications
  • Avoiding tobacco usage
  • What you can eat


Initial jaw healing takes approximately six weeks following surgery, but complete recovery can take twelve weeks. After the initial jaw healing — approximately six weeks — your orthodontist completes aligning your teeth with braces.   Orthodontic treatment as a whole, including surgery and braces, can take several years. After removing the braces, retainers may be used to maintain tooth position.


Orthognathic surgery is performed in close collaboration with the orthodontist. Virtual computer planning enables more precise analysis and preoperative planning of dentofacial deformity. Additionally, it is a critical component of comprehensive patient education.


  •  Posnick J. Saunders; 2000. Craniofacial and Maxillofacial Surgery in Children and Young Adult. [Google Scholar]


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