Orthognathic Surgery

Why have surgery?

There are several reasons why correction of a jaw abnormality through orthodontics and surgery may be beneficial.

  • When orthodontic treatment alone cannot correct a problem – There are times when congenital abnormalities, growth disturbances, or previous trauma have resulted in jaw positions that prevent conventional orthodontics from achieving a satisfactory functional and aesthetic result.
  • To improve jaw function – Correcting this bite frequently helps many people chew food more normally and eat things that they have been previously unable to eat.
  • To enhance the long term orthodontic result (stability) – In some cases, orthodontic treatment alone can produce a good bite relationship during and immediately after the time of orthodontic treatment. However, when an underlying jaw abnormality is responsible for the bite problem, orthodontic movement must sometimes be done in such a way that it will be difficult to maintain the position of the teeth over a period of time after the braces have been removed. Surgery can often improve the long term results in these cases.
  • Reduction in overall treatment time – In some cases there are several options for treatment including orthodontics alone or a combination of orthodontics and surgery. In these cases the combined orthodontic surgical approach can be completed in a shorter period of time since movement of the jawbone to a better anatomical position may decrease the amount of orthodontic treatment that is necessary.
  • Change in facial appearance – Placement of jaws in the proper position may often result in a more pleasing facial appearance.
  • Improved breathing – When surgery is performed on the jaw, the ability to breathe is frequently improved. This type of surgery often greatly improves problems associated with sleep apnea.
  • Improved speech – Correction of poorly positioned jaws or teeth may have a positive effect on abnormal speech. Jaw surgery may need to be combined with speech therapy to correct speech abnormalities.
  • Improvement in jaw pain – Patients who have jaw joint pain or pain in their jaw muscles may experience some improvement after correction of jaw position. While this pain reduction occurs for many patients, there is no absolute guarantee that correction of jaw positioning will be able to totally eliminate or reduce pain.